Online Learning Update

July 17, 2013

Introducing Versal: A New Way for Anyone to Create Interactive Online Learning Courses

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:04 am

by the Wall Street Journal

Versal launches the first beta version of  its open course publishing platform, empowering instructors everywhere to create engaging online learning experiences

— Versal is a single place to create online courses and share expertise with anyone.

— Interactive, customizable learning exercises called “gadgets” bring courses to life – no coding required.

— An SDK will be available later this summer for third-party JavaScript developers to contribute to the Versal gadget library.

— The Versal Foundation offers grants to create forever-free courses that help change lives.

http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130709-907918.html

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Coursera Hits 4 Million Students — And Triples Its Funding

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:02 am

by George Anders, Forbes

Coursera founders Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng don’t think small. Their Mountain View, Calif., online-education company is less than two years old, yet it already has attracted more than 4 million student signups. Now Coursera has raised $43 million in fresh venture capital, tripling its cash available for growth. Coursera’s instructors include globally known professors from at least 73 universities worldwide, ranging from Brown to the University of Tokyo. The U.S. accounts for less than half of Coursera’s overall student enrollment; other prominent countries include Brazil,India, China, Canada, Britain, Russia and Germany.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/georgeanders/2013/07/10/coursera-hits-4-million-students-and-triples-its-funding/

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam launches new online learning university for state

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:01 am

by Andy Sher, Times Free Press

Gov. Bill Haslam today launched a new online, “competency-based” university he said will help expand access to college for Tennesseans. The governor was joined by Western Governors University President Robert W. Mendenhall as he signed a memorandum of understanding that officially establishes the university in partnership with WGU, a nonprofit online university created in 1997 by a group of western governors. “We think this is a significant day in the state of Tennessee,” Haslam said during the news conference.

http://timesfreepress.com/news/2013/jul/09/tennessee-gov-bill-haslam-launches-new-online-univ/

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July 16, 2013

Open Online Learning Coursera Raises More Millions

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

By Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed

Coursera, the largest provider of massive open online courses, has $43 million in new investment money, the company announced. One of Coursera’s co-founder, Daphne Koller, said the money will give the company a “sizable amount of runway” to expand its user base and continue developing its software platform. At least $10 million is meant to aide Coursera’s global expansion. Half of that comes from the International Finance Corporation, or IFC, a part of the World Bank Group. IFC’s $5 million is being matched by Laureate Education Inc., the higher education for-profit company that largely operates outside the United States.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/07/10/investors-put-43-million-more-mooc-provider-coursera

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Medical Neuroscience online class in Coursera has just finished

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:09 am

by ANDREA NOVICKI, CIT Duke

Medical Neuroscience, taught in Coursera by Duke’s Dr. Len White, has finished. This intense course was designed to include the core concepts in neurophysiology and clinical neuroanatomy in most first-year neuroscience courses in schools of medicine, with an estimated time commitment of at least 16 hours/week. In Start Your Synapses!, course assistant Justin Johnsen provided a view into the course as it was running. Now that the course is over, how did it go? See the URL for data and comments on this extraordinary course.

http://cit.duke.edu/blog/2013/07/coursera-medical-neuroscience-week-3/

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Open Thread: Digital Humanities Outside of the Research University

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:04 am

By Adeline Koh, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Digital humanities projects often require many resources, ranging from computers, software and servers, to a technical support staff and team, and people who are able to train faculty and students to learn various tools. At the same time, while digital pedagogy is an integral part of the digital humanities, emphasis on undergraduate research is less common in the field, which may make it more difficult for people in departments without graduate programs to see the ways in which they can potentially integrate the digital humanities into their undergraduate teaching. Some active in the digital humanities community have voiced some of this difficulty; particularly in relation to definitions of the digital humanities and its relationship to pedagogy and the obstacles to practicing DH in institutions with fewer resources.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/open-thread-dh-outside-of-the-research-university/5091

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July 15, 2013

Is an IPO Looming in Coursera’s Future?

