A Community College Issues 1,479 Blockchain-Based Certificates

Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) has become the first community college in the U.S. to issue student-owned digital diplomas through Blockchain technology. So far, CNM has issued 1,479 Blockchain-based certificates. A total of 356 of them have been shared on Linkedin.

“It is a very powerful tool for our students,” Dr. Tobe Phelps, CTO at this community college, explained in a conversation with IBL News last Monday.

CNM’s innovation in this field has been driven by the goal to “convert college-owned technology to student-owned technology,” added Mr. Phelps.

In August 2017,  this institution joined the Blockcert pilot with MIT, and in November 2017 successfully issued the first certificates for their deep dive coding camp. Less than a year later, in August 2018 CNM announced that all of their graduates would receive optional diplomas.

Additionally, this community college recently entered into a partnership agreement and started the development of a blockchain education ecosystem, which includes higher-ed institutions, students, employers, as well as government agencies and other community members.

[Dr. Tobe Phelps pictured above during his talk at the Innovation Conference in New York on Monday, showing some of the issued blockcerts certificates.]

Ten Effective Marketing Ideas to Promote Your Online Course or Degree

By Mikel Amigot

Increasing enrollment in online programs and degrees is becoming progressively more complicated in 2019.

Based on our experience serving a number of schools and universities, these are our ten most effective marketing ideas:

  • Video advertisements on YouTube, Twitter, Linkedin, and third party websites. Experts say that 65% of the population learns better by interacting with video rather than reading.


  • A mobile-friendly, quality-content and SEO-driven Website. Over 60% of all traffic comes from mobile devices. Around 93% of people use a search engine to begin navigation.


  • Content stories and Ads on Social Media. More than a billion people use these channels.


  • Google AdWords and banner advertisements in high traffic websites pointing to personalized, segmented landing web pages.


  • On-demand and interactive live lectures conducted by experts and top professors, along with a well-crafted email marketing strategy.


  • Testimonials and high-profile endorsements of the courses, programs, and degrees. This includes utilizing famous alumni.


  • Relevant blog posts, written by instructors, learners, and guests.


  • Promotional, rich in content articles, TV and radio reports, through a media-driven, non-stop PR campaign.


  • An iOS and Android app which includes all of the content functionalities and request-info features of the course, program or degree program.


  • Automated marketing strategy for some content on the website, linked to a CRM, such as Hubspot or Marketo. This allows gather important information on prospective students and utilize automatic follow-ups to remind them about your offers. Also, we suggest having a proactive call center strategy in order to ensure that prospective students speak with representatives and clarify their questions and ensure their investment in your program.


Open edX | March 2019: Upcoming Conference, MIT, Jupyter, Edraak…

Newsletter format  |  Click here to subscribe ]


FEBRUARY – MARCH 2018 – NEWSLETTER #14  |  More breaking news at IBL News 



• Open edX Conference’s Schedule: 10 Key Sessions

• Ten 5-Min Talks of Open edX Vendors to Attend

• Ironwood, The Latest Open edX Version, To Be Released Soon



• ​An Open Book to Empower Using Jupyter for Teaching

• Edraak Launches its School Learning for K-12 Children in the Arab World

• EdCast Acquires Leapest, a European B2B Training Specialist



• A MOOC to Deal with a Post-Truth World Developed by SUNY​

• Dr. Chuck’s MOOC on Python Is Now Also on edX.org

• Looking for the Right Name for the MOOC-based Degrees



• MITx Granted 1,277 Credentials on its Supply Chain MicroMasters

• MIT Issues 2,000 Blockchain-Based Certificates

• A Free MIT Course for Practitioners on Competency-Based Education



Education Calendar 2019  –    FEB  |  MARCH  |  APRIL   |  MAY   |  JUNE – DEC 2019


This newsletter about Open edX is a monthly report compiled by the IBL News staff, in collaboration with IBL Education, a New York City-based company that builds AI analytics-driven, revenue-oriented learning ecosystems, and courses with Open edX and other educational software. 

Read the latest IBL Newsletter on Learning Innovation  |  Archive of Open edX Newsletters

A MOOC to Deal with a Post-Truth World Developed by SUNY

We live in a post-truth world where factual information has been displaced by subjective and biased viewpoints.

SUNY Albany and Empire State College have created a MOOC to help learners recognize their own biases and identify preconceptions in today’s social information environment.

“Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World” is a three-hour open, free course, taught by eight top instructors from SUNY, starting on March 18.

This MOOC is hosted at The University at Buffalo’s platform, and runs on an independent Open edX-based ecosystem, empowered by IBL Education.

Ten 5-Min Talks of Open edX Vendors to Attend

Thirty-six speakers will perform on five rounds of Lighting Talks that will take place in the 2019 Open edX Conference, hosted by UC San Diego, March 26 – 29.

The edX organization has chosen, following its own criteria, twenty-eight 5-minute duration talks, which will be spread into five different rooms from 2 pm to 3 pm on Thursday 28. Most of the speakers belong to vendor companies that specialize in the Open edX software.

Here is the complete list of talks.

This is a selection of the ten must-attended talks, according to IBL News’ editorial staff:


The OPM Market Will Grow Until $7.7B by 2025

The Online Program Manager (OPM) business, with 60+ providers in a $3B+ market growing at 17%, will reach $7.7B by 2025, according to research by HolonIQ. Increased interest from learners, more offerings from colleges, and wider acceptance from employers will boost this growth.

