education's digital future


MOOC provider gets into college counseling

The providers of massive open online courses mostly cater to adults who already went to college. Now one provider, edX, is setting its sights on high-school students who are trying to get in.

The nonprofit organization just announced a raft of free, online courses for high-school students. Most of the new MOOCs cover material from Advanced Placement courses in traditional disciplines. But one course, called “The Road to Selective College Admissions,” will aim to counsel students on how to produce a successful college application.

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Georgia Tech optimistic but 'not declaring victory' after a semester of its affordable online master’s in CS

Administrators at the Georgia Institute of Technology are optimistic but “not declaring victory” after one semester of its affordable online master’s degree program in computer science. While the program has been well-received by students, administrators are still striving to solve an equation that balances cost, academic quality and support services.

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Identifying the online student

In 2012, most students preferred to do their online study at an institution in their home state. Undergraduate students at historically black colleges and universities were more likely to complete part of their education online than were students in general. West Virginia was the only state where students taking face-to-face courses didn’t make up at least half of the total student body.

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Business school, disrupted

If any institution is equipped to handle questions of strategy, it is Harvard Business School, whose professors have coined so much of the strategic lexicon used in classrooms and boardrooms that it’s hard to discuss the topic without recourse to their concepts: Competitive advantage. Disruptive innovation. The value chain.

But when its dean, Nitin Nohria, faced the school’s biggest strategic decision since 1924 — the year it planned its campus and adopted the case-study method as its pedagogical cornerstone — he ran into an issue. Those professors, and those concepts, disagreed.

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Disruptor, distracter, or what? A policymaker's guide to MOOCs

In the fall of 2011, a group of Stanford computer science professors opened up their in- person classes to anyone in the world with access to a computer and an Internet connection. The response was astounding. Hundreds of thousands of students from all over the globe signed up for the challenging classes. Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig’s course on artificial intelligence (AI) attracted 160,000 students from 190 different countries, more than 20,000 of whom finished and received a letter certifying their accomplishment.

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European students & employers seek more web-development MOOCs; hard to find

Students, education providers, and employers call massive open online courses one of the best ways to learn web-development skills, according to a report released on Thursday by the European Commission.

The report, which drew on a survey of about 3,000 people, including 731 students, said that only one student in four was not familiar with MOOCs and that about 64 percent of the respondents had taken such courses.

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Minerva Project awards $500,000 to Harvard U. pioneer of peer instruction

Eric Mazur, a professor of physics at Harvard University, will receive the first Minerva Prize for Advancements in Higher Education for his pioneering work on peer instruction in the classroom. The award, which includes a $500,000 cash prize, is offered by the Minerva Academy, a nonprofit offshoot of the entrepreneur Ben Nelson’s for-profit Minerva Project, which aims to create an elite online liberal-arts college.

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Stanford Online courses from all parts of campus are reaching millions of learners globally

Online education is changing the way we learn, where we learn and how we think of higher education. Stanford Online is pioneering advances in teaching and learning at Stanford – and beyond – as its new report, "2013 in Review," describes.

The 32-page document reveals the explosive growth at Stanford Online – 1.9 million people from almost every country in the world have registered for one or more courses, and learners have spent more than 4 million hours engaging with Stanford Online courses since the fall of 2012.

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Conventional online higher education will absorb MOOCs, 2 reports say

Massive open online courses will not fundamentally reshape higher education, nor will they disappear altogether. Those are the conclusions of separate reports released this week by Teachers College at Columbia University and Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit advisory group.

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MOOCs’ disruption is only beginning

JOURNALISTS, AS 2013 ended, were busy declaring the death of MOOCs, more formally known as massive open online courses. Silicon Valley startup Udacity, one of the first to offer the free Web-based college classes, had just announced its pivot to vocational training — a sure sign to some that this much-hyped revolution in higher education had failed. The collective sigh of relief from more traditional colleges and universities was audible.

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