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:09 am

by edcetera

One hint might be found in the last paragraph of an interview Forbes did with Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller. Asking what lies ahead in the future, an acquisition or IPO, Koller stated that the latter might be inevitable, as Coursera has “outside investors, and they expect a return.” Doing some basic back of the napkin math, with a total of $65 million in funding, an acquisition offer by another company would need  to be between $325 to $650 million at this point, which would theoretically still be in the range of the top players in the space. But Koller says that she and the team are not interested in being acquired, as she is “not sure that the companies that might want to buy us would have the right goals.” A couple of days earlier, Andrew Ng also made a comment in that direction during a phone interview with Inside Higher Ed, stating, “For as long as its Daphne and me running the company, I’m confident we’ll do what’s best for students.”

http://edcetera.rafter.com/has-coursera-already-won-the-mooc-game

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Can Coursera Take Teachers Beyond The Lecture Hall?

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:06 am

by Christina Quattrocchi, edSurge

So far, MOOCs are great for lectures with talking heads, whiteboards and PowerPoint slides. However, while lectures and auto feedback may be great for learning things like computer science, this method of teaching doesn’t quite apply the same way to teaching teachers how to teach. As the launch of Courera’s teacher professional development courses comes closer, a few brave professors will attempt to transfer what they know about how to develop teachers from hands-on, inquiry-based labs to Coursera’s lecture-based format. Professor Chris “CJ” Thompson’s course, ‘Inquiry Science Learning’ from Rice University, will be part of the pioneering cohort of teacher professional development courses offered. Thompson is currently part of Rice’s STEMscopes, an online resource for Texas teachers that provides teachers with curriculum and support to do hands-on inquiry in their classes.

https://www.edsurge.com/n/2013-07-08-can-coursera-take-teachers-beyond-the-lecture-hall

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Beyond MOOC Hype

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:01 am

by Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed

As scores of colleges rush to offer free online classes, the mania over massive open online courses may be slowing down. Even top proponents of MOOCs are acknowledging critical questions remain unanswered, and are urging further study. Dan Greenstein, the head of college access at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, now wonders aloud if MOOCs are a “viable thing or are just a passing fad.” Gates has agreed to spend $3 million for wide-reaching MOOC-related grants. But Greenstein said higher ed is suffering from “innovation exhaustion,” and MOOCs are part of the problem. “It seems to me, at least with respect to MOOCs, that we have skipped an important step,” he wrote in an Inside Higher Ed op-ed last week. “We’ve jumped right into the ‘chase’ without much of a discussion about what problems they could help us to solve. We have skipped the big picture of where higher ed is going and where we want to be in 10 or 20 years.”

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/07/09/higher-ed-leaders-urge-slow-down-mooc-train

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July 14, 2013

MOOC Profs Supplement Coursera Online Learning Discussions With Town Hall

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

David F. Carr, InformationWeek

The discussion forum is an important feature of any massive open online course (MOOC), but when Ohio State University professor Jennifer Cowley was developing a course on technology and urban planning she decided the Coursera forums weren’t quite what she had in mind. For the TechniCity course on Coursera she taught with Thomas W. Sanchez of Virginia Tech, they instead tapped MindMixer, a “civic engagement platform” for hosting virtual town halls used by municipalities, school districts and other public institutions such as hospitals. “I was familiar with MindMixer from a city planner perspective, and when I decided I was going to teach a MOOC I was looking for an alternative to the typical discussion forums that are within Coursera,” Crowley said. One reason for the switch was that she wanted to add some structure around the discussion, because when that’s lacking “nobody focuses attention on anything,” she said.

http://www.informationweek.com/education/online-learning/mooc-profs-supplement-coursera-discussio/240157798

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How free online learning courses may help close employers’ skills gaps

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:05 am

By Joe McKendrick, SmartPlanet

The convergence of mobile and cloud capabilities — that makes computing resources available to anyone who needs it, wherever they are — mean tremendous opportunities for today’s enterprises. However, a point that was of significant concern to the enterprise customers on the panel was the availability of skills to make this new world a reality. There simply aren’t enough people with the right skills. Enterprises are being digitized at an enormous rate, and it’s understood that the shift to digital and data-centric approaches means gaining competitive advantage. But many organizations are scrambling to find people with the skills that can make this happen. In addition, there are many smart professionals out there who can help fill these gaps, but have skills that are rapidly being outdated. The rise of massive, open online courses (MOOCs) may offer a means for many professionals to pursue new skill development, while providing employers a relatively inexpensive way to upgrade their workforces.

