Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have dominated education news with a series of major announcements that might reshape higher education. Their impact led the president of Northeastern University to write an essay calling MOOCs “the end of higher education as we know it,” and after last week he just might be right. However, the news of the past few days has created uncertainty and led many inside and outside of academia to wonder what’s next, and what the future of higher education might look like.
MOOCs Move Closer to Receiving Credit
The American Council on Education agreed to review five-to-10 MOOCs offered through Coursera for inclusion in the council’s College Credit Recommendation Service. A nod from the council could clear the way for more U.S. schools to accept MOOCs for credit. The review is being funded by a nearly $900,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Part of the money will also go to assisting the council on establishing a panel of collegiate presidents to reexamine the business model of higher education by examining the potential impact and benefits of MOOCs.
Gates Foundation Awards $550,000 for Development of Remedial MOOCs
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $550,000 to nine universities and community colleges for the development of remedial and introductory level massive open online courses. The grants, which were announced in September, are part of the foundation’s long-term strategy to increase U.S. schools’ matriculation rate through technology.
Excelsior College and Three California Community Colleges Offer Credit for Professor-less MOOC
Excelsior College has partnered with San Diego City College, San Diego Miramar College, and Santa Rosa Junior College to offer credit for a professor-less, or mechanical, massive open online course (MOOC). The course, an introduction to statistics class, is being developed by the 20 Million Minds Foundation and the online learning community OpenStudy and is built around the open textbook Collaborative Statistics, by Susan Dean and Barbara Illowsky, and will provide students with free tutorial support and opportunities to demonstrate soft skills—teamwork, problem solving, and engagement skills. Students will also be able to document their progress in soft skill development through a $30 certificate that tracks their participation and progress through the course.
College of St. Scholasitca Offers Prior Learning Assessment Credit for MOOCs
The College of St. Scholastica has decided to accept massive open online courses for prior learning assessment credit. The decision is part of the Duluth, Minn.-based Catholic college’s new degree completion program.
MOOCs Move into the Classroom: edX Partners with Two Mass. Community Colleges
Massive open online course provider (MOOC) edX has partnered with Bunker Hill and MassBay community college to bring for-credit MOOCs to the classroom. The partnership, which is funded by a $1 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will start bearing fruit in 2013 when the community colleges begin adapting MIT’s introduction to computer science and programming to a hybrid course that blends edX’s game-like learning methodologies with in-class support.
Udemy Offers iPad App
Education content provider Udemy has launched an idevice app that will allow students to interact with course content on their mobile device. The design for Udemy’s 4,900 classes is very similar to a massive open online course (MOOC), although the amount of students in the class is generally less than the tens of thousands that sign up for classes through some of the most well-known providers.
Deakin University Partners with University of Catalonia to Develop MOOC Platform
To help facilitate the launch of its upcoming massive open online course, Deakin University in Australia has partnered with the University of Catalonia in Spain to develop a content delivery platform.
Cornell Considering MOOCs
A Cornell University faculty committee is considering whether or not to embrace massive open online courses (MOOCs). According to an article in the Cornell campus newspaper, the Ivy League school is weighing whether or not to adopt a go-it-alone strategy or petition to join one of the already existing MOOC providers.
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