Online Production Managers: An Old Model Re-invented

February 2017 Issue

CAPDM Newsletter

CAPDM Discussion

Partner for Capability… and Profit.

Dear Reader,

Many universities struggling with diversifying into online and blended learning decide to have a corporate ‘partner’ basically build their products and business for them. This approach may have a short term appeal, but not in the longer term in CAPDM’s experience.

It was refreshing, therefore, to read about Noodle Partners and how they have changed this ‘corporate’ online production manager (OPM) model to one where for each function, they can supervise the work of providers and staff, or simply advise and measure performance.  Control and key functions are left with the university; Noodle provides the rest of the capability.

This is what CAPDM has been doing for years.  We work with partner to launch world-class online programmes, at costs significantly lower than incurred through traditional OPMs, but leaving control in the university at all times.  CAPDM grew out of the development of the massively successful online developments at Heriot-Watt which launched in the early 1990s, though we were their internal team at that time before spinning out.? In these days there were no corporate partners for the university to turn to then so we had to learn ‘everything!’ And quickly.

In learning the hard way, and being involved in every aspect of this business, we had to be able to provide all the capability required (from business planning, instructional design, production, and integration with operations & administration) to cover needs, but not at the expense of depriving the institution of the rewards that it can and should reap.

The rewards for the institution – financial aside – included a transformational change in attitude towards innovation, diversification and modes of delivery of education.  It also included the development of extremely valuable and wholly-owned flexible and reusable learning materials on which to build its programmes.  In this case the university also became its own publisher, and developed a whole range of new capabilities that allowed it to control its own innovations and destiny.  It also retained the bulk of the income generated.

Thankfully CAPDM’s input was not seen as a cost but as an investment.  We have since provided this capability to a range of partners, all of whom have gone on to establish an international profile, to develop a new and valued capability, to tip the internal culture in favour of innovation, and to generate significant third stream income.  They would not have managed this with the traditional corporate OPM model.

CAPDM works with innovative universities to create their world-class, agile, online degree programmes and their businesses.  We would welcome the opportunity to build yours.

We would be delighted to discuss any ideas and comments with you. Please do get in touch.

Email me now.

Ken Currie
Director, CAPDM Ltd.

About the author
Ken Currie has been working with universities for over 25 years developing their strategies and businesses in online distance learning (ODL). In the early 1990s, he was the key designer/developer of the globally successful Heriot-Watt online MBA and undergraduate Management Programme, and has continued to develop ODL businesses with other institutions in the UK and beyond. In recent times he helped to initiate ‘Global Online’ at Edinburgh Napier, and the ‘One World’ MBA at West of Scotland universities, and currently works closely with the University of London?s International Academy.

CAPDM Case Study

The World’s largest online MBA?


Our involvement in building the successful MBA and MP for Heriot-Watt University and how it has been critical to the university’s global ambitions.

CAPDM Case Study

A decade of single-source publishing

London Institute of Banking & Finance

How we helped LIBF to become one of the best providers of banking/finance degrees among specialist universities & alternative higher education institutions.

This newsletter was originally sent by CAPDM Ltd. on the 22. February 2017.

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