http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/how-free-online-courses-may-help-close-employers-skills-gaps/23610

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4 Ways to Make a Good Impression in Online Learning Classes

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:01 am

By DEVON HAYNIE, US News

Good online course etiquette requires keeping writing professional and courteous, experts say. Students should ensure their comments on class discussion boards have a professional tone, experts say. Charles Belote, an online bachelor’s student from Amarillo, Texas, says he sees his fair share of bad behavior on the online discussion boards he is required to use for class. In one online course he took at Colorado State University—Global Campus, he saw students use a class discussion board to gang up on a student from Mexico who struggled with English. In others, his classmates used bad grammar and poor spelling during their required online debates.

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2013/07/08/4-ways-to-make-a-good-impression-in-online-classes

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July 13, 2013

Free and Open Online Learning Courses Gaining Popularity Among Schools

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

by Hispanic Business

Free online college courses have been part of the national discussion on college affordability this year, but while universities such as Harvard agreed to the idea early on, the University of North Dakota has been a more cautious observer. UND administration has not officially talked about offering the web-based classes, which are taught by instructors at elite universities and can serve thousands of people, but the possibility of swapping online lectures taught by faculty here with other universities is a realistic one, said Steven Light, associate vice president of academic affairs. “It’s a really intriguing idea,” he said. “You can take advantage of the expertise of our own faculty, the fact that they are here on our campus, and get the benefit of some different content from somewhere else.”

http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2013/7/6/free_and_open_online_courses_gaining.htm

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9 Online Learning Course Development Tips

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:05 am

by: Rob Kelly, Magna Pubs

As an instructional designer and online instructor at the Community College of Baltimore County Catonsville, Dionne Thorne has worked with many instructors as they develop their online courses. Based on this experience, she offers the following advice on the course design process:

http://www.magnapubs.com/blog/teaching-and-learning/9-course-development-tips/

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A University’s Offer of Credit for a MOOC Gets No Takers

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:01 am

By Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Ed

It was big news last fall when Colorado State University-Global Campus became the first college in the United States to grant credit to students who passed a MOOC, or massive open online course. For students, it meant a chance to get college credit on the cheap: $89, the cost of the required proctored exam, compared with the $1,050 that Colorado State charges for a comparable three-credit course. That is a big discount. Yet almost a year after Global Campus made the announcement, officials are still waiting for their first credit bargain-hunters. Not one student has taken the university up on its offer.

http://chronicle.com/article/A-Universitys-Offer-of-Credit/140131/

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July 12, 2013

Blackboard Announces New MOOC Platform

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

By Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Blackboard announced at its annual conference here that it would create a new MOOC platform that colleges could use free if they were existing Blackboard customers. The company has already hosted a couple of dozen MOOCs on a service called CourseSites, but the new platform will be enhanced with features to help colleges run courses for large numbers of students—and it will let colleges make some connections between their on-campus courses and their free open courses, if they choose to. CourseSites will remain in operation, but in the future it will be reserved for its original purpose—not to offer MOOCs, but to let professors experiment with Blackboard’s software for their traditional courses.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/blackboard-announces-new-mooc-platform/44687

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Self-service learning

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:05 am

by Alastair Creelman, Corridor of Uncertainty

Comparing MOOCs to regular courses is a bit like self-service compared to table service. All the ingredients are in there and you make your own way through the material on your own or in the company of friends. If you have questions there’s generally no responsible member of staff available to answer but often someone else in the queue can help since they’ve eaten here before. The food is generally good but it’s up to you how you compose your meal and there’s not much guidance available. Some people don’t take a full 3-course meal and some only drop in for a coffee but everyone is welcome to drop in when they can. It’s much cheaper than a restaurant with table service and highly trained staff and is perfectly adequate in many circumstances. But sometimes we want that special treatment, advice, quality, atmosphere, comfort and exclusivity and we’re willing to pay for it. It’s not a question of one or the other but they both fill important roles.

