Global Knowledge Launches a New Hybrid Format on its Open edX Platform

Global Knowledge will launch a flexible course delivery format called “Blended Live” at the end of October 2018. This will be a hybrid model which combines the flexibility of on-demand and self-paced online learning with the physical presence and expert direction of the instructor-led training format.

“We have created a learning experience that will resonate with many in the corporate world,” explained Kevin Pawsey, Global CIO at Global Knowledge, on a blog post.

The first Blended Live courses will be amongst Global Knowledge’s most popular subjects: Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices, Cybersecurity Foundations, and Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions.

Global Knowledge’s online platform includes the Open edX codebase and has been developed in partnership with IBL Education.


Opinion: Why is Blockchain So Important? A 1-Min Reading for Beginners

By Mikel Amigot

It’s not just a buzzword. Blockchain is a true technological advancement that will transform the financial, medical, legal, and software services industries.

This week I attended the 2018 Finovate conference in New York and noticed how many high-profile banking and supply-chain executives were paying extreme attention.

For sure, blockchain-based networks, decentralized apps, and distributed ledgers are quietly changing the world. When the concept was introduced in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto, an unknown person or people who later developed the bitcoin digital currency, no one predicted this upcoming revolution.

Why is this so relevant?

A blockchain is a secure and distributed database, which maintains a growing list of ordered and encrypted records, called blocks. Each block has a link to a previous block, a timestamp –the date and time when the record was created– and the history of every file. Users can only edit the parts of the encrypted blocks that they “own”, as they possess the needed, cryptographically created private keys to write to it (obviously, these private keys, which are a few lines of data, can be stolen; but also they can be secured at almost no expense).

In addition to this immutable ledger that the network maintains, a blockchain has another primary component: a decentralized, autonomously managed, peer-to-peer network. This makes blockchain excellent for recording every digital transaction, exchange of goods and services, medical records, contracts, electoral voting, identity management, and private data. Naturally, it opens the possibility of mass disintermediation of transaction and trade processing, eliminating any “middleman”. Also, the usefulness of blockchain extends to storing any kind of digital information, including software.

In other words, it’s a new Internet of value, a transformative technology of the second digital age.

[Disclosure: at IBL we are creating self-paced and adaptive Blockchain for Business courses for organizations]

        Mikel Amigot is the Founder of IBL News and IBL Education (Open edX)         

edX Recommends Upgrading its Open edX Platform to Hawthorn.2

edX engineers released this week a new release of Hawthorn, Hawthorn.2.

This new version of the Open edX platform includes “a few changes and security fixes”, according to Ned Batchelder, an edX architect.

“If you are running Hawthorn, we recommend updating to open-release/hawthorn.2,” he added.

