Michigan Online, a New One-Stop Portal for All of the MOOCs of U-M

The University of Michigan (U-M) has launched a portal called Michigan Online. which brings together more than 120 MOOCs, teach-outs, and programs currently hosted on Coursera and edX (overall, with 7 million enrollments).

“The launch of Michigan Online will make it easier for people on and off campus to navigate the rich and growing content that is Michigan,” said James Hilton, U-M vice provost for academic innovation. “Michigan Online further extends U-M’s ability to provide high-quality learning opportunities for learners at all levels,” added James DeVaney, U-M associate vice provost for academic innovation.

  • This portal offers users a chance to browse an extensive library of online experiences developed by faculty and instructional teams.
  • Users can look for courses by subject, duration of the course and type.
  • Course and teach-out subjects include biology and life sciences, arts and humanities, social sciences, business and finance, education and teacher training, physical science and engineering, data science, computer science, health and safety, and design.

Michigan NewsOnline portal helps learners find U-M digital learning opportunities in one place

Videos and Slides of the 2018 Open edX Conference

The organizing team of the 2018 Open edX Conference in Montreal has started to post videos and slides of the sessions.

In addition, there is a post-conference survey, whose completion entitles anyone to get a 20% off of next year’s conference in San Diego (March 26-28, 2019).

Organized around the theme “Open Source is the Future of Education”, this year’s Montreal conference gathered over 300 people from six continents and 70 contributors who ran tutorials, sat on panels and delivered talks. Every keynote and breakout session was live-streamed, and those videos are now hosted on YouTube.

“As a veteran of 20 years in the technology industry, I haven’t seen a community or conference this positive and enthusiastic in a long time, and that’s due in large part to our amazing community,” summarized John Mark Walker, community manager at the edX organization.

[Disclosure: IBL Education was one of the sponsor of the 2018 Open edX Conference, along with Microsoft, Proversity, Appsembler, E-ducation, OpenCraft, RaccounGang, Arbisoft, DRC Systems, HEC ERP Sim Lab, EDUNext and Extension Engine].

Video Talk: Zvi Galil Shared Insights on Georgia Tech’s Online CS Master’s

Georgia Tech’s online master’s degree in computer science –OMSCS for short– continues its successful path, with 6,365 enrolled at the start of the Spring 2018 semester.

This first-of-its-kind program, launched in January 2014, has attracted 10,178 unique enrollments since the launch. Zvi Galil, Dean of Georgia Institute of Technology, disclosed these data during his talk at the 2018 Open edX Conference in Montreal, Canada.

During his keynote, Mr. Galil shared lessons learned running the program which was described by Harvard University researchers as “the first rigorous evidence showing an online degree program can increase educational attainment”.

The program, priced at $6,600, has also paved the way for a number of similar, MOOC-based MS programs.

Zvi Galil’s talk described the OMSCS program, how it came about, its first four years, and what Georgia Tech has learned from the OMSCS experience.

Video of the talk.

IBL Newsletter 6/14/2018: SNHU, Google Udacity, 2U, Pluralsigh, Georgia Tech…

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A Portuguese university lets students explore civil engineering structures with virtual reality as a way to better engage in their STEM careers.

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is using blockchain credentials to issue bachelors’ and associate degrees.

Google and Udacity have teamed up to offer 12 free career-oriented courses.

Walmart will allow employees to study online for free with any of these nonprofit colleges: University of Florida, Brandman University and Bellevue University.

Trilogy Education, who offers bootcamp programs to universities, has raised $50 million.

2U, with its stock soaring and earnings beating expectations, has raised another $331 million.

The number of students taking online courses is quickly rising while overall enrollment decreases. Growth is now over 17 percent.

Chegg bought a Berkeley-based AI-feedback tool startup called WriteLab for $15 million.

MissionU, which was billed as a one-year alternative to a traditional college, will cease operations after its sale to WeWork

Pluralsight raised $310 million on its first day on Nasdaq. Prior to going public, the Utah-based startup with 6,700 courses and 659,000 users, got $192.5 in venture capital.

