MOOCs and Online Higher Ed

Overview

MOOCs and Online Higher Ed

There’s an online-learning boom going on in higher education. The focus is on a relatively new model that promises to teach tens of thousands of students at a time for free, with a mix of short Web videos and automatically graded (or peer-graded) assignments. These new offerings are called massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

There’s an online-learning boom going on in higher education. The focus is on a relatively new model that promises to teach tens of thousands of students at a time for free, with a mix of short Web videos and automatically graded (or peer-graded) assignments. These new offerings are called massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

MOOCs evolved from earlier efforts to put university lecture notes online for free, public use. Back in 2001, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology started an ambitious effort to post lecture notes and other materials from all of its courses. No one called it a substitute for attending college, and one of the goals was to help teachers and professors elsewhere see models for designing their curricula. A handful of other universities also started so-called OpenCourseWare efforts, but it didn’t spark a revolution.

But free courseware efforts were a kind of long fuse, it turns out, for a blast that would come years later. YouTube emerged in 2005, making it free to distribute video to the masses. And broadband Internet access gradually became more widespread. Some universities began filming their lectures and posting some of them to YouTube channels, but the videos often felt tedious and hard to watch — presenting a view from the back row of learning.

It took someone outside of higher education—a former hedge-fund analyst named Salman Khan—to popularize a more Web-friendly way to teach online. In 2006 he started Khan Academy, full of short video clips (about 11 minutes each) on more-discrete topics than a typical college lecture. There are no classrooms or talking heads shown in these videos. Instead, Mr. Khan’s voice narrates as he draws and writes notes on a digital whiteboard.

Meanwhile, a few other professors were quietly experimenting with opening up their university courses to students online, essentially letting people audit for free from a distance. The freeloaders could participate in online discussions, and some even turned in homework.

A Stanford University computer-science professor named Sebastian Thrun was inspired by Khan Academy to create a free version of a course he was co-teaching about artificial intelligence. The idea got plenty of press coverage, and more than 160,000 students signed up — a number so large it got the attention of venture-capitalists in Silicon Valley. The boom was on.

Thrun started Udacity to offer MOOCs by professors at prestigious universities around the world. And two other Stanford professors, from the same department as Thrun, started Coursera, which began teaming up with highly selective colleges and universities to offer MOOCs. By the spring of 2013, Coursera had signed up 62 university partners and registered more than 3 million students from across the globe. Udacity, which has more than 160,000 students, recently partnered with San Jose State University for a pilot program of credit-bearing courses.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology jumped in as well. Along with Harvard University, it founded a nonprofit called edX to provide a platform to offer MOOCs. The two universities committed $60 million to start the project, and a handful of other universities have since joined in.

Most MOOCs offer their content for free but charge a small fee for a certificate to prove successful completion. Even the certificates carry no college credit, however.

But that might be changing. In February 2013, the American Council on Education, a Washington-based membership group of higher education institutions, recommended five Coursera courses for credit, as part of a program meant to help colleges decide whether to accept courses from unaccredited providers. San Jose State University is one of a few institutions that have experimented with offering credit to students who pass MOOCs, provided they pay the college a $150 fee.

Many reformers see MOOCs as a way to address a range of pressing problems in higher education. Some hope to bring down the cost of traditional classroom delivery by using “flipped classrooms,” in which students are assigned free lecture videos for homework, while class time is used to discuss the video material and do interactive exercises. Others hope that MOOCs will lead to low-cost alternatives to traditional campuses.

MOOCs face major challenges, however. Completion rates are often tiny—typically around 10 percent—
in part because many people sign up for the free courses but then never actually tune in. And cheating is a concern. MOOC providers have set up methods to proctor tests for those who want a verified certificate of completion.

These new online courses apparently played a role in the controversial ouster—and then reinstatement—of the University of Virginia’s president, Teresa Sullivan. In the days and weeks before her dismissal in 2012, members of the university’s board of visitors traded emails suggesting that they thought Sullivan was moving too slowly to explore MOOCs.

