May 21, 2013, 3:07 pm
Fifteen more universities have agreed to offer free massive open online courses through edX, a nonprofit provider of MOOCs founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, more than doubling its membership, from 12 to 27.
Tuesday’s announcement came as the group celebrated its first anniversary and as its leaders said it was bringing in revenue and was on track to financial sustainability.
The new partners are five institutions in the United States, including Cornell University and Davidson College, as well as six in Asia, three in Europe, and one in Australia.
edX defines itself as a nonprofit alternative to Coursera and other for-profit companies that are working with colleges and professors to deliver MOOCs. Leaders of edX stressed in their latest announcement that, unlike those efforts, edX aims to help colleges use technology to rethink campus…
April 23, 2013, 5:00 am
The Smithsonian Institution has signed a deal with Internet2 that could make it easier for colleges to connect with digital content in museums on the National Mall.
The new partnership, to be formally announced this morning at Internet2′s member meeting, will also bring high-speed Internet connections to some of the Smithsonian’s 19 museums and a technology-demonstration area in the institution’s Arts and Industry Building, which is currently being renovated. Internet2 is a nonprofit group that provides superfast network connections to some 220 college and university members.
Some individual colleges have already traded digital content with the Smithsonian. But the new partnership will make it easier for other colleges to do so as well without having to negotiate separate agreements with the cultural institution.
Shelton Waggener, senior vice president of Internet2, said in an…
April 3, 2013, 12:01 am
Starting in June, colleges that want to deliver their own massive open online courses will be able to use a free software platform developed jointly by Stanford University and edX, the nonprofit MOOC provider founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The move is a merger of sorts between two previously competing software-development projects with the same goal. EdX has long said it would make the software it built to power its MOOCs freely available to anyone as an open-source package. And Stanford was working on Class2Go, its own free software for online courses. Now the two software teams will work together and focus on developing a single platform.
Here’s where it gets confusing. Despite the joint work on software development, Stanford has no plans to join edX as a partner, and it will not offer courses via edX. Instead, Stanford will create it…
March 7, 2013, 3:57 pm
Two professors’ “cage match” debate over key issues facing MOOC developers was an antidote to the button-down manner of the business leaders at other sessions.
Austin, Tex. — Who should lead innovation in education—teachers or entrepreneurs? That key question was in the air here at this year’s South by Southwest Edu conference, which brought together a mix of entrepreneurs and educators for four days of panels and a competition for education start-ups.
In the keynote address on Thursday, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, made the case for why more venture capitalists and businesses should invest in building education products and services to kick-start new ways of teaching with technology. He displayed a chart showing a recent rise in such investment but noted that education…
January 9, 2013, 5:00 am
Some producers of free e-textbooks have had trouble persuading professors to adopt them. So one backer of “open-source textbooks” has decided to sell its titles on Chegg, an online textbook retailer, for a small fee in hopes of reaching a wider audience.
The group is called the Twenty Million Minds Foundation, and its goal is to save students money by creating e-textbooks for popular subjects and making them available free—or as close to free as possible. It has spent about $1.5-million developing a handful of textbooks written by high-profile scholars.
But its leaders admit that professors have been slow to assign the books in their courses. Few professors have heard of the Twenty Million Minds Foundation or of OpenStax College, the Rice University-run service that hosts the free textbooks produced by the foundation.
“When you’re a foundation and you approach a professor,…
January 9, 2013, 5:00 am
How is a major provider of free online courses going to tell whether you are who you say you are? By how you type.
The company, Coursera, plans to announce on Wednesday the start of a pilot project to check the identities of its students and offer “verified certificates” of completion, for a fee. A key part of that validation process will involve what Coursera officials call “keystroke biometrics”—analyzing each user’s pattern and rhythm of typing to serve as a kind of fingerprint.
The company has long said that it planned to bring in revenue by charging a fee to students who complete courses and want to prove that achievement. And Coursera has long recognized that its biggest challenge would be setting up a system to check identity. Other providers of free online courses, which are often called massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have decided to work with testing centers and …
January 2, 2013, 2:27 pm
Articles about how free online courses, or MOOCs, could disrupt higher education dominated the headlines last year here at the Wired Campus blog, and they were the most popular with readers as well. Several articles about e-textbooks also topped our list of most-read articles of 2012, highlighting what has been a time of change, and anxiety, for colleges and universities.
Coursera and Udacity appear most frequently in this year’s top headlines. Both offer MOOCs, or massive open online courses, and both were founded by Stanford University computer-science professors who are now on leave. Together, they now claim more than two million students, though some of those sign up but never complete work in the courses.
The most popular episode of our monthly Tech Therapy podcast highlights another anxiety among college leaders—how much raw time all this personal technology use eats up….
December 18, 2012, 2:18 pm
’Tis the season to reflect on the biggest trends in technology. Rather than looking back, though, we’re thinking about emerging leaders and the ideas they’re advocating.
In 2013 we plan to publish another list of top technology innovators in higher education, a follow-up to a popular feature we published last February. And again we need your help in finding the most interesting and influential people to profile.
You can find details on the nomination form below. Please share your suggestions and spread the word to colleagues.
Last year readers made more than 100 nominations, some of whom appeared on our list. Others ended up being featured in Chronicle articles later in the year. We also compiled the profiles, along with essays from each of the innovators, into an e-book, Rebooting the Academy.
Update: The deadline for submitting nominations was Friday, January 4, 2013,…
November 8, 2012, 6:31 pm
Bob Greenlees, director of operations at ShuttleCloud, makes his pitch at the Educause business competition.
— Educause held its first business competition
this week, bringing a dose of American Idol
to its annual conference here.
Leaders of 10 education-technology start-ups had eight minutes each to pitch their business plans in front of an audience, get grilled by a panel of venture capitalists, and then face a popular vote online. The big prize: marketing help from Educause and Google.
The start-ups’ chief executives, most of them in their 20s and 30s, talked fast, and when asked by the expert panel what their biggest obstacles were or how they could succeed when others had failed, most answered in slick sound bites that had clearly been rehearsed.
Their mission was to clearly state a problem in…
October 11, 2012, 9:20 pm
Orlando, Fla. — A longtime online-learning pioneer sounded a note of frustration at a national cyberlearning conference here this week. The complaint was over the perception that MOOC’s, or massive open online courses, run by highly selective universities are the biggest drivers of innovation in online learning.
“The hyper-prestigious universities” are not driving the change, said Jack M. Wilson, president emeritus of the University of Massachusetts, who founded UMass Online some 10 years ago, in remarks during a kickoff panel at the Sloan Consortium’s International Conference on Online Learning. He said that institutions like his and others represented at the conference, which is in its 18th year, have been slowly improving the quality, credibility, and enrollment of online courses for decades.
Mr. Wilson suggested that some new providers appeared to think they’d invented…