Developers at Penn State University have created a tool to create online courses in a single browser screen, called HAX (Headless Authoring Experience).

• Georgia Tech’s online Computer Science Master’s Degree secrets were revealed by its dean (Video).

• MOOCs are not addressing the problems of education, said Columbia’s researcher Fiona Hollands (Video) .

The IBL newsletter is a topic-curated email report compiled by Michael Amigot, Founder at IBL Education, a company specialized in Open edX technology and video course production at scale. If you enjoy what you read please consider forwarding it. Click here to subscribe.

IBL Newsletter #11 – May 2018
IBL Newsletter #10 – April 2018
IBL Newsletter #9 – March 15, 2018
IBL Newsletter #8 – March 1, 2018
IBL Newsletter #7 – February 2018
IBL Newsletter #6 – January 31, 2018

IBL Newsletter #5 – January 15, 2018
IBL Newsletter #4 – December 2017
IBL Newsletter #3 – November 2017
IBL Newsletter #2 – October 2017
IBL Newsletter #1 – September 2017

Big Blue Button Improves Its Integration on the Open edX Platform

Big Blue Button, the open-source web conferencing system, presented its latest version for the Open edX platform during the 2018 Open edX Conference in Montreal, Canada.

Product Manager Fred Dixon demonstrated what integrated real-time collaboration looked like in OpenedX using Big Blue Button.

This is his talk.



Jeb Bush Advocates at CNBC the Open edX-Based Freshman Year For Free Program

Former Florida Governor and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Jeb Bush, reaffirmed in an interview with CNBC with CNBC that college is a valuable investment and primarily suggested the Open edX-based “Freshman Year for Free” program, which is a part of the New York non-profitModern States Education Alliance.[Disclosure: IBL Education developed the CLEP courses along with the Open edX platform.]

This initiative, founded by New Mountain Capital CEO Steve Klinsky and directed by former journalist David Vise, helps learners study for CLEP exams (administered by The College Board) and access college for free.

“The idea is to accelerate this and make freshman college for free as one step among many steps I think that governors can do,” said Mr. Bush. “This is a cheap date when you think about it. This is a really low-cost way to save millions of dollars for families that are struggling right now.”

It costs $85 to take a CLEP test while the average cost of a college course is $594. Modern States is also paying exam fees for the first 10,000 test takers, enabling students anywhere to earn up to a full year’s worth of credit for free.

Students can also use edX’s MicroMasters programs to take a series of series of graduate level courses with a specialized career pathway.


60,000 Registered Users on ModernStates.org

In addition to this appearance on CNBC, Jeb Bush wrote an article with Steve Klinsky on RealClearPolicy.com titled “How Governors Can Give All Students ‘Freshman Year for Free'”. These are some excerpts:

  • “If you’re a governor, state education leader or a parent looking at paying the high cost of college, this message is addressed to you.” (…) “For $85 per CLEP exam, far less than the cost of tuition for college credits, governors across the country can enable students to take a CLEP test for free and earn college credit. The fee for the exam is small compared to the $1,782 cost of a typical course at a public university, and can provide a path to higher education for thousands of students who face the choice between not going to college or taking on massive debt.” 
  • “For perspective, helping 100,000 state residents pass 100,000 course exams would only cost a state $8.5 million — a fraction of a state’s education budget — and probably save the state far more in taxpayer-subsidized alternatives or safety net programs. States could also encourage its use in high schools by including passage of Advanced Placement or CLEP exams in their high school accountability systems and providing financial incentives to school districts when students earn college credit through these and other college credit options.” 
  • “Modern States has gained more than 60,000 registered users since it launched in August 2017, and its student passing rate on CLEP exams has well exceeded the 70 percent national average. High schoolers, working parents, military personnel, and Dreamers, to name a few, are all benefitting from this innovation.”


Microsoft Has Developed 180+ Courses on edX.org, with 2.6M Learners

Microsoft has become the largest private publisher of courses on edX.org, with 180+ courses and 2.6 million learners; all of it within a period of three years.

Courses include a program in AI, and are mostly oriented toward professional development. This effort fits with Microsoft’s educational mission of democratizing learning and bringing it to the masses. From a business perspective, its main goal is to promote Azure cloud services.