These are the commits in hawthorn.2 since hawthorn.1:
—- ./edx-platform —-

 58d2ac8c92 2018-09-10 (tag: open-release/hawthorn.2, origin/open-release/hawthorn.master, open-release/hawthorn.master) Edit test value to be valid URL format Farhanah Sheets
 24f6faf5d8 2018-09-10 Bump RecommenderXBlock version Farhanah Sheets
 55a3d659ae 2018-09-07 Merge pull request #18901 from edx/pwnage101/cherry-pick-un-deletion-mgmt-command-gdpr-plat-2308 Ned Batchelder
 1a66c1542d 2018-09-06 undo a hand-modification performed as part of a previous cherry-pick Troy Sankey
 313be9b2ab 2018-07-30 Mgmt command to cancel user retirement request. John Eskew
 715b8d31ac 2018-07-18 Adding user_api call to get retirements by date range and current state bmedx
 99a0c368e5 2018-07-13 PLAT-2186 – allow retirement states to be forced by driver script bmedx
 32965363db 2018-07-10 PLAT-2217 – fix partner reporting queue 500 errors, reduce log spam bmedx
 6090357434 2018-09-06 Merge pull request #18892 from edx/pwnage101/cherry-pick-duplicate-username-prevention-gdpr Ned Batchelder
 e524783585 2018-08-20 Update bulk_rehash_retired_usernames bmedx
 c89d08c9cf 2018-08-14 Fix failures due to creating users during initial migrations bmedx
 82d10a0bcc 2018-08-08 Upgrade user-util to 0.1.5 bmedx
 73885529fd 2018-08-10 Stop acct creation from using usernames still in the retirement queue bmedx
 f9fb87d0de 2018-08-08 Update retirement to handle multiple UserRetirementStatus rows returned bmedx
 d6ea0e2cc0 2018-08-10 Add forums renaming to bulk username rehash command bmedx
 1107961895 2018-08-08 Bulk rehashing of retired usernames bmedx
 f81015d052 2018-09-05 Merge pull request #18893 from edx/fsheets/hawthorn-cherrypick Ned Batchelder
 fbf905c161 2018-08-22 Update recommender-xblock version Farhanah Sheets
 5f7e32da8d 2018-08-22 Merge pull request #18820 from edx/mroytman/remove-edit-image-modal-waffle-flag Ned Batchelder
 7447baed62 2018-08-16 remove enable_edit_image_modal waffle flag Michael Roytman
—- ./cs_comments_service —-
 1ad615b 2018-09-05 (HEAD -> open-release/hawthorn.master, tag: open-release/hawthorn.2, origin/open-release/hawthorn.master) NewRelic as optional dependency Beltran Rueda

Free Online Content from Harvard Faculty on edX to Enrich Classroom Experiences

Harvard University’s cutting-edge and free 100 courses on –covering topics from calculus and climate change to Shakespeare and Stravinsky– are a good tool to enrich a face-to-face classroom experience and enhance professional development-oriented skills.

HarvardX has suggested four approaches:

  1. Use online courses to deepen your content knowledge and learn new teaching strategies. For example, the course CS50x: Introduction to Computer Science includes new and effective instructional strategies.
  2. Allow students to virtually interact with other course participants, so they can learn the views of other people and collaborate with them.  In the Practical Improvement Science in Health Care course, students feel connected and realize that others around the U.S. are on a similar journey and their voices matter.
  3. Enroll and connect with a global community of teachers. Leaders of Learning, a course which examines theories of education and leadership, allows for this kind of collaboration.
  4. Earn certificates of participation that can be used to apply for professional development credit at the state or school district levels. This page details how to work with continuing education credits.

Anant Agarwal Wins the Yidan Prize for His Work with the edX Platform

The Yidan Prize Foundation granted this month the 2018 Yidan Prize for Education Development to edX CEO, Anant Agarwal. Mr. Agarwal was recognized for making education more accessible to people around the world via the edX online platform.

The Yidan Prize judging panel, led by former Director-General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura, invested six months to consider over 1,000 nominations spanning 92 countries.

Simultaneously, Larry V. Hedges of Northwestern University received the Yidan Prize for Education Research for his groundbreaking statistical methods for meta-analysis.

Founded in 2016 by Charles Chen Yidan, the Yidan Prize aims to create a better world through education.

The Yidan Prize for Education Research and the Yidan Prize for Education Development will be awarded in Hong Kong on December 10, 2018, by Mrs. Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-Ngor, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Following the ceremony, the laureates will be joined by about 350 practitioners, researchers, policymakers, business leaders, philanthropists, and global leaders in education to launch the 2018 edition of the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI), the first comprehensive index to evaluate inputs into education systems rather than outputs, such as test scores.

Dorothy K. Gordon, chair of UNESCO IFAP and head of the judging panel, commended Professor Agarwal for his work behind the MOOC  movement. “EdX gives people the tools to decide where to learn, how to learn, and what to learn. It brings education into the sharing economy, enabling access for people who were previously excluded from the traditional system of education because of financial, geographic, or social constraints. It is the ultimate disrupter with the ability to reach every corner of the world that is internet enabled, decentralizing and democratizing education.’

Vice President for Open Learning Sanjay Sarma praised edX for creating a platform “where learners from all over the world can access high-quality education and also for enabling MIT faculty and other edX university partners to rethink how digital technologies can enhance on-campus education by providing a platform that empowers researchers to advance the understanding of teaching through online learning.”

