Brands, positioning, Futurelearn, Will Hutton

I have started the Brands course on Futurelearn. More later when it sinks in. I can see why some academics are uneasy about this sort of thing. The approach seems somewhere between academic study and a pitch for brand services. There are no disaster stories so far and the video is all about people who love their brands. By the way I managed to fix Google + so it won't bombard my friends with endorsements from me. Maybe I'm getting paranoid.

Anyway, Futurelearn seems ok so far. There are links to Amazon where books have more detail. The video is mostly in Flash so you can't keep it. But there are PDF versions of most of the content. 

Content Marketing is one way to describe it. There is definitely a push for the full course on which the material is based. But I don't think this is intended as a cut down version. All the elements appear to be there.  

At the weekend I read Will Hutton in the Observer and there was a sort of mention for the MOOC towards the end. It is suggested that the "elite" universities will be able to raise their fees, with a negative effect on the "standard" universities-

The rest of the university sector would increasingly be devastated: it would have to reconstitute itself around a limited range of digital courses and online learning in order to slash fees as students became more and more aware that the debt could not be justified by any job they are likely to get.

This is the only mention for digital courses. The Guardian Education pages still have not much reporting on Futurelearn. Today a story on adult learning deplores the OU current charges for degrees at £5000 a year. Still this is less than £9000, or £16,000 or whatever number Will Hutton is thinking of.  There could be more attention for the OU current developments online.

It appears that in the UK the "elite" universities are outside and above the MOOC beta.  I think this is more like positioning than branding. More on this as the course continues. Apparently a brand can respond to feedback. So I expect web education to take several forms over time.

The Web Science course has not started yet but there is a Google group. If I want to endorse something I will put it in my own words by the way.  In the content so far there is frequent mention of the research going on in real space. But again there is a lot on offer for free and as a content marketing offer it seems reasonable so far.

I am trying to find time to re-read ReThinking Science and get a better idea of what modes one and two are supposed to be about. Brands are probably a mode two sort of subject. The web has partly developed outside of universities. The MOOCS are using some technology that has alo been used by companies. In most areas of training there has been a significant shift in how budgets are allocated given digital options. Early next year there will be another BETT with some scope for universities and adult learning. Also another Learning Technologies at Olympia. By then there may be more clarity on how the UK universities respond to the MOOC situation.