Michael Crow Gets a $30 Million Gift from State Farm to Fund a Workforce Development Program at ASU

IBL News | New York

State Farm is teaming with Arizona State University (ASU) to launch an online educational and career development program called Pathways for the Future. To fund the program and scholarships, the insurance giant is providing ASU with a $30 million contribution.

Officials from both organizations announced the public-private partnership initiative on Tuesday on the ASU campus, in Tempe, Arizona.

The program, reflected on a new website, has four components: an online academic program, financial support, tools for success and career coaching.

Students start by earning online credits in one of three academic tracks: STEM, business leadership, or humanities and social sciences. These tracks will lead to an associate degree, undergraduate degree or undergraduate certificate. Typically, a three-credit online course would cost approximately $1,500.

For the university, one goal of the program is to increase degree completion by preparing students to enroll in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, the W. P. Carey School of Business, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and other units across ASU.

The program targets four groups:

  • High School Students
  • Maricopa County Community College Students
  • Arizona State University Students
  • Employees, already in the workforce, wanting to learn new skills, including State Farm employees

“Here we have a company that’s thinking differently; this investment is looking at each aspect of what we do: Let’s eliminate the financial barrier; let’s build some tools that help us to greatly accelerate who goes to college,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow [In the picture, on the right]. “It’s not only about money but it’s about ways to overcome barriers.”

“Today represents a new milestone in our relationship with ASU and builds on our corporate commitment to prepare not only for what’s coming but for what is already happening,” said State Farm Chairman and CEO, Michael Tipsord. “We look forward to growing this commitment with ASU and working together to build the workforce of the future through universal learning.”


ASU NowState Farm, ASU announce partnership on Pathways for the Future initiative

Canadian EdTech Top Hat Raises $55M Trying to Disrupt the Textbook Industry

IBL News | New York

Toronto-based, education software company Top Hat announced yesterday that it raised $55 million in Series D equity and debt funding, defying giants in the textbook industry like Pearson and McGraw-Hill

The finance round was co-led by Georgian Partners and Inovia Capital, and it attracted all of the previous investors, including Union Square Ventures, Emergence Capital and Leaders Fund.

According to the company, 750 out of the top 1,000 colleges and universities in North America are enrolled in courses using their platform, with a total of 2.7 million students.

“The funding will enable Top Hat to continue to accelerate the disruption of traditional textbooks and course materials in order to deliver greater educational ROI to students,” said Mike Silagadze, founder and CEO.

Top Hat also announced that it already signed exclusive deals with Fountainhead Press and Bluedoor Publishing to transform their print-only content into digital courseware.

The company, which has now raised a total of just under $105 million according to Crunchbase, plans to invest more in professors who will author, adopt, curate and adapt course materials to create personalized and responsive learning experiences.

Top Hat, with a staff of 400 employees, already has introduced six all-in-one digital course solutions, Top Hat Intro Courses. They combine interactive textbooks, lecture slides, quizzes, and assignments all on one platform.

“As university students rebel against ridiculous textbook prices much as music consumers did in the early 2000s, Top Hat has emerged a visionary leader by bringing students and educators together in a collaborative digital teaching and learning experience that improves outcomes while reducing costs,” said Inovia Capital partner Shawn Abbott.

Top Hat’s textbooks sell for less than $50, compared to a big publisher’s offerings that can cost hundreds of dollars.


Moravian College Explains How They Are Building Their Online Programs With a Non-OPM Partner [Video]

IBL News | Washington DC

Fee-for-service and alternative to OPM company Extension Engine explained last week its approach through the case of Moravian College.

In a joined session with Moravian College’s Provost Cynthia Kosso, Extension Engine’s Principal Learning Strategist, Scott Moore, elaborated on how this university created a differentiated online program. The talk took place last Friday at the AAC&U annual conference in Washington DC.

Based in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, the 277-year-old Moravian College, has just launched its first program, and is currently working on its second, related to Nursing.

Cynthia Kosso and Scott Moore discussed the process of creating online learning, building internal capacity, and challenges and lessons learned. Among lessons learned, they agreed on the need to effectively communicate around all aspects of the project in order to gain faculty’s trust and acceptance.

IBL News exclusively videotaped the session. Watch it below.


UMass Boston Student Contracted the Coronavirus; 100 at Princeton University Self-Quarantined

IBL News | New York

As the overall death toll of the novel coronavirus passed 300 –including a 44-year-old man in the Philippines– and there are more than 14,000 infections confirmed, a student at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Boston was confirmed to be the 8th person in the U.S. to have the disease.

