NovoEd’s Business Courses: Why Pay?

In their recent September newsletter, NovoEd published their latest list of MOOC course offerings.  A few items of interest included some promising business courses for you homemade MBA makers out there.

NovoEd Logo

New NovoEd online business course MOOCs that may pique your interest:

  1. Writing a Successful Business Plan
  2. Startup CEO
  3. Storytelling at Work


Writing a Successful Business Plan will be brought to you by Robert Calvin, an adjunct professor of Entrepreneurship and Marketing from the University of Chicago’s Booth Business School.  As the course title would suggest, the content of this business MOOC will focus on writing a business plan.  Though this seems obvious enough, it appears that Prof. Calvin will emphasize keeping the business plan realistic and useful, while also making sure your tick the boxes required to use the business plan to pitch to investors.  This is one of NovoEd’s “premium” courses, and will set up back $29.


Startup CEO will be taught by real-world entrepreneurs Matt Blumberg and Clint Corver.  Matt  is the CEO of Return Path, and Clint is the COO of NovoEd itself.  This course promises to

give you the hard-learned lessons from seasoned, successful entrepreneurs so you don’t have to go learn them yourself.  While this sounds good, and will likely be quite entertaining, I struggle to see how they can justify the steep $199 price of admission.  Please drop a comment below if you are planning on taking this course – let us know why you think $199 is a fair price to pay!


Storytelling at Work begins in October, and is brought to you by Carol Lempert, a Senior Consultant at the Ariel Group.  This class appears to be capitalizing on the current trend/fad/buzz-wordy theme of communication via storytelling.  While I’m not here to challenge the importance of effective communication, nor am I here to swim against the stream about the utility of stories to good communication, I am here to balk at the $400 sticker price for this 6-week whopper!  A quick calculation for those enrolling in this course will show that at 6 weeks, with an estimated 1-3 hours required per week, you are paying between $22 to $66 per hour for this class.  It seems that Carol is applying the Senior Consultant hourly rate to this MOOC!


Pay to Play

Now, if you are a follower of my do it yourself MBA project, you know that I am a huge proponent of Coursera. Coursera offers all of its content for free; business courses or other.  Yes, there is the option of paying $40 for the “Signature Track”, but that is not required for any courses.  (and to be honest, I don’t understand the appeal of paying for the Signature Track at this point in time)

money funnel

Compare this to NovoEd.  While NovoEd is offering some MOOCs for free, the majority of its business MOOCs are not free.  In fact, most of NovoEd’s business courses are quite expensive!  As the above sample demonstrates, there is a large range of prices (e.g. $29-$400).  However, I am of the opinion that any price is too high when your competitors are giving away content for free.


My MOOCs are Free MOOCs

Will free MOOC content last?  This is debatable, but let’s hope so.  The important point is that right now there are plenty of business classes available online for free.  So, for the time being – if you want an online business course, don’t pay hundreds of dollars (or any dollars!) on places like NovoEd, go get your MOOCs for free!


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