For those unaware what a MicroMasters is let’s talk cake (I would like to state now if you don’t like cake then replace the word cake with pie or whatever makes you happy).
The Cake shop
Imagine if I went to a specialist cake shop which was world ranked in the top 50 cake shops and baked cake that could change my life (e.g., improve my job opportunities, upskill my knowledge, open other cake shop doors etc. Sounds awesome and that’s before we even eat any cake however to get into the cake shop we have to show proof of prior knowledge of cake before we are invited in! So, the cake shop will get back to us about whether we are allowed in at a later date.
No Cake Knowledge
So you don’t meet the cake shop requirements, no cake, journey over, cake tears (that you proceed to eat and a vicious cycle begins).
Or you go off and discover all things cakes and come back a few years later where things may have changed. You might not like cake, have an allergy and explode when eating cake priorities have changed due to the external factors or the cake shop offerings have changed. These are just a few however due to not meeting the pre-reqs for access it’s a missed opportunity for all. You might have been the next president of cake and invented new cake that help make world peace, so everyone looses (especially cake)!
Cake B.A. Hons, so slice of cake?
You meet and provide all the required information and eventually get an invite to the shop imagine you walk into the shop and see a cake, visually your all in and want a taste\slice however you can’t buy a slice! It’s the whole cake. You have seen a similar version of the cake from another shop which may be further away or only open during certain hours or their version of the cake has less\ extra ingredients or didn’t get as good reviews. You’re a bit miffed you can’t try the cake, queue cake rage or as I like to call is cakegate. Imagine if that slice of cake is all you need to transform you from a butcher to a baker (or whoever makes cakes….. a caker).
Sounds crazy and we would probably suggest that as a business the cake shop would eventually go out of business however it doesn’t as people like buying whole cakes or the have been brought up in a society where the norm is to buy whole cakes not slices but remember things change, society evolves and demands change. Online cakeshops offering similar cake and half the price might start to take market share. Cakeshop rating could change, the cost of cake might exclude people from seeing the value in cake.
The cake window
Now imagine if the cake shop had a window at the side that sold cake slices which would allow people to buy a slice. This could allow potential cake shop customers a taste of the cake without an invite or having proof of prior cake knowledge plus let the cake shop share the cake to individuals that maybe can’t afford a whole cake, only want and can afford a slice of the cake.
The cake reveal
Its crude but the cake shop is an institution and the slice is a course. Degree programmes (UG\PG) consist of numerous courses\slices of cake that vary in size and delivery (the cake shop might be online only).
Now before people start saying this is done already (eye rolls etc), MicroMasters (a term coined by the platform provider edX) is for Masterly content only (Post Graduate level) and upon successful completion allows the learner to earn partial credit towards a full masters (this varies across all MicroMasters and is dependant on the institution).
So back to cake, the Masters is all the cake and the MicroMasters is the slice. The benefit of a MicroMasters is that they consist of open content that can be accessed by anyone without prior knowledge or qualification in a supporting or related field. Anyone can try the cake for free and if you want to gain a cake medal for being a cake master you pay a discounted charge for the slice compared to the cake.
Institutions have established mechanism for delivering degrees that has been going for years and can be complicated and differ per school, course, programme etc. Institutions can offer alternatives however with greater scrutiny on value, rankings and commercial worth are we starting to see the deconstruction or unbundling of education into more flexible and digestible variations of programme content delivery. In the coming years will these micro courses be established across all institutions and offer access to knowledge and alternative qualifications? Will we see a consumer desire for more bite size qualifications provided by red brick institutions? Will the prestige\brand of an instituiton still be important or will the marketplace be like an amazon shopping list with alternative recommendations from a plethora or other suppliers?
By offering deconstructed cake are we allowing the cake consumer an opportunity to pick what they want and construct their own spoon full of cake that they like!
So you can have your cake and eat it, leave it, buy it and not complete it, bin it, ask for a refund, complete it and decide that cake was brilliant or build your own cake. It’s a good time to be working in a cake shop ?