education's digital future


New Coursera CEO: out in front, and optimistic, about online education

Besides his name and email address Richard C. Levin’s new black-and-white business cards contain just two short lines of type: “Coursera” and “CEO.” Mr. Levin, the former president of Yale University, was named head of the online education company late last month.

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Online education 'not a silver bullet,' says University of California president

BACK TO THE BASICS: Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and current president of the University of California, Janet Napolitano, is keeping an even keel about the prospects of online education. In an interview last week with the Public Policy Institute's Mark Baldassare, she casts some doubt on whether online learning is really cost-effective:

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Changing higher education to change the world

What remains from a MOOC after the final video has ended and the last paper has been peer-assessed? The most exciting part of my recent MOOC on the “History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education” was the spirited exchanges among the participants. So that is the question. How can a MOOC be more than a “one off”? What remains for the participants after the MOOC is over? What infrastructure is required beyond the MOOC platform to turn a massive learning experience into a movement in the real world?

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President John Hennessy shares Stanford's perspective on online learning

Higher education is in a "period of great experimentation" in the field of online learning, President Hennessy told a Berkeley audience last week, adding that he is confident its successes and failures will lead to new approaches to teaching that will benefit students.

"We're going to invent the future," Hennessy said, speaking during the opening Q&A of an online summit held March 7-8 at the University of California-Berkeley, "How Technology Impacts the Pedagogy and Economics of Residential Higher Education."

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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.

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Not biting

The first British massive open online course to offer students the option to pay for academic credit has ended, with none of its participants opting to fork out for official recognition.

The Edge Hill University MOOC, entitled Vampire Fictions, was announced in May last year and attracted about 1,000 students.

Of these, 31 reached the end of the course, with none opting to hand over the £200 ($330) that Edge Hill was charging in exchange for 20 credits at level 4 – the equivalent of a module on a first-year degree course.

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Try, try again

Third time isn’t necessarily the charm for massive open online course instructors, but through a process of trial and error, some faculty members at Stanford University say their MOOCs are living up to (some of) the potential promised two years ago.

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Moodle for the masses

Moodle edges out competitors such as Blackboard among smaller colleges, a new analysis of the learning management systems shows, lending some evidence to the anecdotal popularity of open-source solutions among those institutions.

The analysis, published by the former Blackboard engineer George Kroner on his Edutechnica blog, shows familiar players such as Blackboard, Desire2Learn and Instructure are major forces in the market among institutions with 1,000 to 2,000 full-time students. Despite their strength, the open-source Moodle platform beats out all of them.

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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.

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Coursera joins foundation to offer MOOCs in Spanish

Coursera, a company that helps clients build massive open online courses, will soon expand its reach internationally by offering Spanish-language MOOCs. On Wednesday the company unveiled its latest partnership, with a Mexican philanthropic organization called the Carlos Slim Foundation, and announced plans to translate 50 Coursera courses into Spanish by the end of the year.

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