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Jump Off the Coursera Bandwagon - Commentary

By Doug Guthrie Like lemmings, too many American colleges are mindlessly rushing out to find a way to deliver online education, and more and more often they are choosing Coursera. The company, founded this year by two Stanford University computer scientists, has already enrolled more than two million students, has engaged 33 academic institutions as partners, and is offering more than 200 free massive open online courses, or MOOC's. A college's decision to jump on the Coursera bandwagon is aided—and eased—by knowing that academic heavyweights like Harvard, Stanford, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are already on board. As one college president described it to The New York Times, "You're known by your partners, and this is the College of Cardinals." In our haste to join the academic alphas, many of us are forgoing the reflection necessary to enter this new medium. Coursera and its devotees simply have it wrong. The recent history of the newspaper industry is instructive. Related:  MOOC Articles

MOOCs are Marketing Earlier this week, Georgia Tech and eleven other higher education institutions announced their participation in Coursera, a company that hosts online courses. Reactions have been predictably dramatic, as exemplified by Jordan Weissman's panegyric in the Atlantic, titled The Single Most Important Experiment in Higher Education. I'll spare observations on the obvious problems with Weissman's article, like the witless claim that lectures as web video somehow "reinvent" the lecture. Or the fact that Weissman published an article two weeks ago titled Why the Internet Isn't Going to End College As We Know It. Take this excerpt instead: The fundamental challenge for U.S. universities as they struggle to contain their costs is figuring out how to teach more students using fewer resources. This is the biggest and most insidious misconception, the one that pervades every conversation about online education. Here's one: Coursera is marketing.

» Napster, Udacity, and the Academy Clay Shirky Fifteen years ago, a research group called The Fraunhofer Institute announced a new digital format for compressing movie files. This wasn’t a terribly momentous invention, but it did have one interesting side effect: Fraunhofer also had to figure out how to compress the soundtrack. The result was the Motion Picture Experts Group Format 1, Audio Layer III, a format you know and love, though only by its acronym, MP3. The recording industry concluded this new audio format would be no threat, because quality mattered most. Who would listen to an MP3 when they could buy a better-sounding CD at the record store? If Napster had only been about free access, control of legal distribution of music would then have returned the record labels. How did the recording industry win the battle but lose the war? The story the recording industry used to tell us went something like this: “Hey kids, Alanis Morisette just recorded three kickin’ songs! But who faces that choice? But you know what?

Open Online Courses: Higher Education of the Future? - Techonomy By Eric Rabkin One instructor’s firsthand look behind the scenes of the movement offering online education to the masses. I am “teaching” a MOOC, one of those massive, open, online courses through which Coursera and, more recently, edX offer people around the globe challenging learning experiences through a simple internet connection: video mini-lectures, machine-graded problem sets in some courses, peer-evaluated essays in others, discussion boards, and more. There’s no cost or credit for the “students” yet, but could this point the way to the “schools” of the future? I would guess that in forty-two years of on-campus teaching at the University of Michigan I have worked with between 12,000 and 20,000 students. As soon as most humanities colleagues hear about this course, their first response is, “Good luck grading all those essays.” These people also educate me. I feel a genuine connection with these people as, it seems, some feel with me, just as one does in a traditional classroom.

How to Succeed in a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) by Apostolos Koutropoulos & Rebecca J. Hogue “MOOCs provide a new methodology and modality for teaching and learning. This newness does pose some problems for learners, but also provides for exciting new possibilities. MOOCs require learners to be more proactive in their education and in building their personal learning networks (PLNs). Everyone can be successful in a MOOC, provided that certain steps are taken and strategies devised before, during, and after a MOOC.” In the past couple of years, massive online open courses (MOOCs) have become a trend among many members of the educational online community. The course Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK), by Stephen Downes, has been offered at least three times since 2008, and additional MOOCs have been offered that cater to a variety of learning topics including digital storytelling, mobile learning (mLearning), learning analytics, the future of education, and instructional ideas for online success, just to name a few. The structure and design of each MOOC varies. Questions