This individual is a man in his 20s and resides in Boston. He contracted the virus in Wuhan, where the outbreak originated. After he returned from China, he resulted positive on a test done on Friday night in Boston, according to a statement from UMass addressed to its community on Saturday night.

The infected man will stay in isolation until he is cleared by public health officials.

This case shows that American universities are in the front line, having no other choice than taking aggressive steps to keep the Wuhan virus aways from classrooms and students.

There are 10,000 American students enrolled in academic programs in China.

However, health officials consider more concerning the fact that there are over 350,000 Chinese students pursuing higher education in the United States, many of whom have traveled to their home country in recent weeks.

This makes schools a potential incubator for a widespread outbreak, given the close proximity of dormitory life. The challenge also is not overstating the risk of fanning xenophobia.

On Friday the U.S. implemented travel restrictions Sunday evening in an effort to contain the outbreak. The plan included temporarily denying entry to foreign nationals who visited China in the 14 days prior to the arrival to the US. US citizens returning from the rest of mainland China in the 14 days prior will undergo health screenings at selected ports of entry and face up to 14 days of self-monitored quarantine. Flights from China will be directed through seven airports – John F. Kennedy in New York, Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare, San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma, Los Angeles, and Honolulu.

In addition, the U.S. Department of State upgraded its warning against travel to China to the highest level, advising Americans not to travel there. This alert is following the World Health Organization statement, declaring the coronavirus outbreak a global public health emergency.

On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, one of the two people to test positive for the new coronavirus is a student at the University of York.


University of Rochester: 2019 Novel Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

International Education Will Be Disrupted by the Coronavirus Travel Ban

IBL News | New York

The Coronavirus travel ban will impact greatly on international education, said the Association of International Educators NAFSA.

“What is clear is that this public health crisis and any future response will have wide-reaching and dramatic effects on international education immediately and in the long-term,”  said Dr. Esther D. Brimmer, CEO at NAFSA in a statement.

This organization, with 10,000 members, has created a specific website titled “Coronavirus Critical Resources” to follow the 2019 novel coronavirus rise.

On Friday, at the White House press briefing on the coronavirus, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar declared a public health emergency in the United States.

He announced that U.S. citizens returning from Hubei province will be subject to up to a 14-day quarantine. All foreign nationals, except those that are immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled in China within the last 14 days, will be denied entry into the country. The temporary measures take effect this Sunday, February 2, at 5 p.m. EST.

Also on January 31, 2020, President Trump signed a separate Presidential Proclamation regarding the travel ban.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of State upgraded its warning against travel to China to the highest level, advising Americans not to travel there due to a novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China.

Also on Thursday the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global public health emergency.

Many colleges announced cancellations of their China programs earlier in the week after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advised against all nonessential travel to China.

Following the CDC warning, several American universities – ASU, Duke, Northwestern and Texas A&M Universities and the University of Michigan, among others – are suspending travel to China.

On Monday, Bloomberg reported that China’s National Educational Examinations Authority canceled February test dates for the IELTS, TOEFL, GRE and GMAT, potentially disrupting some prospective students’ plans to study in the United States.


IBL News: Anxiety in classes and dorms: Over 25,000 ASU Students Demand to Cancel Classes Due to a Coronavirus Case on Campus

Over 25,000 ASU Students Demand to Cancel Classes Due to a Coronavirus Case on Campus

IBL News | New York

ASU registered this week the first coronavirus case among universities in the nation. The institution is trying to dispel concerns, Arizona State University (ASU) told IBL News.

The case is creating a huge controversy in the ASU community, which has been on edge since the Arizona Department of Health Services announced on Sunday that someone at the school had been diagnosed with the 2019 novel coronavirus.

It’s not clear if the patient involved— who recently traveled to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak —  is a student, faculty or staff member, but school’s officials noted the patient “does not live in university housing, is not severely ill and is currently in isolation to keep the illness from spreading.”

In the days since, there’s been a Change.org petition with over 24,000 signatures to cancel classes. “Until proper precautions have been taken to ensure the wellbeing of the students, such as disinfecting areas the student with Novel Coronavirus was present, ASU students want their classes canceled. (…) We do not want to risk our lives by attending class,” reads the petition.

In addition, Asian students at ASU are saying that they are being treated differently facing xenophobic looks whenever they cough or sneeze. Surgical face masks have sold out at stores near campus.

