Subscription Video on Demand courses offer new opportunities in higher education
By Naomi Ambrose, Staff Writer
If you had to choose one sector apart from the film and television industry to consider offering Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) services, what sector would you choose? Hopefully, you’ll pick post-secondary. If you didn’t think of the higher education sector and you’re wondering about the possibility of post-secondary institutions transforming online courses into SVoD classes, I think you’ll find the reasons I highlight below will be worth exploring.
The website Technopedia defines SVoD as “a service that gives users unlimited access to a wide range of programs for a monthly flat fee.” Think Netflix or Hulu.
Keeping this definition in mind, let’s examine the popular saying that college and university is the place to explore your academic and vocational interests. Perhaps there are students who’ve long wanted to enroll in a course that they’ve always had an interest in. However, the fear of failure or the fear of getting a low-grade point average dissuaded them from registering for the class.
The students’ apprehension towards registering might be alleviated if the students know that there are online courses they can try for a month—without having to worry about low grades or an unsatisfactory grade point average. SVoD is an excellent platform for this kind of introductory instruction. Yes, it’s true that students might not acquire enough knowledge of a subject within a month. However, the possibility of offering the course for a month—at least at the introductory level—is still worth considering.
SVoD courses could also be an opportunity for students to develop their technical skills. To the budding coders, engineers, and computer technicians at Douglas College, SVoD courses offer a chance for you to create an app that may help your peers to try a new subject without worrying about their grades or GPA.
Apart from benefitting students, higher education institutions that offer SVoD services could create a new stream of revenue—especially in this era of decreased government investment in college institutions. According to a 2018 Statistics Canada report, “The proportion of college revenues from provincial governments is declining. In 2010/2011, provincial funding accounted for 65.2 percent of college revenues, or $5.4 billion in spending. In 2015/2016, it represented 60.7 percent of college revenues, or $5.3 billion in spending.”
Although the figures didn’t specify whether this Canada-wide pattern is the trend in BC, the point to take away is that the governmental funding in college institutions is declining. Considering the declining trend, offering a wide range of courses at a reasonable, monthly fee may be another way for higher education institutions to get some more money to invest into more programs for students.
Subscription Video on Demand services shouldn’t be limited to the entertainment sector. Let’s explore its validity in the post-secondary field—while brightening the higher education online course experience for students.