In the past decade, an analyst at a financial firm suggested that Kevin Kinser, a professor of education at Penn State University, explore the possibility of collaborating with companies known as online program managers (OPMs) to establish online degree programs. OPMs provided support in recruiting, marketing, and back-end operations to prestigious universities as they launched online graduate degrees in fields such as social work, nursing, and international relations.
Kinser’s research revealed that the typical model for OPMs was to offer these services to brand-name universities for specific fields. This partnership enabled universities to expand their online programs quickly but also raised concerns about the potential influence of profit-driven motives on educational programs.
The work of Kevin Kinser has shed light on the complex relationships between educational institutions and OPMs in today’s digital age. His research has also challenged traditional models of online education by prompting a reevaluation of the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in higher education.