Education, training and curriculum commercialisation - a reality check
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Computer and Information Science
As government funding is effectively reduced many educational institutions are seeking alternative sources of revenue. A typical response is to establish a commercial arm that is responsible for the management of commercial activities that include: fees from foreign students, patenting, leasing university facilities, organizing conferences etc. The general perception is that, for relatively little investment curricula can be offered on a commercial basis thereby providing a significant source of revenue for both the institution and staff. Furthermore it is believed that such commercial activities have the potential to raise the profile of the university within the community and also engender a market-oriented approach to education. In this context questions must be raised about the relevance and importance of training as a component of standard educational programs. An exploratory market audit was therefore conducted with the associated identification and profiling of market segments in an attempt to achieve, if possible, a unique selling position for Edith Cowan University (ECU) in the Information Technology marketplace. Accordingly, a new market-based curriculum with a training component was designed, implemented and evaluated. One unit from this curriculum was then marketed and successfully offered as part of a full-fee executive development program. This paper presents the results of this curriculum design and provision exercise and discusses the advantages and problems associated with the commercialisation of curriculum.