Learning Innovation | November 2018: Coursera, Udacity, Facebook, Linkedin Learning, Bloomberg…

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Michael Bloomberg will donate $1.8 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins. This private donation, the largest ever to any educational institution, will allow this university to offer free scholarships.

Udacity is increasing again the pricing of Nanodegrees, according to Class Central. For example, Blockchain Developer is jumping from $999 to $1998.

MOOCs must overcome four challenges to survive: low completion rates, high cheating rates, lack of awareness about their existence, and unsustainable revenue models. Prof. Ignacio Despujol, an expert on MOOCs, gave an interesting talk about it.


Online degrees are under intense scrutiny. Georgia Tech’s model is an example to follow. An excellent analysis by Manoel Cortes, a software engineer, and online student.

• e-Literate has posted a view of the 30 largest online enrollments systems in the U.S., with LMS usage and trends since 2012

The online degree market is entering an era characterized by a growing overlap with non-degree learning, MOOC-based degrees, and consumer preferences –analyzes Sean Gallagher in edSurge.

Non-degree online courses and programs are slowly remaking the online degree market, with their career advancement – oriented modular and flexible credentials.


Coursera is preparing 100 new courses and 20 Specializations in Spanish. This catalog will include topics like artificial intelligence, web development, data analysis and more.

Coursera’s co-founder Andrew Ng will teach, in early 2019, “AI for Everyone”, a non-technical course on artificial intelligence.

• Microsoft Launches a Series of 10 Courses about Cybersecurity on edX.org


Facebook has launched a free, open educational platform, which offers training in digital marketing and other career-focused skills. So far this site includes 13 ultra-short courses.

• LinkedIn Learning is expanding its content library with five new partners, including Harvard Business Publishing.


Arizona State University (ASU) is going all in with adaptive and active learning – based degree programs after succeeding with several programs.

Gartner has come out with the top tech trends for 2019


• Education Calendar by IBL News

This newsletter about learning innovation is a monthly report compiled by the IBL News journalism staff, in collaboration with IBL Education, a New York City-based company that builds data-driven learning ecosystems and courses with Open edX. If you enjoy what you read please consider forwarding it to spread the word. Click here to subscribe. 

IBL Newsletter #16 – October 2018

Microsoft Launches a Series of 10 Courses about Cybersecurity on edX.org

Microsoft has introduced a free 10-course professional program on Cybersecurity, intended to help identify threats early on and minimize the impact of breaches.

Each course requires 8 to 12 hours of study time, and will run for three months, starting at the beginning of each quarter – in January, April, July and October 2019.

However, the first course, Enterprise Security Fundamentals, is already available.

The program, which includes short video lessons, labs, quizzes and community interaction, is hosted on edX.org. The cost is $99 per course if the student pursues a “verified certificate”.

  1. Enterprise Security Fundamentals
  2. Threat Detection: Planning for a Secure Enterprise
  3. Planning a Security Incident Response
  4. PowerShell Security Best Practices
  5. Managing Identity
  6. Security in Office 365; Securing Data in Azure and SQL Server; or Microsoft SharePoint 2016: Authentication and Security
  7. Windows 10 Security Features
  8. Windows Server 2016 Security Features
  9. Microsoft Azure Security Services
  10. Microsoft Professional Capstone on Cybersecurity


Three Professors from Queensland University Awarded with the 2018 edX Prize

The University of Queensland’s Professors Blake McKimmie, Barbara Masser and Mark Horswill, who taught the course, “The Psychology of Criminal Justice”, received the 2018 edX Prize for their contributions in online teaching and learning, as well as a commitment to open education. The award was presented this Friday, November 16, during the edX Global Forum conference in Boston.

“The Psychology of Criminal Justice is a thrilling and engaging look at the psychological elements of the crime and criminal justice set against the backdrop of a hypothetical murder. Its incredibly innovative use of realistic drama combined with novel assessments to reinforce the course content,” explained Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX.

This “must take” self-paced, free course has been running on edX.org since 2014.

The edX Prize nominated ten finalists in September.




Another announcement made during the conference was that the 2019 Global Forum will be held at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), in South China.

Reach of the edX.org and Open edX Platform In Numbers

EdX has attracted 40,000 credit-elegible learners, according to the data disclosed yesterday at the 2018 Global Forum Event in Boston.

Overall, the number of learners has jumped to 18 million, while there are 2,400 courses included in the platform.

Nine fully online Master’s degrees, 14 new MicroMasters, and 54 professional certificate programs have been launched in the last year.

The numbers about the Open edX platform reflect that this open source, community-based initiative shows a wider reach than the edX.org project.

  • 21 million learners
  • 25,000+ courses in 34 languages
  • 1,800 instances, or Open edX-based projects, spread across 70 countries



NYU, Western Governors and HEC Montreal Join the edX Consortium

The edX organization announced yesterday that NYU, Western Governors University and HEC Montreal have joined its consortium.

