The success of the global distance course (MOOC) on Digital Business Models continues. At the moment, the course has close to 8 000 registered participants from across all the world’s continents. From India, the demand has been unusually high. But the course can also boast participants from remote locations like Greenland, Somalia and China, just to mention a few.
The MOOC team at Lund University School of Economics and Management (LUSEM) consists of instructor Andreas Constantinou together with Benjamin Weaver and Markus Lahtinen for production and promotion. Instructor Andreas Constantinou on his experiences from the MOOC.
Who are you and what is your role at LUSEM?
“I’m an adjunct professor at Lund University for the last seven years, teaching the campus course on Mobile Industry Dynamics and Internet Business Models. I’m also a father of two sons, I run a research business (SlashData) with the top global tech platforms as clients, and I run an accelerator program for founders of entrepreneurial businesses. In my spare time, I train for triathlon and I love swing dancing!”
What is meaning of ‘digital business models’ and why is it important?
“Digital Business Models is the collection of business model ‘recipes’ practiced by the software incumbents (incl. Apple. Google, Facebook, Amazon). These digital business models have since been adopted by many businesses from Automatic to Uber—to offer a unique advantage compared to traditional business models. This unique advantage is delivered by driving demand not from traditional sales and marketing techniques, but by leveraging forces, co-creators and markets external to your business. These Digital Business Models offer a unique advantage to any business—simply by applying the same recipe ingredients and ‘cooking’ processes that we describe in the course.”
What are the experiences—expected and unexpected—you’ve had of the MOOC so far?
“In less than 12 months since launching the course on Coursera we have had hundreds of course completers—that’s more than four years’ worth of Lund University students taking the course - and over 4,000 active students. All of this have been achieved without any large-scale marketing.”
“More importantly, the course has helped Lund University students taking the campus course on ‘digital business models’ to familiarize themselves with the digital business models’ material covered in the campus course. The physical part of the class can now focus on interactive learning, with much less emphasis on the teaching part which is delivered online. Moreover, the campus students can refresh their memory just before taking the exam by watching the online videos from Coursera, making their life easier, too. Blended learning at its best!”
There have been concerns raised that MOOCs are just a hype, in the sense that they can’t compete with traditional campus instruction. What would be your response to such a statement?
“The best form of learning is through play, not pure teaching, whether that teaching is online or classroom-only. MOOC delivery of the teaching component allows me as an instructor to reiterate the core concepts of the course, and focus my energy and time on learning through interaction. Students learn more effectively through each other, and through forms of play such as workshops, in-class exercises and open discussion.”
What possible improvements do you see with the MOOC?
“LUSEM management reports that the effects of the MOOC have been well-received by the different stakeholders of the school and seeks to continue and expand the MOOC presence even further. All in all, I am content with the course. There’s obviously always room for fine-tuning—a module that details the use of digital business models is on my current wish list.”
LUSEM Vice-Dean Kristina Eneroth on the MOOC progress:
“I am excited about the benefits generated by the MOOC on digital business models. Besides the previously reported global reach of the MOOC, we are also able to leverage the course for our campus students. It’s a good example of a flipped classroom. In the near future, I am expecting LUSEM to start counting MOOC-participants in the tens of thousands.”
The MOOC-team have filmed an additional module of the existing MOOC. The additional module develops the concept of the digital business model with clear instructions on how firms can adapt digital business models to their unique circumstances.
Markus Lahtinen, in charge of digital learning at LUSEM, is also currently working out the details for an additional MOOC in collaboration with Ellen Hillbom at the Department of Economic History. The working title of LUSEM’s second MOOC is “Economical development in Africa: past, present and future” which is expected to be launched during the first half of 2018.