Meanwhile, plenty of colleges offer what is now seen as the old-fashioned version of online education. Such courses more closely mimic the classroom experience: They are led by individual professors who teach 20 to 30 students at a time and grade their homework by hand. For-profit colleges such as the University of Phoenix were early to this model, as were some state institutions, such as UMass Online, founded some 10 years ago. Those online courses are often not much cheaper than traditional courses, for students or the institutions that deliver them.

To help colleges move faster to offer traditional online degree programs, a few companies have emerged in recent years to pay for and help manage the programs’ creation, in exchange for a cut of future tuition revenue. Among those companies are the publishing and technology conglomerate Pearson and 2U, an education technology company formerly called 2tor. In general, the lines separating publisher, professor, university, and software company appear to be blurring as more courses move online.

Latest News

King of Free Online Courses May Soon Add Videochats with Professors

Rick Levin, the former president of Yale University who now serves as CEO of Coursera, says the Silicon Valley startup is exploring the possibility of offering intimate online discussions with university professors who teach its MOOCs.

Latest News

Competency-based Education Arrives At Three Major Public Institutions

Competency-based education is going upmarket. Three brand-name, Big Ten-affiliated institutions are now offering degrees in this emerging form of higher education.

Yet the new programs at the University of Michigan, Purdue University and the University of Wisconsin System are not aimed at the vast numbers of undergraduates who come to those campuses for the traditional college experience. They are narrow in scope, experimental and not all that sexy.

Latest News

Competency-Based Education: No More Semesters?

“I went to a four-year university.” “That job requires a one-year certificate.” “It’s a two-semester course.” “She’s a fifth-year senior.”

What do these expressions have in common? They use time as the yardstick for higher education. Essentially, this means measuring not how much you’ve learned, but how long you’ve spent trying to learn it.

Latest News

U.S. Online-education Company Udacity Raises $35 Mln for ‘Nanodegrees’

The credential aims to provide a way for students to prove they have mastered some sort of skill, such as data analysis or programming, without the time commitment or expense of getting a traditional college degree.

Latest News

MIT Study Finds Learning Gains For Students Who Took Free Online Course

Students in a free online physics course from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology demonstrated roughly equal learning gains if they stuck with the class — regardless of previous academic experience, researchers reported Tuesday.

Their progress also was comparable to what some MIT students showed when they were required to take the introductory course on campus as a remedial measure.

Video

The 10 Higher Education Stories You Should Be Covering This Year

The 10 Higher Education Stories You Should Be Covering This Year

Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed talks to reporters at EWA’s 2014 Higher Education Seminar.

Recorded Sept. 6, 2014, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. 

Latest News

How to Help the 21st Century College Student

Image of How to Help the 21st Century College Student

When Mark Milliron met with an advertising team to promote a new type of college in Texas, he wasn’t expecting fireworks. Still, the pitch floored him.

“The Texas Two-Step: Sign Up. Succeed.”

It was the sentence that would appear on billboards and in radio advertisements, enticing thousands of working adults to enroll in an online college – Western Governors University Texas. And it totally missed the point.

Latest News

Has This New Online College Program Solved the MOOC Problem?

The Georgia Tech program is in its first semester, with 375 students; the university has admitted about 500 more for the summer and fall semesters. Advocates of online higher education hope this first-ever attempt by an elite institution to offer an entire computer-science graduate program in a MOOC-style format will prove the value of so-called massively open online courses, which — after huge fanfare and dramatic growth — have been thwarted by high dropout rates, waning faculty support, and slowing growth.

Latest News

The Future of College?

On a Friday morning in April, I strapped on a headset, leaned into a microphone, and experienced what had been described to me as a type of time travel to the future of higher education. I was on the ninth floor of a building in downtown San Francisco, in a neighborhood whose streets are heavily populated with winos and vagrants, and whose buildings host hip new businesses, many of them tech start-ups.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

A Chance to Earn College Credit for What You Already Know

Image of A Chance to Earn College Credit for What You Already Know

A car salesman, a secretary and a military vet filed into a conference room for a new kind of high-stakes test – one that could earn them up to 30 college credits in a single day.