The announcement was made by edX’s CEO, Anant Agarwal [in the picture], during the edX Global Forum event in Boston, MA.

In addition to those universities, edX has attracted other private and public institutions as partners, such as:

  • AfghanX (Afghanistan)
  • Logyca (Colombia)
  • BrainLab (Hong Kong)
  • Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (Morocco)
  • Universidad del Rosario (Argentina)
  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University (Qatar)

In the last year, other organizations who joined edX, and whose courses have been publicized, are Indiana University, IBM, AWS and SGA Academy.

In total, edX has over 130 partners.


Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) will start a Professional Certificate program called Solar Energy in Hot Desert Climates in January 7, 2019. It will consists of two courses: Solar Resource Assessment in Desert Climates and Using Photovoltaic Technology in Desert Climates.

EdX Studies the Viability of the MicroBachelors New Credential

edX Inc. continues analyzing the viability of launching stackable, customizable MicroBachelors’ degrees, which could be priced at $10,000.

Anant Agarwal, CEO at the organization, spoke recently about it in a conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to the South China Morning Post newspaper.

This is not the first time edX considers this credential, which, if successful, would be adopted by multiple universities. On January 26, IBL News reported about this idea, after the edX organization received a $700,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation.

“Education in five to ten years will become modular, omnichannel, and lifelong. We are going to make it so,” said Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, during a higher-education innovation summit hosted by the U.S. Department of Education.

“We will launch MicroBachelors within the next year or two and do the same modularization with the bachelor’s degree,” he said. “We’ve already launched Global Freshman Academy with ASU, that is a precursor to the MicroBachelors.”

The MicroBachelors project mirrors the MicroMasters’ initiative. The course content would be accessible for free, and the learner would pay only for certificates and assessments, according to edX’s new policy (which will be implemented in December). Later, students could convert their credit into undergraduate degrees. The idea follows Anant Agarwal’s view of education as a lego.

edX CEO’s strategy will be shared this week, during the edX Global Forum Conference, which will take place this Thursday and Friday in Boston, MA.

LinkedIn Learning Expands Its Content Library

LinkedIn Learning will let companies and colleges add content, following its goal of becoming the front door for employees looking for professional development-oriented courses.

So far the Microsoft-owned platform plans to work with five partners:

“We’re creating a single place for your employees to discover and access all of your organization’s learning content,” LinkedIn announced on Friday. “We will be adding additional integration partners in the future, and plan to make the integrations available on the platform next year.”

Similar destinations for enterprise learners who compete with LinkedIn Learning include Coursera, edX.org, Udacity and Pluralsight.

MITx Displays Videos from Courses on edX on Its New YouTube Channel

MITx has launched its YouTube channel as a way to offer a taste of their courses and videos on edX.org.

All of the courses are developed and taught by faculty from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“Whether you’re looking to further your career, get ahead in school, or just enjoy learning something new – we’ve got a course for you,” says MITx on its YouTube channel, while encouraging learners to enroll at its edX page.


A Course from Imperial College on edX to Help Investors Understand Climate Risk

Global warming is changing the landscape for investing. Because of it, investors are facing serious risks and opportunities. What do investment industry leaders and scientific researchers say about it?

To answer these questions, Imperial College London has issued a free 4-week / 20-hour, self-paced course on edX.org, intended for professionals working in financial markets, titled “Climate Change: Financial Risks and Opportunities”.

The course is taught by Dr. Charles DonovanDirector of the Centre for Climate Finance and Investment of Imperial College Business School. “As global warming becomes a more urgent challenge for countries around the world, there’s a growing need for investment managers to understand the investment implications of climate change,” explained Dr. Donovan.

Participants will learn about emerging trends in climate-resilient investing and gain insights into potential winners and losers in the ongoing energy transition. The course is taught via curated reading materials, video lectures from Imperial academics and practitioner interviews, and interactive exercises.

“The dramatic fall in costs of solar and wind power in recent years is unleashing a wave of innovation in the global power sector.  While much of the discussion about climate change focus on risks, the investment opportunities of a low-carbon energy shift are massive – if investors know how to seize them,” said David Scaysbrook, Managing Partner of Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners.

The course addresses an important knowledge gap within firms who are struggling to respond to recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which asks companies to disclose the climate risks they currently face.


Four Keynote Speakers Will Explore Collaborative Learning at the 2019 Open edX Conference

edX has determined the keynote speakers for the 2019 Open edX Conference, which will take place on March 26-29 in San Diego, California.

The conference will explore “new research in online learning, better approaches to collaborative learning and technologies that support it,” according to the organizers.

  • Dr. Candace Thille, Director of Learning Science at Amazon, and Associate Professor at Stanford University 
  • Jamie Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Linux Foundation
  • Dean Baker, Co-Founder and Senior Economist, CEPR
  • Walter Bender, Chief Learning Architect, Sorcero 



edX Official Announcement

Conference Sponsor Prospectus

IBL News Events Calendar