Today’s news from SAGE and Coursera follows similar types of programs where content/access is provided free of charge to select user groups. Two examples from 2012 are JSTOR providing offering free access to their database to a select group of Wikipedia editors and Elsevier providing free access to the course textbook used in an edX class.
May 8, 2013: News From SAGE and Coursera
Starting today, publishers Cengage Learning, Macmillan Higher Education, Oxford University Press, SAGE, and Wiley will experiment with offering to Coursera students, at no cost for the duration of the course, versions of their e-textbooks, delivered via Chegg’s DRM-protected e-Reader. Coursera is also actively discussing pilot agreements and related alliances with Springer and additional publishers.
From SAGE Announcement:
SAGE today announced a partnership with Coursera, a leading massive open online course (MOOC) provider, to launch a pilot program that will expand the availability of high-quality educational resources to more than three million Coursera students. From today, this partnership will grant Coursera instructors the option to supplement their video lectures with rigorously-developed, pedagogical content from SAGE at no cost to their students. The partnership is enabled by Chegg, a leading student-connected learning platform, whom Coursera has selected as its exclusive DRM/eReader provider.
While it has been well-documented that access to quality pedagogical material plays a crucial role in the student-learning experience, previously Coursera professors were only able to use materials that were freely available online as resources for students. This new partnership with SAGE will provide Coursera students with access to high quality educational resources from leading authors.
Through this partnership, SAGE will work closely with its authors to provide Coursera-registered students with free access to select textbook content requested by instructors for the duration of the 8-week long MOOC courses, delivered via Chegg’s DRM-protected e-Reader. Coursera students will have the option to purchase print and digital copies of SAGE texts and premium resources.
How It Will Work
Through this partnership, the publishers will work with textbook authors to provide Coursera-registered students with free access to select textbook content requested by instructors for the duration of the 8-week long MOOC courses, delivered via Chegg’s DRM-protected e-Reader. Coursera students will have the option to purchase print and digital copies of texts and premium resources.
Today’s announcement by the five publishers is a very smart move that other content providers should also consider.
In providing the service SAGE is not only demonstrating real support to enrich the MOOC experience but they’re also building awareness of their name and the content they provide.
A negative for all involved (Publishers, Coursera, Chegg, Students, Faculty) would be the program becoming a way to simply lure participants into purchasing the full text of a chapter/article. Asking users if they might like to buy the complete text and/or promoting additional content for a fee is one thing (if not done to many times) but the material that is provided for free needs to be as complete as possible, no strings attached. Using names and email addresses that might have to be shared to build a mailing list must also be closely monitored. A lot of email from the partners would likely do the opposite of what the partners hope to achieve.