Microsoft, who joined the edX consortium in 2015, claims that 10 % of the Open edX-based instances – namely, 163 – are hosted on Azure. One of its main instances is Global Knowledge, who partnered in 2017 with IBL Education to deploy its ecosystem. By the end of this year, the software corporation expects to reach 200 instances on Azure.

Additionally, the Redmond-based giant launched in April 2017 a “Learning as a Service (LaaS)” partnering program, which was introduced by three Microsoft managers during the recent 2018 Open edX conference in Montreal. This initiative is mainly based on providing partners (100 so far) with free course content, which they use to enhance their private instances.

“MOOCs Are Not Addressing the Problems of Education,” Said Columbia’s Researcher Fiona Hollands

“MOOCs are not addressing the problems of education,”  said Columbia University’s researcher Fiona Hollands during a keynote at the 2018 Open edX Conference in Montréal last week.

In her address, titled “MOOCS 2025”, she presented her most recent findings and suggested to move over the name “MOOCs” into another one, which reflects that these courses might neither be massive nor open. Some of them are: Non-formal digital learning experience” (NDLEs) , “Informal Digital Learning Experience” (IDLE), “Digital Learning Experiences” (DLE), “Alternative Credential” (AC or Alt-C), or “Voluntary Online Learning Experience” (VOLE). 

According to Fiona Hollands, these types of courses, which haven’t democratized higher education nor had the expected impact in academia, will gain credibility, be recognized by employers and completely change the way learning is delivered.

(Click on the player below to watch her talk.)

These are the keynote’s most interesting slides:

A Successful 2018 Open edX Conference in Montréal – Most Interesting Tweets

The fifth Open edX conference, which took place this week in Montréal, Canada, attracted over three hundred developers, educators and business professionals. The number of attendants was similar to last year’s conference’s in Madrid, Spain, said edX to IBL News.

The event was well organized, and participants’ feedback was positive.

Next year’s Open edX conference will be at the University of California at San Diego on March 26-28, 2019. Also, during the first quarter of 2019, the next Open edX platform version, called “Ironwood”, will be released. (It will come after “Hawthorn”, expected for this June or July).

This year’s edition in HEC Montréal University was officially opened with a keynote by Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX. He disclosed that the number of Open edX instances has grown from 800 instances in 2017 to 1,500 in 2018, with over 18,000 courses and 35 million learners.

“Open edX is the largest educational platform in the world”, he said.

Here is a selection of the most interesting tweets posted during the conference:



Agarwal: We Expect to Triple Our Global Reach to 100M Learners in 2022

The edX Inc nonprofit organization, which currently handles the edx.org portal (16 million learners, 2,000+ courses, and 130 global partners) as well as the Open edX developers’ community, expects to triple its global reach to 100 million learners in 2022.

Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX, made this prediction last Wednesday during the 2018 Open edX Conference opening keynote in Montréal, Canada.

Mr. Agarwal also disclosed that the number of Open edX instances has grown from 800 instances in 2017 to 1,500 in 2018, with over 18,000 courses and 35 million learners.

The keynote, titled “Reimagine Education Goals for 2022”available on YouTube, highlighted the goal of fully leveraging the power of digital technology for learning.

According to Mr. Agarwal, it could be accomplished through AI-powered personalized learning (e.g. HarvardX Super-Earth, Quant Methods courses), leveraging the engagement of VR and AR, and harnessing the power of networks, such as crowdsourced hinting.

Additional challenges will be based on unleashing the power of cognitive science (e.g. retrieval learning), as well as deploying deep analytics for learner engagement and platform stickiness.

Another highlighted goal was to establish lifelong learning for all by creating a community, developing a portfolio of valued as well as relevant credentials and partnering with corporations.

edX has plans to challenge its member partners to accelerate one year of Bachelor’s degrees with online credit, offer 20 percent of undergrad education to campus students fully online as well as offer both fully online and campus degrees and micro credentials at the Master’s level.

Finally, Anant Agarwal presented the goal of building a fully modular model for education.

What follows are the main slides of his presentation: