- World Education University, which says it "will forever alter the landscape of post-secondary education" with its free online courses, is the latest company to ride the massive open online course wave, securing the personal information of about 50,000 prospective students and more than $1 million in seed funding.
- Upon its hard launch in November, the company says it plans to open between 120 and 150 courses, most of which were purchased for an undisclosed sum from a for-profit college that declined to reveal its name at the risk of running afoul of its accreditation agency prior to a renewal assessment.
- Skeptics feel that the rise of "elite" MOOCs through Coursera, Udacity and edX may open the door for entrepreneurs who might be tempted to make promises they can't keep despite their intentions, and World Education University makes no secret of its intention to make money in part by offering advertisers access to its students.
From the article:
As mayor of Rancho Mirage, Calif., Scott Hines is in charge of a town of about 17,000 people in the Coachella Valley. As the chief operating officer of World Education University, a new company that says it "will forever alter the landscape of post-secondary education" by offering free courses online, Hines is now in charge of the personal information of about 50,000 prospective students and more than $1 million in seed funding. But as World Education University continues to raise money and populate its database with the personal information of curious students, some observers in the higher education community wonder whether the company, which is not authorized to award degrees and has no formalized academic program, may be a mirage -- an idyllic fantasy that is more likely to dissolve into the landscape than alter it. ...