This month two Carnegie Mellon professors are launching a platform for Moocs (massive open online courses) and a series of free financial literacy programmes, to help people better understand how investment works.
Developed following the financial crisis, the Academic Financial Trading Platform will showcase teaching about market strategy and economic theory from some of the world’s top finance professors, from the Tepper school at CMU, Chicago Booth, the London School of Economics and the Rotman school at the University of Toronto.
Though initial courses have been designed to be accessible to those with little or no knowledge of finance, future higher level classes will be equivalent to those from top business schools. The first three courses to launch this month will cover macroeconomics, investment and analysis, and options, futures and other derivatives.
Expansion in the number of programmes will be rapid, says Anisha Ghosh, professor of business at the Tepper school, and one of the two developers of of the AFTP. “Over the next couple of years we intend to offer the full undergraduate and MBA curriculum.”
Although the courses will be free to individual course participants, the AFTP developers are also in discussion with teaching institutions - the Indian Institutes of Technology, for example - for them to integrate the finance courses into their own programmes. Raj Chakrabarti, co-developer of AFTP and the technical brains behind the platform, says the founders are planning to explore relationships with US schools as well. Companies may also decide to use the programmes.
The contracts between AFTP and the contributing professors will be at an individual level - not at the business school level. Once the platform becomes profitable, through the accreditation of programmes or licensing deals, contributing professors will be eligible for a share of the revenues.