Report

Interactive Online Learning on Campus
Testing MOOCs and Other Platforms in Hybrid Formats in the University System of Maryland

Since November 2012, Ithaka S+R has been working with the University System of Maryland (USM) to test a variety of online learning technologies, assess student learning outcomes, and document lessons learned from these implementations. The USM is serving as a test bed for employing MOOCs from Coursera, the Open Learning Initiative (OLI) from Carnegie Mellon, and Pearson in a variety of subject areas on different campuses.  …

Looking specifically at how faculty in the USM incorporated MOOCs and OLI into their courses, our report points to several positive outcomes:

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Are Competency-Based Education and Student-Centered Learning Changing Schools?

Image of How Are Competency-Based Education and Student-Centered Learning Changing Schools?

More students are earning high school diplomas – but the diplomas don’t mean those students are ready to succeed in college.

Nicholas Donohue, president and CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, made that observation as he began to argue for a dramatic rethinking of the way schools measure learning, promote students and award diplomas. He made the argument during a “Deep Dive on Competency-Based Education and Student-Centered Learning” at EWA’s National Seminar in Nashville in May.

Event

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Covering the College Student Experience
2014 Higher Ed Seminar

Image of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Covering the College Student Experience

For many college students — whether fresh out of high school or adults returning to school — their most serious obstacles to a degree won’t be homework or tests, but rather the challenges of navigating student life. Colleges are now being forced to face the longstanding problems that have often led to students’ flailing and failing on their own. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Top 10 Higher Education Stories You Should Be Covering

Image of Top 10 Higher Education Stories You Should Be Covering

For higher education reporters, Inside Higher Ed editor Scott Jaschik’s annual top-10 list of story ideas is a highlight of EWA’s National Seminar. This year at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Jaschik kicked off his roundup with  an issue that has affected many institutions around the country: sexual assault. The key to covering this story, he said, is not to imply that this is a new problem. Increased attention from the White House has challenged the ways that many colleges have addressed these incidents.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Live From Nashville: EWA’s 67th National Seminar

I’ve often made the case that there’s no reporting beat where the reporters are more collegial – or more committed to their work – than education. EWA’s 67th National Seminar, hosted by Vanderbilt University, helped to prove that point.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

As Education Debate Heats Up, Nicholas Lemann Holds the Line

Image of As Education Debate Heats Up, Nicholas Lemann Holds the Line

“I Walk the Line.” Nashville’s late, great Johnny Cash first sang that classic country anthem in 1956. This week in Tennessee’s Music City, journalists were urged to hold the line—as “the referee and truth teller in this fight we are having in education.”

The exhortation came from Nicholas Lemann, professor and dean emeritus at Columbia Journalism School, speaking at a May 18 banquet to honor winners of the 2013 National Awards for Education Reporting.

Organization

Council for Adult & Experiential Learning

The nonprofit Council for Adult & Experiential Learning, or CAEL as it is commonly called, advocates for initiatives that enable adults to earn postsecondary credentials more efficiently. They “support ways to link learning from [adults'] work and life experiences to their educational goals—so they earn their degrees and credentials faster.” CAEL’s expertise includes efforts such as prior learning assessment and competency-based education.

Key Coverage

Harvard, MIT: Despite Low Completion Rates, MOOCs Work

Long-anticipated research into massive open online courses taught by MIT and Harvard finds that, while very few participants complete these classes, many others take advantage of “substantial” amounts of the content.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Making Sense of MOOCs

With the year winding down, higher education journalists and pundits are wondering whether 2013 will be remembered as a tipping point for MOOCs – massive open online courses.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Higher Ed Beat: Ten Story Ideas on Technology and Innovation

It’s been a busy year for higher education reporters, and the New Year promises plenty of challenging — and important — stories to cover. I thought it would be a good time to revisit one of our most popular sessions from EWA’s National Seminar, held at Stanford University. Today’s guest blogger is Delece Smith-Barrow of U.S.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Higher Ed Beat: What Are the Top 10 Stories on College Campuses?

