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I love your vision of an academic call centre. Reminds me of the book Degrees R Us...

AJ Cann

Same as it ever was. Education is a service, not a product - we're not selling a kilo of Geography. So we would charge for service provided. Models to look at: Vodaphone, Virgin Media, Channel 4?


Sorry Alan, I don't think it's the as it ever was. Maybe that was true in the 80s, but people don't sell a kilo of feng shui consultancy either, but they know how to make a business out of it. We live in a service economy now, and as you say, education can be seen as a service, so education can be seen as something that is much more susceptible to commercialisation than it was, particularly if one thinks of it as an e-service. And one of the models of funding ebusinesses is through adverts.
I agree though that it is unlikely to be just adverts, and the Vodaphone model of say, charging for subscription to a service plus additional ones is more likely.

AJ Cann

UK Universities have been acutely aware of media profiles, competing for market share, etc for years. We're selling a service, just the same as Oxford or Cambridge, or indeed the BBC. Advertising is clearly not a viable revenue stream.

Martin Le Voi

It seems to me that what Universities have is a charter to award degrees. In the end, all that makes us stand out from other *content* providers is that we are licensed (and have the expertise) to run assessments and award degrees. I see the trend to content becoming cheaper and cheaper (if you look at an OU course, the physical content really is worth at most £50-£100, if you were to buy it commercially as books and DVDs), what we sell is professional assessment and a reputation for fair assessment. If the latter is ever *seriously* doubted, any university is in deep trouble...


AJ Cann

God, that's a depressingly businesslike view of education. Whatever happened to intellectual curiosity? If we cave in to this sort of view, who's educating the next generation of academics?

Tiago Neves

For me, the vision presented in this post is a bit too pragmatic, leading on the disenchantment of the world (and not only the academic world).

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