How do online providers seek to exploit the gap in the traditional university (in liberal arts, anyway) between credential and education? Essentially by closing it, and then showing that it’s closed on a “revealed” course-by-course basis. The promise of online education in the hands of the new providers is to make the credential not just cheaper in delivery – but actually meaningful in the sense of reconnecting the credential offered with the skills and knowledge gained, and then visible to the employer considering the student. At the end of the day, I don’t think that the universities will face serious competition simply from a cheaper provider – they can absorb the cheaper provider (or the cheaper provider as a business model) into the existing university structure. Their online competition will come from a cheaper provider which is also, and much more importantly, able to reunite credential and learning, and reveal that to the world in a reputationally meaningful and efficient way.