Higher Ed Beat: What Are the Top 10 Stories on College Campuses?

I’ll admit it – I look forward every fall when Scott Jaschik shares his “cheat sheet”of story ideas at EWA’s annual Higher Education Seminar.This year we met at Northeastern University, and Scott didn’t disappoint.We asked journalists who attended the seminar to contribute posts, and today’s guest blogger is Michael Vasquez of the Miami Herald.For more on higher education issues, including community colleges,

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Moving Beyond MOOCs

EWA held its annual Higher Education Seminar recently at Boston’s Northeastern University. We invited some of the education journalists in attendance to contribute posts from the sessions. Today’s guest blogger is Carl Straumsheim of Inside Higher Ed.

Is it possible that two education company executives, a researcher and a reporter could spend an hour discussing technology in higher education without mentioning massive open online courses?

Video

The 10 Higher Ed Stories You Should Be Covering This Year

The 10 Higher Ed Stories You Should Be Covering This Year

From the “gainful employment” debate to what’s next for MOOCs, Inside Higher Ed Editor Scott Jaschik offers his ideas on topics in postsecondary education that journalists should be tracking.

Video

Making the Most of Online Education

Making the Most of Online Education

Recorded at EWA’s 2013 Higher Ed seminar, “Guess Who’s Coming to Campus: What Demographic Changes Mean for Colleges and Reporters.”

Research has found that the types of students most likely to opt for online courses for reasons of access, including low-income, black and Latino students, are the same students who are least likely to succeed in those courses. What practices and programs are succeeding at beating this trend?

Podcast

Making the Most of Online Education

Research has found that the types of students most likely to opt for online courses for reasons of access, including low-income, black and Latino students, are the same students who are least likely to succeed in those courses. What practices and programs are succeeding at beating this trend? Speakers: Thomas Bailey, Director, Community College Research Center; Jay Bhatt, President and CEO, BlackBoard Inc; Bror Saxberg, Chief Learning Officer, Kaplan Inc.; Steve Kolowich, Staff Reporter, The Chronicle of Higher Education (moderator) Recorded Saturday, Sept.

Podcast

The 10 Higher Education Stories You Should Be Covering This Year

From the “gainful employment” debate to what’s next for MOOCs, Inside Higher Ed Editor Scott Jaschik offers his ideas on topics in postsecondary education that journalists should be tracking.

Recorded Friday, Sept. 27 at EWA’s 2013 Higher Ed Seminar, Guess Who’s Coming to Campus: What Demographic Changes Mean for Colleges and Reporters.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What Online Education Means for College Classrooms

What Online Education Means for College Classrooms

Early registration is now open for EWA’s 2013 Higher Education Seminar, to be held Sept.28-29 at Northeastern University in Boston.This is a journalists-only  event, and you can register and apply for a scholarship here.In the meantime, EWA’s 66th National Seminar was recently held at Stanford University, and we asked some of the education reporters attending to contribute blog posts from the sessions.Today’s guest blogger is Mary Beth Marklein of USA Today.&

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Follow-Up Friday: A Step Back for MOOCs in California

There’s been no shortage of buzz of the past year or so predicting the escalating impact of MOOCs — massive open online courses — on the delivery of higher education. That’s why the news out of San Jose State University this week is worth noting.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Thomas Friedman on Competition, Common Core, and the Surge of MOOCs

EWA’s 66th National Seminar, held at Stanford University, took place in May. We asked some of the journalists attending to contribute posts from the sessions. The majority of the content will soon be available at EdMedia Commons. Patrick O’Donnell of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is today’s guest blogger.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman doesn’t write about education, as such. He writes about power and about changes on a global level.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Will Online Khan Academy ‘Educate the World’?