OPM operators –which are dedicated to helping universities build, recruit for and deliver digital programs– have realized that online degrees are one of the fastest growing areas of higher education.

Revenue sharing is the dominant model in this industry but a fee for service, unbundled and hybrid relationships are growing fast.

Over six million students worldwide pursue higher education online, representing a $30B market today. In the US, online students make up only 15% of all higher education enrollments, while in China it is 10%.

The top 10 OPM players make up over half of global revenue. The US is the largest market by far, and VCs are very active. As recent transactions, we’ve recently seen how 2U invested in Keypath, Wiley acquired Learning House, Seek acquired OES, Grand Canyon spun out and acquired Orbis, Emeritus raised $40 million.

One of the main uncertainties is whether universities will embrace the OPM model and continue to outsource capabilities, or whether they will seek to build them in-house.

The Anatomy of an OPM – PDF by Holon IQ

An Open Book to Empower Using Jupyter for Teaching

A well-elaborated handbook for teaching and learning with Jupyter saw the light this month. It is a first draft that aims to provide an entry point and a broad overview of Jupyter in education.

Coordinated by Prof. Lorena A. Barba, from The George Washington University, this handbook is intended for any educator teaching a topic that includes data analysis or computation.

“It is not just for educators teaching courses in engineering or science, but also data journalism, business, and quantitative economics, data-based decision sciences and policy, quantitative health sciences, and digital humanities,” say the authors of this open book.

Jupyter Notebook has exploded in popularity in the last four years as the favorite environment for data science. It has also grown as a platform to use in the classroom, to develop teaching materials, to share lessons and tutorials, and to create computational stories. Prof. Lorena A. Barba has been the main driver in the Jupyter for Education movement. Her courses at The George Washington University Engineering MOOC Open edX platform are a good example of Jupyter use.

Notebooks are documents containing text narratives with images and math, combined with executable code (many languages are supported) and the output of that code. This marriage of content and code makes for a powerful new form of data-based communication.




EdCast Acquires Leapest, a European B2B Training Specialist

EdCast, whose corporate LMS is powered by Open edX, announced this month the acquisition of Leapest, a 2017-created, Netherlands-based learning marketplace that offers courses, certifications, and training programs to 1,600 business customers. The amount of the transaction has not been disclosed.

The CEO and Founder of Leapest, Sukhbir Jasuja, will be joining EdCast as its Executive Vice President and Managing Director of EdCast’s Blended Learning Marketplace.

“This acquisition will accelerate EdCast’s rapid growth in Europe and expand the company’s blended learning capabilities. With this step, EdCast also builds upon its success with ContentExchange, the global learning content marketplace focused on workforce upskilling,” said Karl Mehta, CEO, and founder of EdCast.

“This acquisition demonstrates how the LXP market is growing up. By acquiring Leapest, EdCast becomes both an LXP and a true content network, adding LMS features as well. This changes the game and has the potential to add tremendous new value for corporate training buyers,” Global industry analyst Josh Bersin stated.


The OMSCS Degree Will Graduate 1,500 Students Per Year in 2021

Georgia Tech’s iconic Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS) will result in 1,500 graduates per year in two-to-three years, as predicted on Friday at a conference in Princeton University by Zvi Galil, Dean of the Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing. This growth (see the graphic below) reflects the success of this program.

Around 1,000 students will be graduating in 2019 with the OMSCS, the world’s first accredited MOOCs, now on their fifth year.

Zvi Galil’s OMSCS lecture at Princeton–its 62nd talk–attracted dozens of students, including six enrollees in that Master’s as well as Mark Braunstein, who teaches Health Informatics. [In the picture above].

The talk will be posted by Princeton and IBL News by the end of the month.

The OMSCS, hosted on Udacity, inspired Georgia Tech to launch another two Master’s: the OMS Analytics and the OMS Cybersecurity, both in  edX.org.

• Georgia TechFive Years a Cyber Pioneer
• IBL News: 45 MOOC-Based Master’s Degrees Worldwide

MIT Issues 2,000 Blockchain-Based Certificates

MIT has issued over 2,000 blockchain-based credentials so far, becoming the first top U.S. university to extensively use this type of virtual credentials, IBL News learnt.

With the blockchain technology, students have ownership of their records and are able to share them in a secure manner.

“Ed credentialing on blockchain allows students to share their diplomas with employees easily and instantly,” explained Mary Callahan, Registrar and Senior Associate Dean at MIT, at the Learn Launch conference last week in Boston. “It is a valid way to authenticate their diplomas,” she added.

At a global scale, there is an issue with massive circulation of fake degrees. This affects prestigious universities and corporations. For example, IBM has detected that 20% of certificates with their name are fake. David Leaser, Senior Executive at IBM, mentioned this data during a talk at the same conference.

MIT’s initiative with blockchain certificates started in the summer of 2017, as part of a pilot program promoted by its Registrar’s Office and Learning Machine.

A cohort of 111 graduates became the first to have the option to receive their diplomas on their smartphones via an app, in addition to the traditional format.

The institute developed Blockcerts, an open-source standard for creating, issuing, viewing, and verifying blockchain-based certificates. The code is available on GitHub.

• IBL News (Oct 2017): MIT Successfully Starts to Use Blockchain Technology to Issue Digital Certificates