education's digital future

MOOCs

Coursera chief: reach of teaching will define great universities

In October 1993, in his first major speech as president of Yale University, Richard C. Levin talked about the importance of Yale’s becoming a “world university.” Great universities have a responsibility to drive global change, he said, and they achieve that primarily by nurturing future leaders and world-changing research inside their walled gardens.

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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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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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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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