Category Archives: Distance Education

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Udacity Will No Longer Offer Free Certificates

Udacity hopes the certificates it offers to people who complete its massive open online courses are worth something. Now the company plans to charge students accordingly.

The company, one of the big three MOOC providers, said on Wednesday that it would no longer give learners the opportunity to earn free, “non-identity-verified” certificates. People will still be able to view Udacity’s online-course materials without paying, but those who want a credential will have to open their wallets.

“Disco…

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2014: The Year the Media Stopped Caring About MOOCs?

The news media’s appetite for MOOC stories has been insatiable. So when the University of Pennsylvania sent an email inviting several hundred education reporters to a seminar on massive open online courses, it anticipated a healthy turnout.

But as the catering deadline approached at the National Press Club, in Washington, organizers realized that they had barely enough registered attendees to justify a platter of finger food.

“We didn’t have a set thing in mind as to how many would attend, b…

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QuickWire: Participants Vote to End 2U Semester Online

Following the defection of several participating universities, the online-course provider 2U and its remaining partners in the experimental Semester Online program have decided to shut it down following this summer’s courses. Semester Online promised to offer live online class sessions from prestigious institutions, but after uneasy faculty members at institutions like Duke University and Washington University in St. Louis forced administrators to back away from the experiment, the remaining par…

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New U. of California President Plays Down Online Education

The new president of the University of California, Janet Napolitano, does not think online education is the answer to the fundamental challenges facing her system.

Ms. Napolitano, who took office last fall after serving four years as U.S. secretary of homeland security, sat for an interview this week with Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute of California. Mr. Baldassare noted that online education did not figure in her stated initiatives. Here is how Ms. Napolitano responde…

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QuickWire: There May Be Fewer Online Programs Than You Think

A new report on online education finds “noise in the data” that institutions send to the U.S. Department of Education about their offerings. While 3,311 institutions say they have online programs, the report says, the actual number is more like 1,243—in part because the definition of “online” is “overly ambiguous and broad,” and in part because an institution that has multiple campuses can count each as having online programs, even if the institution in fact has only a single online offering ava…

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QuickWire: Harvard U. Students Are Silenced During MOOC Filming

An English professor at Harvard University turned heads last month when she instructed students in her poetry class to refrain from asking questions during lectures so as not to disrupt recordings being made for the MOOC version of the course.

Elisa New, a professor of American literature, instituted the policy at the behest of technicians from HarvardX, the university’s online arm, according to The Harvard Crimson, which first reported the news. The video technicians reportedly told her they wa…

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edX Adds a Second Tier of Members

edX has been trying to figure out how to build more courses, more quickly, without losing its exclusive atmosphere. Now it’s settled on a plan.

In December, The Chronicle obtained materials from an internal presentation suggesting that the nonprofit provider of massive open online courses was worried that it would not be able to grow as fast as it wanted to while maintaining a “small cohesive feel.” The presentation proposed an expansion of edX’s members-only approach that would create a second …

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Apollo Education Group Starts Nontraditional Course Catalog

The Apollo Education Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, is starting a website to help people find courses that teach skills they need to land specific jobs in the technology industry. Call it a course catalog for nontraditional courses, most of which have no connection to colleges’ degree programs.

The website, called Balloon and announced on Tuesday, will be pitched to adult learners who want to pick up skills that have been flagged by technology companies as requirements f…

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QuickWire: edX and Facebook Team Up to Offer Free Education in Rwanda

The nonprofit online-learning organization edX will work with Facebook and two other companies to provide free, localized education to students in Rwanda on “affordable” smart phones, Facebook and edX said on Monday.

edX, a provider of massive open online courses that was founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will help create a mobile teaching app that is integrated with Facebook and “optimized for a low-bandwidth environment.” As part of the program, calle…

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QuickWire: Online-Education Platform 2U Inc. Plans to Go Public

2U Inc., an online-education platform that counts the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Southern California among its clients, filed plans on Friday for an initial public offering of up to $100-million in common stock.

The company did not disclose the stock’s IPO price. The money will be used to expand student enrollment and to fund technology and content development, the company said.

2U develops and services cloud-based education software used by colleges to deliver co…