Briefing Paper: using – private companies to develop or expand online programmes or courses

Laura Czerniewicz and Sukaina Walji at the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at the University of Cape Town, recently published (Feb 2019) an interesting briefing paper on the issues to be thought about, and the implications of decisions made, in universities choosing an online programme manager or enabling company to work with.

The paper contains two useful SWOT summaries, one for each of the OPM and OPE adoption scenarios. I think the number of strengths for the OPE option are greater than the OPM one, but then I would.

One key strength missing from this list however is the “asset-building” one. OPE’s that use smart (semantic) information formats and open publishing technologies for producing the learning materials, create permanent new assets for the university to own and cherish from then on. This one-off investment into reusable didactic content, underpins both blended and distance learning uses, as well as delivery onto any print, online or mobile medium and device.

We believe universities should write and maintain their own study guides, as these are core to the nature of a teaching institution and its ability to deliver higher education effectively and distinctly. It’s then only a straightforward step to being able to do that for complete online courses and programmes. We exist to help institutions make that step.

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