EWA’s 66th National Seminar, held at Stanford University, took place earlier this month. We asked some of the journalists attending to contribute posts from the sessions. The majority of the content will soon be available at EdMedia Commons. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing a few of the posts, including the ones from our keynote sessions. Justin Pope, higher education reporter for the Associated Press, is today’s guest blogger.

Video

A Conversation with Sal Khan, Part 3

A Conversation with Sal Khan, Part 3

As the Q&A concludes, Khan fields questions on adapting lessons for an international audience, the MOOC model, and solving the problem of credentialing in online ed.

Video

A Conversation with Sal Khan, Part 2

A Conversation with Sal Khan, Part 2

During the Q&A, Khan discusses the history of distance learning, the structure and composition of his videos, and how Khan Academy is beginning to approach assessments.

Video

A Conversation with Sal Khan, Part 1

A Conversation with Sal Khan, Part 1

John Merrow of Learning Matters talks with the founder of Khan Academy about the beginnings of the online education startup.

Video

Innovation Showcase: Blended Learning Boom

Innovation Showcase: Blended Learning Boom

These interactive sessions feature reporters, analysts and educators spotlighting efforts under way to harness the power of innovation to spark new approaches to K-12 and higher education. In this session, Marcie Bober-Michel, San Diego State University, interviewed by Kyla Calvert, KPBS, about a boom in courses that blend online and face-to-face learning. Recorded May 4, 2013 at EWA’s 66th National Seminar at Stanford University.

Video

What to Make of MOOCs

What to Make of MOOCs

In less than two years, massive open online courses (MOOCs) have altered discussions about higher education reform and access. Following the announcement that a handful of the courses merit traditional college credit, MOOCs may be poised to alter students’ pathways to a diploma. Or they might be the latest example of Internet overreach. A discussion of the possibilities.

Speakers: Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed; Daphne Koller, Coursera; Bob Samuels, University Council-AFT; Cathy Sandeen, American Council on Education; Gabi Zolla, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning

Video

Top 10 Stories on Innovation in Higher Education

Top 10 Stories on Innovation in Higher Education

What are the higher education stories on innovation that reporters should be following this year? Scott Jaschik, editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed, offers his insights on what stories are worth covering in the coming months.

Video

What Online Education Means for College Classrooms

What Online Education Means for College Classrooms

The rise of online education arguably represents the first real change in centuries to how courses are taught in postsecondary education, both on and off campus. This discussion examines the potential online teaching technologies have to change how students learn—both in lecture halls and cyberspace—and how universities function.

Speakers: Claudia Dreifus, The New York Times; Sir Michael Barber, Pearson; John Mitchell, Stanford University; Mark Smith, National Education Association

Recorded May 2, 2013 at EWA’s 66th National Seminar at Stanford University.

Video

A Conversation with Thomas Friedman, Part 4: Information Overload, College Costs and Education as a Civil Right

A Conversation with Thomas Friedman, Part 4: Information Overload, College Costs and Education as a Civil Right

From the Education Writers Association 2013 National Seminar, a discussion between Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tom Friedman (New York Times) and Stephanie Banchero (Wall Street Journal). Filmed at Stanford University.

During the Q & A portion of his talk, Friedman fields questions on the pitfalls of online education, being overwhelmed by information, and how technology might offset rising tuition costs.

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A Conversation with Thomas Friedman, Part 3: Modern Career Opportunities, Fear of Technology and Reasons to Be Optimistic

A Conversation with Thomas Friedman, Part 3: Modern Career Opportunities, Fear of Technology and Reasons to Be Optimistic

From the Education Writers Association 2013 National Seminar, a discussion between Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tom Friedman (New York Times) and Stephanie Banchero (Wall Street Journal). Filmed at Stanford University.

