Concern Over Ed2Go
The move is shocking a number of LERN members across the United States and Canada who offer Ed2Go courses and see this is as direct competition. It is a bizarre situation not seen in the history of lifelong learning and continuing education.
The free courses are promoted under the name Gale, the name of the large Gale Research company serving libraries that Cengage acquired in 2007.
Claire Steiner, a librarian with the Deerfield, IL, public library, said her library patrons are put into the same class alongside with paying customers from colleges and schools in Ed2Go courses. The public library pays an annual fee to Cengage based on the size of her city, she noted. And then her patrons can take the classes for free.
Competition for LERN Members
Carole Ewing of the College of Lake County in Illinois said that no fewer than seven public libraries in her area were offering the free online courses in competition with her college.
After receiving a LERN member question on the issue last month, LERN did research in the past month on this issue. We first heard about two years ago when it was being tested by Ed2Go/Cengage in Maryland. Ann Johnson of Montgomery College reported at the big annual LERN conference three months ago that her local library was offering the free online courses in competition with her program.
And then LERN member Catherine Crockford of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada told LERN last month, “We were shocked to find out that our local library has brokered a deal with Gale Courses to be able to offer their catalogue of online courses free to their membership – shocked because Gale Courses is a subsidiary of the parent company Cengage and the Gale Courses are the exact same catalogue as those we offer through Ed2Go – down to the webpage looking exactly the same.”
With public libraries from Boston to Los Angeles, and in Canada as well, offering the Ed2Go courses free, LERN did some research and reported on it in a webinar this month. You can access the archive of the 30-minute webinar for no charge. Just email Tammy at firstname.lastname@example.org for access.
Ed2Go Denies It
In an email to Ms. Ewing, an Ed2Go/Cengage spokesperson Chelsea Hiebing wrote on January 24, 2017, “Ed2go does not offer our courses for free thru public libraries, and we are definitely not going to start. A sister company of Cengage called Gale offers similar short six-week courses, but I have no idea if the courses content is up to date, how many courses are offered, how many times a student can take a course, ect. The libraries definitely cannot offer CEU’s and they do not have the ability to tie any type of certificate to a school.”
That does not appear to be the case, according to the librarian we spoke to and LERN members.
The courses offered appear to be the very same courses Ed2Go partners charge for, with the same start date, length, instructor and course description.
In a member survey for which LERN received 51 responses, a very good response rate, some 70% of Ed2Go partners were concerned, while 30% indicated they would continue with Ed2Go and are apparently unconcerned.
A number of LERN members were not aware of the new development. Said Carole Ewing, “Thanks for the heads up LERN.”
LERN’s UGotClass Option
LERN’s UGotClass is growing and had another record month in February, up 12% over February last year.
LERN clearly suggests UGotClass as the option you and other LERN members should pursue as your primary online course provider. Some 208 LERN members generated almost 6,000 registrations for and with UGotClass in 2016, up 22% over the previous year.
“With LERN totally devoted to your program and generating 100% of our income from LERN members, we will never go behind your back,” stated LERN President William A. Draves. “Our mission, income and reputation are totally about serving our member programs and your needs,” he noted.