A decade ago, an analyst at an investment firm recommended Kevin Kinser, a Penn State University education professor, to delve into companies that collaborate with colleges to establish online degree programs. These companies, known as online program managers (OPMs), provided recruiting, marketing, and back-end support to prestigious universities as they launched online graduate degrees in various fields such as social work, nursing, and international relations.

Kevin Kinser conducted further research into these companies and their partnerships with educational institutions. His investigations led him to examine the business practices and financial arrangements behind these partnerships. As a result, he discovered that while these partnerships had enabled universities to accelerate the expansion of their online programs, they had also raised concerns about the influence of profit-driven motives on educational programs.

Kinser’s work has shed light on the complex and evolving relationships between educational institutions and OPMs in the digital age. His research has challenged traditional models of online education by prompting a reassessment of the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in higher education.

By Editor

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