In part 3, Friedman discusses how young people are faring in the job market and how U.S. schools compare with their international counterparts.

Video

A Conversation with Thomas Friedman, Part 2: Missing the Point on MOOCs, Cost vs. Value in Higher Ed and the ‘401(k) World’

A Conversation with Thomas Friedman, Part 2: Missing the Point on MOOCs, Cost vs. Value in Higher Ed and the ‘401(k) World’

From the Education Writers Association 2013 National Seminar, a discussion between Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tom Friedman (New York Times) and Stephanie Banchero (Wall Street Journal). Filmed at Stanford University.

In part 2, Friedman talks about the boom in Massive Open Online Courses, the role of teachers in increasingly tech-focused classrooms, and the importance of motivation in a world of defined contributions.

Video

A Conversation with Thomas Friedman, Part 1: Education as National Security and What Holds America Back

A Conversation with Thomas Friedman, Part 1: Education as National Security and What Holds America Back

From the Education Writers Association 2013 National Seminar, a discussion between Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tom Friedman (New York Times) and Stephanie Banchero (Wall Street Journal). Filmed at Stanford University.

In part 1, Friedman discusses the idea of education as an economic and national security issue.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Feds Weigh College Financial Aid for Competency Based Learning

An interesting letter went out Tuesday from the U.S. Department of Education, asking interested colleges to submit applications for approval for federal financial aid for students in programs that take into account alternative measures — and not just credit hours — in awarding degrees.

Podcast

Turning the Page on Textbooks: More Affordable Options

Plummeting prices for e-readers and tablet computers mean big changes for the textbook industry, as more students and professors clamor for digital versions of traditional paper editions. What does this shift in the publishing world mean for college costs, and how are universities getting e-textbooks into the hands of students? Panelists: Jeff Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education (moderator); Nicole Allen, U.S. PIRG; Bruce Hildebrand, Association of American Publishers; Mickey Levitan, Courseload.

Video

Can Technology Fix Higher Education?

Can Technology Fix Higher Education?

From EWA’s Nov 4-5 Higher Education Seminar at UCLA: As more students crowd classrooms, many colleges and professors are looking for new ways to use technology to make the learning experience more effective. From large-scale course redesigns to using Twitter to pass “notes” in class, what’s the impact when college courses get plugged in?

Video

EWA Interview: Kaplan CEO on Online Learning

EWA Interview: Kaplan CEO on Online Learning

Andrew Rosen, chair and CEO of Kaplan Inc., talks about the boom in online education, and reacts to increased government regulation of private-sector institutions.

Key Coverage

State Systems Go MOOC

Universities from New Mexico to New York will join Coursera in a sprawling expansion of the Silicon Valley startup’s efforts to take online education to the masses.

Report

The No Significant Difference Phenomenon

This Web site aggregates studies measuring whether online college courses are as effective as traditional ones. Despite the site’s name, the database now includes research with a range of findings, but most show that students completing online courses learn as least as much as those in a classroom.

Organization

The Sloan Consortium

Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The Sloan Consortium promotes moving online education into the mainstream. It runs three major technology conferences each year and produces reports.

Organization

Educause

Educause is one of the largest organizations devoted to supporting technology professionals in higher education. Its Center for Applied Research compiles data and issues reports on trends in technology use at colleges.

Organization

League for Innovation in Community Colleges

The League for Innovation in Community Colleges is “specifically committed to improving community colleges through innovation, experimentation, and institutional transformation.” Founded in 1968, the League played a key role in helping to increase the number of community colleges nationally during the 1970s and currently is working to help community colleges improve their graduation rates.

Key Coverage

Georgia Tech and Udacity Roll Out Massive New Low-Cost Degree Program

The Georgia Institute of Technology plans to offer a $7,000 online master’s degree to 10,000 new students over the next three years without hiring much more than a handful of new instructors. 

Report

NMC Horizon Report: Higher Education Edition

Each year this report identifies six key trends in technology in higher education and presents an analysis of their potential impacts. The 2013 edition predicts that MOOCs and tablet computing will become widespread at colleges within the next year.

