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Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(10), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7100170

Digital Learning in the UK: Sociological Reflections on an Unequal Marketplace

Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3800, Australia
Received: 11 July 2018 / Revised: 17 September 2018 / Accepted: 17 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
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Abstract

Focusing on the UK context, and drawing on freely available information about online learning and the underlying commercial agreements between institutions, Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) platforms and Online Program Management (OPM) companies, this article shows how digitization and universities’ global expansion strategies are involved in forms of transnational marketization. In particular, the article shows that the online learning marketplace in the UK shows signs of segmentation, with ‘premium’ offerings in the high-to-middle tier targeting socially advantaged students-as-consumers, and a bottom region of low-ranking institutions drifting towards low-grade ‘unbundled’ provision that targets middle-to-low income groups. The article argues that the current global landscape of online education is a shifting, unequal market place, and that more research is needed on how different groups from a range of socio-economic backgrounds successfully or unsuccessfully navigate an increasingly fragmented and ‘unbundled’ educational terrain. View Full-Text
Keywords: online learning; marketization; MOOCs; Online Program Management; unbundling online learning; marketization; MOOCs; Online Program Management; unbundling
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Perrotta, C. Digital Learning in the UK: Sociological Reflections on an Unequal Marketplace. Soc. Sci. 2018, 7, 170.

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