Online Learning Update

November 19, 2012

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:10 am

by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Gates Foundation has made a number of strategic investments in a range of postsecondary areas, and these investments complement several existing work streams. Though Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have much to prove, the foundation is interested in their potential to make content and learning more accessible and affordable at web scale—at least for some students and some types of content. It has never been more important for Americans to have training and education after high school. Sadly, far too few people complete a degree or training program, leaving most of them unqualified for the best opportunities. We believe an education ecosystem with diverse options for faculty and students, and options that meet a wide array of learning needs and styles, will help increase student success rates. We are eager to learn from and share the data that will be generated from our investments in MOOCs in order to advance teaching and learning. In June 2012, the Gates Foundation made a grant to MIT to develop and offer a MOOC. MIT’s new, free prototype computer science online course, offered through edX, and in partnership with community colleges, will experiment with using the course in a “flipped” classroom.  On November 13th 2012, the foundation awarded 12 grants, totaling more than $3 million, in new investments in MOOCs.

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