In my recent article on how COVID-19 is impacting education and how AI is accelerating the unavoidable disruption of brick-and-mortar education, Coursera just announced its launch of CourseMatch a machine learning (ML)/ artificial intelligence (AI) tool that matches any brick-and-mortar institution (BAMIs) course to one of Coursera's online offerings. I know this makes me sound like a prophet but I honestly had no clue it will happen this quickly - intensifying the argument that society might be underestimating the long term impact COVID-19 may have on our lives.
CourseMatch is intended to help universities that haven't made the investment in online education to quickly on-board their students during the COVID-19 lockdown. But like a lure-using predator Coursera might just be dealing it's final blow before it takes over education. The irony is that BAMIs late to the online education world really have no choice but to be taking for this highly uncertain ride (for them).
As many students are making the rather interesting choice currently to accept admission offers for the summer and fall 2020 semesters, Cousera has changed the rules of the game by offering these incoming freshman class an opportunity to pay less for the same semester worth of education!
You can see where all this is going right? Governments all over the world will have to come in to regulate this massive education arbitrage happening in our very eyes at this very moment due to COVID-19. For example, why should a student pay thousands of dollars to a BAMI for the 2020/2021 academic year when he or she will be spending possible more than 70% (depending on how long COVID-19 is still a significant threat to humanity) of that time learning on Coursera? Why not just pay hundreds of dollars to Coursera and get the same certification for the 2020/2021 academic year and then transfer the credit to the brick-and-mortar institution once the impact of COVID-19 is eliminated or reduced enough to allow students to return to campus?
Before now, it was easy for the gang of BAMIs to refuse such credit transfer on the argument that learning on Coursera (or any other online platform) was not the same thing as learning on campus. Given this advanced game theory move, Coursera with a single AI tool has eliminated that choice for the BAMIs while at the same time cementing its place in education history - Well done Coursera!