In the past six years, edX built a community of over 17 million learners from around the world; partnered with more than 130 prestigious universities, institutions and corporations; and continues to make the edX platform available for free as the Open edX open source software.

The Open edX platform has been adopted by 1600 sites, where over 20 million additional people learn every day.




Opinion: A Surprisingly Powerful Teaching Tool

By Mikel Amigot

Jupyter Notebook is a surprisingly powerful teaching tool.

If you are an educator, engineer or scientist and haven’t heard about Jupyter, you should take the time to learn about it.

Tim O’Reilly said that Jupyter is “the next big thing.”

This technology has received the 2017 ACM Software System Award.

Essentially, Jupyter Notebook is an open-source web application to create and share documents with live code, equations, visualizations, and text.

Currently, it is mostly used for Data Science and Machine Learning, but it goes far beyond. Its tools are easily extensible – e.g., you can play mp4 movie files.

In education, Jupyter opens a new pedagogical model. It is also a new genre of OER.


        Mikel Amigot is the Founder of IBL News and IBL Education (Open edX)         

FUN Open edX Platform’s Revenue Streams to Achieve Financial Sustainability

With over 1.4 million users and 426 MOOCs from 112 different institutions, France Université Numerique (FUN) Open edX-based platform is an example of how to achieve a financial sustainability. has detailed FUN’s five revenue streams:

  1. Public Funding. As an initiative of the French Ministry of Higher Education, FUN receives from the Government half of its €2.5 million annual budget every year.
  2. Fees from members and non-members. Similar to consortium, academic and non-profit organizations pay €4,500 for the first edition of the course, with a discount of 20 % for subsequent runs.
  3. Licensing of content through different platforms, such as FUN Campus (15 universities and 50 courses) and FUN Corporate. Both charge fee for the use of the courses and for access to user data.
  4. White label platforms and private courses through branded platforms for professional associations, government agencies, national governments and even universities (i.e. in Morocco and Côte d’Ivoire). Other examples are a platform for French public servants, professional training in Luxembourg, and the nuclear power industry.
  5. User fees. Some courses charge a small fee to students who wish to earn a certificate.



Berkeley Adds Another Blockchain Course on edX

Understanding the blockchain technology and how it has started to transform many industries is critical. Following this trend, the edX platform is adding another course this month.

UC Berkeley is launching this September 29 a course developed by faculty from its Computer Science department. The course titled Blockchain Technology will provide for six weeks a wide overview of many topics related to this space, including the foundation of Bitcoin.

Taught by Rustie Lin and Nadir Akhtar, instructors at Berkeley this open course will also explore enterprise blockchain implementations in JP Morgan’s Quorum, Ripple, Tendermint, and HyperLedger.

Currently, the main blockchain courses on edX have been produced by the Linux Foundation.

TU Delft Reaches the Two Million Learners Milestone

Dutch university TU Delft, with an offer of 88 MOOCs on edX, announced that it attracted two million registrations.

The “Solar Energy” course is the most successful one, with 206,000 registrations, followed by “Data Analysis” (162,000), and “Solving Complex Problems” (152,000).

In July 2016, TU Delft reached the million learners milestone.

“The experience that TU Delft is gaining from the MOOCs serves as a springboard for other types of innovative education for a range of target groups,” the university explained. The most important programs are on the professional certificate field, especially with subjects such as electric cars, railway engineering, design in health and leadership for engineers.

The 2018 Best edX Instructors

Who are the most engaging and innovative instructors in the community?

The edX University Advisory Board has selected the following ten, who represent a diverse range of disciplines – from computer science and business to literature, psychology or life sciences:

This November in Boston during the Global Forum, edX will select a winner the for 3rd annual Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning award.

With this award, “edX celebrates the contributions and innovations of MOOC teachers in the edX community, and amplifies the powerful role that MOOCs play in the transformation of education today,” said Nina Huntemann, Director of Academics and Research at edX.

In 2017, the winners were professors Andrew Howells and Bernadette Drabsch, from the University of Newcastle in Australia, for their course, Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101.