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With New Online Marketplace, Community Colleges Hope to Better Compete With For-Profits

Ed Surge

Rebecca Koenig
May 21, 2021
Community colleges are staking a claim in the territory of online course marketplaces.
They’re about a decade behind their university counterparts, who helped to found edX in 2012, the same year that startup Coursera launched its competing service, now worth millions.
But leaders of a new platform called Unmudl say the time is right for community colleges to collaborate and make their workforce-training programs available more widely by marketing them through a shared website.
It’s a vision quite different from the traditional mission of community colleges to serve their communities—the literal, physical ones that surround their campuses.
“They want to serve in their own locales, but their markets need to go farther,” says Holly Zanville, a research professor and co-director of the Program on Skills, Credentials, and Workforce Policy at George Washington University who recently published a commissioned report about Unmudl. “The future of the world is not to focus on your own backyard.”