MIT’s Introductory Course about Computer Science on edX Reaches 1.2M Online Learners

The “Introduction to Computer Science using Python” course from MITx has reached 1.2 million enrollments since its launch in 2012. It has become the most popular MOOC in MIT history.

“This course is about teaching students to use computation, in this case described by Python, to build models and explore broader questions of what can be done with computation to understand the world,” explained John Guttag, MIT’s professor who co-developed this class along with Eric Grimson.

The course, derived from a campus-based and OpenCourseWare subject at MIT and now offered on the edX platform, was initially developed as a 13-week course, but in 2014 it was separated into two courses, 6.00.1x and 6.00.2x.

In 2017, MITx partnered with Silicon Valley-based San Jose City College to offer the course as part of a program for students who have not had access to a Computer Science curriculum.

“This course is designed to help students begin to think like a computer scientist,” said Grimson. “By the end of it, the student should feel very confident that given a problem, whether it’s something from work or their personal life, they could use computation to solve that problem.”

The following video with testimonials reflects the achievements from learners.



Opinion: The Time of Micro-Credentials

By Mikel Amigot

In parallel with the need for continuous learning, we need to showcase our new knowledge to employers. This is the time of digital micro-credentials.

For a fraction of the price of a classic Master’s degree, a growing number of institutions and schools are starting to offer short-form certificate programs.

These offerings are an opportunity to learn and help update specific, career-enhancing skills.

Beyond traditional colleges, Coursera, edX, Udacity and Pluralsight are convenient educational platforms to acquire micro-credentials.

To grant non-credit certificates, Coursera offers Specializations; edX, MicroMasters; Udacity, Nanodegrees; and Pluralsight, certificates of completion.

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

Learning Innovation | September 2018: MasterClass, Knewton, ASU, Google, UT Austin…

Newsletter format  |  Click here to subscribe ]

SEPTEMBER 2018  –  NEWSLETTER #15 ON LEARNING INNOVATION, which offers celebrity-taught classes, raised $80 million, after doubling sales last year.

Woz U, Steve Wozniak’s academy, successfully completes its first year.

UT Austin gets the 5th most powerful supercomputer in the world with a grant of $60 million from the National Science Foundation.

Arizona State University (ASU) Online students are using VR for their Biology class. Berkeley College and the University at Buffalo are testing VR, too.

Knewton closed another round of $25 million, which will be used to expand its adaptive learning experience into OER product line.

Lumen Learning reached a milestone of 100,000 students enrolled in its OER-supported courses.

Expert tells how to optimize Linkedin profiles for an edtech job hunt.

VitalSource acquired Acrobatiq, an adaptive learning platform that spun out of Carnegie Mellon.

General Assembly’s $1 million settlement asks: are instructors employees or contractors?

WeWork-owned Flatiron School made another acquisition: a Chicago-based design education firm.

MOOCs are no longer massive, and they serve different audiences than first imagined, says in a podcast expert Dhawal Shah.

Google is polishing its education offerings with updates to Classroom, Google Docs, virtual reality offerings, and teacher training.

Moodle announced it ended its partnership with Blackboard and would no longer allow this company using the Moodlerooms name. Blackboard reaffirmed its commitment to open source.

• Education Events Calendar by IBL News

This newsletter about learning innovation is a monthly report compiled by the IBL News journalist 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 #14 – August 2018
IBL Newsletter #13 – July 2018
IBL Newsletter #12 – June 2018
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

Anant Agarwal: How MOOCs Help the Skills Transformation Issue

Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX, has started to write a column on Forbes about the future of work and education. His first contribution explores how the skills transformation is impacting modern work and how MOOCs and online learning can solve the issue.

This is a summary of Mr. Agarwal’s main ideas:

  • “The job market is changing so rapidly that the skills needed to perform these jobs transform every few years, intensifying pressure on workers to learn continually and, in some cases, transition entirely into new and emerging fields.”


  • “Some of today’s most lucrative industries, such as data science, were invented less than 10 years ago. Advances in technology, automation, artificial intelligence and big data are revolutionizing every field and require refreshed skills at such an accelerated rate that traditional educational programs cannot keep up. Furthermore, jobs are becoming hybridized and require a mix of different skillsets.”


  • “There are more opportunities for keeping pace with skills transformation in the workplace than ever before: online and blended degree programs, coding bootcamps, online micro-credentials, massive open online courses (MOOCs) and more.”


Transferrable Learner Records on

On a separate note, although related to micro-credentials, has implemented a new feature to allow users to transfer their learner records on MicroMasters, Professional and Verified Certificate programs as a way to either pursue credit opportunities or showcase their knowledge to employers.  Accessing from the learner profile or learner’s record page is the only requirement.


ForbesHow Is The Skills Transformation Impacting Modern Work?
CNBC: How to Get Pay-Boosting Skills Without Going Broke


Overseas Freelancers Offer to Install Basic Open edX for $160

What is the minimum cost of installing a basic, by-default Open edX platform?

The lowest price is free. Bitnami and offer a pre-configured image of the platform, with the possibility of adding more features.

There are low-cost hosted services such as eduNEXT, OpenCraft and Appsembler.

And there is an increasing market of overseas freelancers who work on a very low budget. recently posted this announcement: “We want to install Open edX on our VPS in a native manner. Our VPS is running Ubuntu 16.04. Budget $30-$250”.

