education's digital future

MOOC

Information Sciences and Technology professor to address U.S. Department of State about the impact of MOOCs

In recent years, massive open online courses (MOOCs) have enabled millions of people across the world to have access to free higher education. While the original purpose of the MOOC model may have been to make higher education more democratic, it is increasingly being used as a tool to foster mutual understanding between the United States and other countries, and provide an opportunity for students across the world to “test drive” a U.S. higher education experience.

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Does shared governance need to be radically rethought in the era of MOOCs?

I won’t spend the whole week recapitulating Rice’s De Lange conference on “Teaching in the University of Tomorrow” (see yesterday’s post on “Seeding Social Media”) but I did want to draw folks’ attention to one more thing: William Bowen’s talk on technology and changing American priorities related to higher education.

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Coursera expands its MOOC certificate program

Coursera, the online education company, announced on Wednesday that it was expanding a program that awards special certificates to students who pass multiple MOOCs.

The company unveiled the program, called Specializations, earlier this year. The idea was to create certificates that, while not supplanting traditional degrees, carry more weight than a certificate of completion from a single massive open online course.

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MOOC U: the revolution isn't over

Three years ago, this headline appeared in The New York Times: "Virtual and Artificial, but 58,000 Want Course." We all know the rest of the story. When the artificial-intelligence class at Stanford University started that fall, 160,000 students in 190 countries had signed up, touching off MOOC mania on campuses around the world.

Massive open online courses were heralded as the invention that would disrupt higher education’s expensive business model and would become the next big innovation in the tech world. By the end of 2012, the Times declared it "the year of the MOOC."

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The iTunes of higher ed

It’s nearly impossible to get into MIT, very expensive to enroll there, and exceedingly hard to graduate, which are some of the reasons why MIT degrees are so coveted. But very soon you’ll be able to take a series of online courses in computer science and earn an official certificate from one of the most prestigious engineering schools in the world, all for only a few hundred dollars—and without having to meet any admissions requirements. MIT will be launching these XSeries Certificate programs in the next few months, including one in “supply chain management.”

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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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