Google's Open Course Builder: A Giant Leap into 21st Century Online Learning "Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." -- About Google Google is the most powerful nonhuman teacher ever known to actual humans. Implicitly and ceaselessly, Google performs formative assessments by collecting the following data: the content, genre and media that interests you most; when and for how long you access your external cloud brain; what your hobbies and routines are; with whom you work and communicate; who will get your November vote; and whether you prefer invigorating clean mint or enamel renewal toothpaste. By continuously refining the nuance of your sociogram, Google has already customized your next web exploration and taught itself to teach. You Are Now Entering the Learning Management System If you are an advanced geek, you will be able to author and publish your own e-learning space using Open Course Builder. With his gray beard and soothing demeanor, Senior Research Scientist Daniel M. Credit: Google

Disruptive innovation: Open online courses are changing education forever When the first movable-type printing press began churning out books in 1439, knowledge that belonged to an elite few flowed to masses of hungry learners. This year, something similar happened. Select courses taught at places like Stanford on subjects like physics were offered for free online, meaning that a level of education once available only to Ivy League-level college students is now an option in places like Pakistan, Ghana and Tibet. These courses, called Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) make education cheaper and more accessible, but some say they have potential to undermine the current profit model. "This transition to digital learning is as significant as when we first began to learn from books," said Karen Cator, director of the U.S. Office of Educational Technology. What's a MOOC? Online classes have been around for decades, providing a convenient, if rather dull, learning environment for correspondence courses and basic education. MOOC genesis MOOC credit? Higher ed in flux

Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: MOOCs Part 5 of my Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012 series The Year of the MOOC Massive Open Online Courses. MOOCs. And oh man, did we talk about it. In retrospect, it’s not surprising that 2012 was dominated by MOOCs as the trend started to really pick up in late 2011 with the huge enrollment in the three computer science courses that Stanford offered for free online during the Fall semester, along with the announcement of MITx in December. Who cares what Cormier thinks and predicts? January: Googler and Stanford professor (and professor for the university’s massive AI class) Sebastian Thrun announces he’s leaving Stanford to launch Udacity, his own online learning startup. February: MITx opens for enrollment. April: Stanford professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller (also involved with Stanford’s fall 2011 MOOCs) officially launch their online learning startup Coursera. May: June: July: August: September: October: The University of Texas system joins edX.Coursera strikes a deal with Antioch University.

What You Need to Know About MOOC's - Technology We'll be updating this page regularly.Please check back for updates. Call it the year of the mega-class. Colleges and professors have rushed to try a new form of online teaching known as MOOCs—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. Struggling to make sense of it all? If you'd like to learn more about MOOCs in a condensed format, try reading "Beyond the MOOC Hype: A Guide to Higher Education's High-Tech Disruption," a new e-book by The Chronicle's technology editor. What are MOOCs? MOOCs are classes that are taught online to large numbers of students, with minimal involvement by professors. Why all the hype? Advocates of MOOCs have big ambitions, and that makes some college leaders nervous. These are like OpenCourseWare projects, right? Sort of. So if you take tests, do you get credit? Who are the major players? edX Coursera Udacity Khan Academy Udemy May 2

Coursera Announces Details for Selling Certificates and Verifying Identities - Wired Campus How is a major provider of free online courses going to tell whether you are who you say you are? By how you type. The company, Coursera, plans to announce on Wednesday the start of a pilot project to check the identities of its students and offer “verified certificates” of completion, for a fee. A key part of that validation process will involve what Coursera officials call “keystroke biometrics”—analyzing each user’s pattern and rhythm of typing to serve as a kind of fingerprint. The company has long said that it planned to bring in revenue by charging a fee to students who complete courses and want to prove that achievement. What You Need to Know About MOOCs: A guide to The Chronicle’s coverage of massive open online courses. Coursera has decided to try to check IDs remotely, so that students can take tests from anywhere. The company’s verification system involves several steps: Can typing style serve as a reliable way to check identity? Setting the Price Ms. Return to Top

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