The request, written with some grammatical errors, was even demanding a document describing the installation process, which was described as “a bit tricky”, “with some errors”.

Over 15 developers, mostly from India and Venezuela, responded to the request, trying to be hired for the job. The average bid was $162. Many freelancers were bidding $100.





Opinion: Who Has the Time to Enroll in College Programs?

By Mikel Amigot

With the job market changing so rapidly, our current knowledge is becoming outdated more quickly.

Innovation in AI, data sciences and technology requires refreshed skills.

When you work 60 hours per week, who has the time and energy to enroll in traditional college programs?

Taking well-designed, learner-oriented online courses is the answer – throughout our lifetime.

Stanford University’s vision for Higher Education in 2025 points to an interesting model: students take a few courses to gain skills and fill a job, and later return to school to add needed skills, following a continuous cycle until retirement.

We will subscribe to college like we access Netflix or Amazon Prime.


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

United Nation’s Sustainable Development Courses on

SDG Academy, an initiative of the United Nations Sustainable Development Network (SDSN), will release 13 of their existing courses on this September, after joining the edX consortium.

These free, graduate-level courses on sustainable development address the challenge of how people, communities, governments, and companies coexist, cooperate and collaborate in order to save the planet.

Classes are taught by experts, under the leadership of Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, from Columbia University. Most of the courses start on September 10 as part of the SDG Academy Fall semester.

One of the notable courses revolves around Pope Francis’ Laudato Si encyclical. It raises the ecological crisis that humanity has created and issues a moral clarion call for urgent action to protect the earth. Its introductory video, below, is narrated by Bono. The course lasts for less than two hours.


Presentation video of the 10-week “Sustainable Food Systems: A Mediterranean Perspective” course:




Open edX | August 2018 Newsletter : Hawthorn, Jupyter Notebook, Georgia Tech, Campus-IL…

Newsletter format  |  Click here to subscribe ]

AUGUST 2018 – NEWSLETTER #8  |  More stories at



• Hawthorn.1 Is Finally Here – edX Launches Its Eighth Version of the Platform

• Open edX Hawthorn’s New Features

• Hawthorn’s New Features Reviewed by the Community



• Open IBL Jupyter Notebook: New Distribution of Open edX on AWS’ AMI Community

• The 2018 Jupyter Notebook Conference Highlighted the Success of this Tool in Education



• IBM’s Launches Two Professional Programs on

• Georgia Tech Launches a Master’s Degree for $10K on

• Op-Ed: Freshman Year Can Be Free Online For Anyone

• Two MIT Professors Recognized For Their Methods and Technologies on edX’s MOOCs



• NVIDIA Adds New Improvements to Its Open edX Training Ecosystem

• Campus-IL, Israel’s National Open edX Platform, Consolidates Its Project

• Podcast: Vermont Oxford Network (VON) Learning Platform In Depth

University at Buffalo Explores How to Incorporate Virtual Immersive Pedagogy on MOOCs


This newsletter about Open edX is a monthly report compiled by the IBL News journalist staff, in collaboration with IBL Education, a New York City-based company that builds data-driven, revenue-oriented 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. 

Newsletter #7 July 2018
Newsletter #6 June 2018
Newsletter #5 May 2018
Newsletter #4 April 2018
Newsletter #3 November 2017

Newsletter #2 Octubre 2017
Newsletter #1 Sept 2017

Read also the latest IBL Newsletter on Learning Innovation

Opinion: Knowledge with Expiration Date

By Mikel Amigot

Our technical knowledge has as an expiration date. To secure our competitive advantage, we must focus on continuous learning.

Past success doesn’t guarantee future achievement. We need to set a learning mindset and drive towards change. Market transformation is speeding up, alongside our competitors.

Experts suggest that 40-60 percent of jobs will be lost by 2030 due to automation and new technologies. And by 2020, 40 percent of the workforce will be independent contractors, according to Harry Elam, Senior Vice Provost for Education at Stanford University.

In this scenario, we are required to be life-long learners.


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

Hawthorn’s New Features Reviewed

The new Open edX Hawthorn includes many new features and updates and, three weeks after its launch, the community keeps exploring them.

Nate Aune, CEO at Appsembler, posted his discoveries on a recent post.

This is a summary:

  • More granularity on how the learner is progressing without having to rely on graded assignments. Green completion checkmarks appear in the navigation bar when a learner completes a unit. Additionally, a unit is marked as “complete” when the learner has viewed all video and HTML content and has submitted answers to all problems. This feature has to be activated through the Django admin.
  • Ability to offer both video streaming options with adaptive video streaming. Video streaming automatically adapts to the learner’s connection speed. This is especially advantageous when accessing from mobile phones which run on lower-speed internet connections
  • A new mobile app with a streamlined finding new courses and bulk downloading videos all at once features, as well as more languages.
  • Updated HTML components in Studio to give course authors easier formatting and image insertion. Texts can be aligned left or right, centered, or fully justified. Images can be added directly without uploading them beforehand; it requires to activate this feature in Django admin.
  • Improved Files & Uploads page with filters and drag and drop in the Studio CMS.
  • Weekly email message to learners listing course highlights as a way to keep them engaged. Activation of this feature requires several steps, as described in the documentation.
  • A user retirement feature to remove data in response to user requests for deletion following the European GDPR.
  • Improved learning profile page and discussion forum (with email report to users).
  • Ability to purchase all the courses in a program in one transaction, optionally with a discount.
  • Transferable student records.