http://acreelman.blogspot.com/2013/07/self-service-learning.html

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Kaplan bets on 10 online learning startups

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:01 am

by Judith Messina, Crain’s New York Business

WhipSmart Learning offers an online array of engaging, kid-relevant daily news stories geared to different reading levels. It’s one of the first 10 companies in the new Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, itself one of a flurry of new, startup hatcheries targeting education. For-profit education company Kaplan announced the accelerator in February and a week ago named its first class. The 10 companies include five New York-based startups. Tech Stars, which runs accelerators in eight cities, provides some of the money—$20,000 for a 6% equity stake—while Kaplan furnishes the mentors, an optional $100,000 in convertible debt and space for three months at 395 Hudson St. For Kaplan, which already runs its own internal hackathons, the accelerator is an opportunity to capitalize on disruption in the education market. “It’s a great learning experience for us,” said Bernardo Rodriguez, chief digital officer at Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions. “Secondly, we will build good relationships with the startups and, if after three months, we want to invest or partner with them, we will be close to them.” Until last year, there were only a handful of EdTech accelerators, a tacit acknowledgement of the difficulty of bringing change to public school bureaucracies and to a higher education establishment constrained by tradition and tenure.

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130703/TECHNOLOGY/130709962

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July 11, 2013

A New Use for MOOCs: Real-World Problem Solving

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:11 am

by Zafrin Nurmohamed, Nabeel Gillani, and Michael Lenox, Harvard Business Review Blog

We can use MOOCs as platforms for real-world problem solving. This March, over 90,000 life-long learners from 143 countries enrolled in Foundations of Business Strategy, a MOOC offered through Coursera by the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. These learners enrolled to explore the frameworks and theories underlying successful business strategies. Some came from leading international organizations such as General Electric, Grameenphone, Johnson & Johnson, Samsung, and Walmart. Many others were intrepid entrepreneurs, small business operators, and social venture founders. With their unique backgrounds, the students wove a rich tapestry of ideas and creative insights. To harness these students’ talents, the course’s final project invited them to help real organizations by performing a strategic analysis of an existing firm’s business operations. In partnership with Coursolve, an initiative founded by two of us that connects organizations with courses to empower students to solve real-world problems, the course enabled a wide range of businesses to take advantage of the global student body’s insights and creativity. One hundred organizations joined the course and actively connected with learners. Organizations of all types participated, from resource-strapped small enterprises to established brick-and-mortar organizations, including one with close to 280,000 employees operating in over 30 countries.

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/07/a_new_use_for_moocs_real-world.html

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Five great jobs you can get with an online degree

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:03 am

By Devon Haynie, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT

An online master’s degree in IT can boost earnings as a computer systems analyst. For adults juggling jobs and family commitments, earning a degree can seem like a Herculean task. But it doesn’t have to be. By joining the millions of Americans pursuing online education, it’s possible to prepare for the next great job opportunity from the comfort of your couch. “Online learning can do two things: It can lead to advancement in an existing profession, or it can lead to a completely new profession,” says Leah K. Matthews, executive director of the Accrediting Commission of the nonprofit Distance Education and Training Council. “It spans almost every field now.” The following five jobs were pulled from U.S. News & World Report’s 100 Best Jobs of 2013 rankings. They earned high marks for employment opportunity, salary, work-life balance and job security, among other factors.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/top-5-jobs-online-degree-article-1.1371724?localLinksEnabled=false

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Can Creativity and innovation be taught online?

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:01 am

by Phys.org

For the faculty members of a new free online course, creativity and innovation aren’t just the purview of artists, musicians or designers. Instead, they say, it’s about the process. It’s a unique and trend-bucking view of creativity, and it’s unusual for an engineering topic,” explained Kathryn Jablokow, associate professor of mechanical engineering and engineering design at Penn State Great Valley and one of the course’s three instructors. “But at its core, it’s about delivery of process, not just content.”

http://phys.org/news/2013-07-creativity-taught-free-online.html

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