© The Financial Times Ltd 2014 FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
Small private online courses (Spocs) are a competing model to the Mooc (massive open online course). Despite much excitement about how Moocs might transform the education system, they have so far not been able to show how they will fund themselves. In addition, the "open" nature of the Mooc courses encourages large numbers of participants with very varied abilities because anyone with an internet connection can participate. This raises problems with assessment and therefore how much a Mooc can be worth on someone's curriculum vitae as they go on to jobs or further study. Spocs offer some solution in that students are selected, which limits numbers of participants, and ensures they satisfy some entry requirements for the course. Spocs allow educational establishments to use them in a "blended learning" approach that combines classroom teaching with online learning.
In April 2013 it was reported that NovoEd, a Mooc platform that had started life in Stanford University, would also offer limited-entry, closed courses, such as Stanford executive education programmes, alongside the Mooc courses.