MOOCs, Outsourcing, and The Cloud: Where are Institutional Missions?
“A year ago, I could not have imagined that we would be where we are now,” she said. “Who knows where we’ll be in five more years?” ask Ms. Koller, a representative of Coursera, the most utilized of the MOOC options so far.
In 2009 I asked a similar question, but from a different perspective. In a memo on cloud computing as it was then just emerging for higher education, I cautioned that while sure to be a part of our future for which we should plan thoughtfully, outsourcing initiatives that directly affect institutional missions should be centralized and ultimately tested against the question of at what point dependency on external vendors could render the institution unable to exercise its missions. (The article can be found on this landing page.) Not only would it be important to have the right hand know that the left hand is doing — and interpose either “administration” and “academic” sides of the house for the hands, or even different colleges and departments — but it behooves senior administration to keep an eye on the store overall.