AS MOOCs Move Mainstream Universities Must Pay to Play

Buck Goldstein, University Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of North Carolina, writes about his experience teaching a MOOC.  He is right that the bar for high quality, flashy courses through one of the big commercial platforms is going to cost both time and money.He estimates that the cost to produce his MOOC was $150,000.

His story is interesting, though I think his use if the word naive is apropos.  Entering an arena so highly hyped as MOOCs and having to have a flashy video production, is going to cost money.  I was recently in the first Moodle MOOC and they did a fine job with the course on a shoestring.  It even had live interactive sessions.

Full post is here.

Introducing Coursera Learning Hubs: Global Participation, Local Access and Support!

The Coursera Blog has an interesting post about its new experiment in MOOCs–Learning Hubs.

At Coursera, we envision a future where everyone has access to a world-class education. We strive to create and deliver experiences that break down daily barriers that stand in the way of successful learning. Today, in support of our goals, we’re delighted to announce a new initiative- Coursera Learning Hubs – that will offer people around the world physical spaces where they can access the Internet to take a Coursera course, while learning alongside peers in an interactive, facilitated setting. All for free.

Essential to this initiative are our new and future partners, international and local organizations who share our vision and can provide on-the-ground support by offering a physical space for learning, reliable Internet access, and local course facilitators. We welcome the U.S. Department of State as a major Learning Hubs partner, as well as Bluebells School International and Lady Sriram College for Women,Digital OctoberOvercoming Faith Academy Kenya (in collaboration with PiCreate and,Learning Links FoundationTAPtheTECH, and LEARN. TT and the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT). Together, these partners will bring Learning Hubs to initially more than 30 Embassies, American Spaces, campuses, and other physical locations worldwide:

Full post is here.

Coursera Learning Hubs

by DegreeofFreedom

As they describe in this press release, these new Learning Hubs “will offer people around the world physical spaces where they can access the Internet to take a Coursera course, while learning alongside peers in an interactive, facilitated setting.”  Initial partners for the program include the US Department of State, and a variety of international universities and private learning organizations.

Apparently, the program grew out of discussions with State Department personnel interested in finding an inexpensive and effective way to deliver educational programs via US embassies.  And recognizing that anywhere/anywhen online learning doesn’t have to contradict the notion of people working together in a shared space, Coursera decided to programitize the idea around three delivery models for blended learning.

These include:

  • Discussion based – Where a facilitator would manage conversation around a week’s course lectures and encourage students to continue the conversation on the Coursera discussion boards
  • Tutoring based – Where the facilitator would both lead discussion and support students on their weekly assignments
  • Project based – Where the facilitator would work with the class to come up with a set of projects students can work on independently or together to supplement regular course work

Full post here.

Georgia Tech’s New Partnership to Offer $7,000 Online Master’s Degree In Computer Science

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Georgia Institute of Technology has partnered with AT&T and MOOC start-up Udacity to offer a completely online Master’s degree in Computer Science.  That degree will cost only $7,000, rather than the $40,000 it would cost non-Gerogia residents.  It hopes to offer the degree to 10,000 students over three years and to only hire a handful of staff to facilitate the project.  Udacity staffers–called mentors–will be used to fill the gap.

The full post is here.

Who Applied to Georgia Tech’s New Master’s Program?

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Well a lot of people did. In just 20 days applications were nearly 1,000 above what they receive in a full year.

The Georgia Institute of Technology has in 20 days received almost 1,000 more applications for its low-cost online master’s degree than it does in a year for its residential program, according to data released by the university.

The 2,359 applicants are also demographically different from the students who normally apply for the residential program, which is popular among international students. About 80 of applicants for the online program come from the United States, compared to about 20 percent for the residential program. The master’s degree program in computer science is a partnership between Georgia Tech, AT&T and massive open online course provider Udacity. The degree costs only $7,000, and university officials have promised it will be as rigorous as the residential program, which can cost up to $40,000 a year.

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

Easing Into MOOCs

Easing in” is the natural approach that those behind the cutting edge should use when approaching technology and pedagogy that is called disruptive and/or innovative. Innovators do not generally have to navigate a ship though the minefields of the bleeding edge of technology. They are guiding one possible path for the ships that follow. They have to be able to pivot as the unknown plays out. Those who follow are smart to ease in and use what works and reject or tweak what does not work.

Elizabeth Clabocchi’s full blog post is over at the Sloan eLearning Landscape blog.

Advances For “Traditional” Online Learning Programs Courtesy of MOOCs

Moving away from some of the typical questions about MOOC, if they are disruptive or innovative, if there is a workable business model, what are the completion rates, etc., Shari Smith and Karen Vignare cut through to five things that are advances for “Traditional” online learning programs.  To this I might add that they are a great source of reusable learning objects for the traditional classroom and for traditional online.

Included among the five are:

  • Scalable LMS
  • Focus on the Learner
  • Creates Content Opportunities
  • The 21st Century Audit
  • Learn From All

The full blog post is over at the Sloan eLearning Landscape blog.


Forbes: Students Issue Report Card on MOOCs

by Susan Galer @

Debates on the pros and cons of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) often overlook how these online sessions fundamentally change the dynamic of learning. I’ve been writing about the emergence of MOOCs in businesses like SAPas a flexible, fast option to teach developers about the latest technologies. While online surveys have yielded a significant amount of student feedback, I decided it was time to hear first-hand from some developers who have participated in recent SAP MOOCs, including Introduction Software Development on SAP HANAand Introduction to Mobile Software Development for the Enterprise.

Brenton O’Callaghan, a United Kingdom-based consultant at Bluefin who attended the introductory SAP HANA MOOC, was struck by the richness of the shared experience that spilled over to other communities.

“People were taking the conversation to the SAP Community Network (SCN), posing course scenarios and asking questions that I knew were from the MOOC. On Twitter, they were sharing feedback about the modules, and the instructors were posting course updates. I ended up encountering people in different communities, and realizing they had been in the course too. I thought that was good because it means that anybody doing the course on their own in the future would be able to search for this information and find it in the SAP developer community.”