Category Archives: MOOCs

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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: 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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Harvard and MIT Release Visualization Tools for Trove of MOOC Data

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One of the visualization tools shows Harvard U.’s MOOC enrollment by country. (Harvard U.)

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have released a set of open-source visualization tools for working with a rich trove of data from more than a million people registered for 17 of the two institutions’ massive open online courses, which are offered through their edX platform.

The tools let users see and work with “near real-time” information about course registrants—minus …

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Harvard U. Will Offer Exclusive MOOCs to Alumni

You don’t need to be a Harvard University student to take a massive open online course from Harvard—throwing open the gates to all comers is the idea, after all. But being a Harvard graduate still has its perks, even within the democratized landscape of MOOCs.

The university plans to make some MOOC materials available exclusively to alumni, in an effort to help Harvard graduates reconnect with the university and one another. The program, called HarvardX for Alumni and first reported in The Harva…

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San Jose State U. Adopts New Policy for Online and ‘Hybrid’ Courses

San Jose State University, whose high-profile experiments with online teaching last year drew scrutiny, has adopted a new policy on how “technology-intensive, hybrid, and online courses” may be created and run on its campus. The policy follows concerns that university administrators—and particularly the president, Mohammad H. Qayoumi—have ignored the principles of shared governance.

“The university will not agree in a contract with any private or public entity to deliver technology-intensive, hy…

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San Jose State U. Adopts More edX Content for Outsourcing Trial

San Jose State University’s experiment with online video lectures featuring professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—by way of edX, the nonprofit provider of massive open online courses—produced some promising early results. In the fall of 2012, students in two traditional sections of an introductory electrical-engineering course earned passing grades at rates of 57 percent and 74 percent, respectively. In an experimental third section, which was “flipped” to incorporate t…