Report

Campus Computing Project

This project conducts one of the largest annual surveys of higher-ed technology leaders in the United States. Among the findings in the 2012 survey was a strong skepticism of whether a new model of online education known as MOOCs, or “massive open online courses,” could offer a new model for bringing in revenue.

Key Coverage

What You Need to Know About MOOC’s

Colleges and professors have rushed to try a new form of online teaching known as MOOC’s—short for “massive open online courses.” The courses raise questions about the future of teaching, the value of a degree, and the effect technology will have on how colleges operate.

Key Coverage

Online Courses Are Second Choice for Community College Students in Some Subject Areas

The wholesale replacement of community college curriculums with online courses might not be the best idea, according to new research from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Key Coverage

Who Owns a MOOC?

At U. of California Santa Cruz, faculty leaders argue that Coursera’s deals with instructors endanger hard-won intellectual property rights.

Key Coverage

New Technologies Aim to Foil Online Course Cheating

Companies such as ProctorU are creating technology to ensure that students in online courses do not cheat when it comes to taking tests.

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The Minds Behind the MOOCs

This survey included views from more than 100 professors who were among the first to teach MOOCs, or “massive open online courses.”

Key Coverage

The Race to Fill Online Classrooms Expands Overseas

Two platforms for Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) each announced that they are expanding their reach with international partners.

Key Coverage

American Council on Education Recommends 5 MOOCs for Credit

In what could be a major step toward bridging the gap between massive open online courses and the credentialing system, the American Council on Education has endorsed five MOOCs for credit.

Key Coverage

Online Class on How to Teach Online Classes Goes Laughably Awry

In the span of a week, an online course on how to teach online courses turned into a master class in how not to.

Report

Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas

This study found that students who take more online courses are less likely to earn a degree. It is based on data from 500,000 courses taken by more than 40,000 community- and technical-college students in Washington State.

Key Coverage

The New Intelligence

Knewton says its data-rich system can read students’ minds. The company has landed Arizona State and Pearson as partners—will the rest of higher education follow?

Report

‘A Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age’

Drafted by a dozen educators brought together by MOOC pioneer Sebastian Thrun, the founder of Udacity, this document proposes a set of “inalienable rights” that the authors say students and their advocates should demand from institutions and companies that offer online courses and technology tools.

Report

Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States

This report, produced jointly by Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, offers a nationwide look at colleges’ use of online learning. It found that 32 percent of college students have taken at least one online course and that the number of online students has risen steadily for years.

Key Coverage

College of the Future Could Be Come One, Come All

The spread of MOOCs is likely to have wide fallout, potentially drawing students away from lower-tier colleges.

Key Coverage

The Siege of Academe

For years, Silicon Valley has failed to breach the walls of higher education with disruptive technology. But the tide of battle is changing.

Key Coverage

MOOC Mania

Free online courses are raising big questions about the future of higher education.

Key Coverage

Dozens of Plagiarism Incidents Are Reported in Coursera’s Free Online Courses

Students are cheating in MOOCs, even though they carry no credit.

Key Coverage

Inside the Coursera Contract: How an Upstart Company Might Profit From Free Courses

Colleges that usually move at a glacial pace are rushing into deals with the upstart company. What exactly have they signed up for

Key Coverage

The Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Learning Forever

When two computer-science professors opened their course up to the world, 160,000 people signed up

Key Coverage

Could Many Universities Follow Borders Bookstores Into Oblivion?

Two experts from Georgia Tech talk about the challenges and opportunities facing colleges at a time of economic pain and technological change

Report

Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses

Proponents of online education frequently cite this book-length report, which offers a scathing indictment of the quality of teaching at traditional colleges. The authors used a standardized test called the Collegiate Learning Assessment to compare what students knew as they entered college to their performance at the end of their second year of college, and found that 45 percent showed no significant improvement in a range of skills.

Commands