2U and edX merger signals change in HE edtech market
That vision hasn’t exactly played out over the intervening nine years. Tens of millions of people did flock to sites like edX to try out courses for free, as expected, but attracting the kinds of students who would make online higher education a viable business – those who were willing to pay for a degree or credential – proved harder and costly.
Now, the recent announcement that 2U Inc, one of the largest, publicly traded online higher education companies, would buy edX’s assets for US$800 million signals a new future for the industry. One where free online courses serve as an entry point to paid credential and degree programmes. The announcement last week comes a few months after Coursera, one of the biggest MOOC providers, revealed its success at converting free users into paying students in its IPO (initial public offering) paperwork.
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