Chicago, IL – April 1, 2013
The Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), a consortium of 14 independent, liberal arts colleges, has announced that it is changing its membership structure and requirements to become the world’s first Massive Open Online Consortium (MOOC).
“We need to go global. We’re opening our membership to absolutely any organization anywhere in the world that has any connection whatsoever to education,” said ACM President Christopher Welna. “From Oxford University to Mrs. Wiley’s Preschool in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, we welcome them all.”
According to Welna, ACM’s decision to become a MOOC was made after careful analysis of current trends in higher education delivery and management.
“Since it was formed in 1959, ACM has strived to be a premier academic college consortium in the country,” Welna noted. “That’s certainly a lofty aspiration, but in today’s data-driven world, we need to have goals that are concrete and quantifiable. As a Massive Open Online Consortium, the equation is simple – if we have the most members, we are the biggest and our goal is met! That’s a metric that will be easy for our Board of Directors to understand.”
The new consortial structure will be supported by a completely revamped website focused on registration of new members and operated out of ACM’s brand new, virtual central office (shown in the photo above). “Convenience will be our middle name,” said Chief Financial Officer Doug Kolasinski. “We’ll be open for business 24/7/365, and the membership process will be as close to ‘one click’ as you can get.”
“As long as your organization’s name sounds even vaguely educational and you pay the dues, you’re in,” Kolasinski added. “We don’t ask for names of officers or anything like that. After all, who wants to be bothered keeping all those records up to date?”
There will be three levels of membership – Silver, Gold, and Platinum – each featuring a selection of “thank you” gifts, access to a customized bundle of consortial services, and a membership card offering 2-for-1 discounts at restaurants, museums, and other attractions.
Director of Marketing & Recruiting Scott Ozaroski said he fully expects that ACM’s bold move and anticipated success will give rise to imitators, but his message to them is to “bring it on.”
“We’re rolling out a new social media strategy to enhance our brand and to position us to be the dominant player within the emerging market of massive open online consortiums, so we can handle anything our competitors throw at us,” Ozaroski noted. “Compared to when ACM had just 14 member colleges, we expect the number of ‘Likes’ on our Facebook page to go through the roof!”
“The sky is the limit with our new consortial arrangement,” Welna said. “I’m confident that students at our member institutions will receive a richer educational experience from the new ACM MOOC beginning tomorrow, April 2nd.”