ASU Provost Mark Searle on Monday said the school would not cancel classes.“We have received many inquiries about university operations in light of this case. The university remains open and classes are not canceled,” Searle wrote in an email to the ASU community, according to AZ Central. 

The news came after the University of Southern California (USC) was forced to respond following an erroneous social media-fueled claim that a student was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

George Mason University student cleared of coronavirus

On the other hand, test results for a George Mason University student who was being tested for the novel coronavirus have come back negative, the Virginia Department of Health said on Friday.

That person was identified by the university as an off-campus George Mason student who had been self-isolating while awaiting results.

University of Wisconsin, Miami University, NYU, Duke

In addition, two undergraduate students from Wuhan, China, at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville were moved into a special dorm room and told to frequently take their temperatures.

Basketball games at Miami University in Ohio were postponed after two students reportedly showed possible symptoms.

NYU announced that it is delaying the start of the spring semester at its Shanghai campus until February.

Duke University has also postponed the start of the semester at its campus in Kunshan, China, until Feb. 17 and has restricted access to the campus.

Anxiety on Campuses

It is expected that given the fact that college campuses can be grounds for infectious diseases, university officials will be prompted to take urgent measures.

Regarding this anxiety in classes and dorms, TheNew York Times elaborated today a report about how the fear of the Coronavirus is coming to U.S. colleges.


IBL News: International Education Will Be Disrupted by the Coronavirus Travel Ban, NAFSA Says

edX & Platforms | January 2020: WGU, Boston University, Open edX, Esri, Harvard’s LabXchange.org…

Newsletter format  |  Click here to subscribe ]

JANUARY 2020 – NEWSLETTER #24  |  Breaking news at IBL News  |  Noticias en Español



• UT Austin Launches a Top Master’s Degree on Nutritional Sciences on edX.org

• Stanford University Joins the edX Consortium Seven Years Later

• edX Launches Its First Two MicroBachelors Degrees with WGU and NYU

• WGU Provides Details on Its MicroBachelor: Successful Completion Does Not Mean Automatic Accreditation

First Online MBA on edX: “If We Don’t Do it, Someone Else Will,” Says Boston University


Open edX

• Harvard and Amgen Announce LabXchange.org, an Open Platform with Scientific Content

• NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Includes the “Freshman Year for Free” Program in His Agenda

• XuetangX Raises Another $15 Million to Add AI Technology and Expand Its Catalog



• Coursera Introduces Its First Fully Online Bachelor’s from an American University

• Google Expands Its IT Support Offering on Coursera.org by Adding Python and Automation


Courses, Programs

• Dr. Chuck’s ‘Python for Everybody’ Full Class on YouTube and Other Formats

• Esri’s Free MOOC Program, with 150,000 Students, Sets a Reference in Corporate Education at Scale



• A Cloud Guru Acquires The Linux Academy and Claims 1.5 M Learners

• ProctorU Merges With Canadian Yardstick; the New Company Raises $30 Million

Outlier.org Raises $16 Million in Funding to Expand Its Cinema-Quality Video Courses

• Chatbots and Other Artificial Intelligent Cases Are on the Rise, Despite High Expectations


2020 Upcoming Events

• Education Calendar  –  JAN  |  FEB  |  MARCH  |  APRIL  |  MAY  |  JUNE  |  JULY – DEC  |  Conferences in Latin America & Spain


This newsletter is created in collaboration with IBL Education, a New York City-based company specialized in open-source learning platforms. Read the latest IBL Newsletter   |  Archive of Open edX Newsletters

UT Austin Launches a Top Master’s Degree on Nutritional Sciences on edX.org

IBL News | New York

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) announced this week the launch of a 100% online Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences (MSNS) on edX.org.

The program, priced at $22,500, is ranked at number fifth best online master’s in nutrition by The Best Schools. The first cohort will start on August 30, 2020.

Its curriculum is focused on advanced human nutrition with concentration areas available in Biochemical & Functional Nutrition and Health Promotion & Disease Prevention.

UT Austin, an edX partner since its founding in 2012, is the latest institution adding a MOOC-based degree on the edX catalog.


Learning At Scale | January 2020: MIT, JetBlue, Visa, Microsoft, Instructure / Canvas LMS, LearnLaunch…

Newsletter format  |  Click here to subscribe ]

JANUARY 2020  –  NEWSLETTER #30  |  Breaking news at IBL News  |  Noticias en Español


Higher Ed

• The U.S. Shows as the Number 1 in Education Across the World, According to the 2020 Best Countries Report

• MIT Suspends Professor Seth Lloyd Over a Detailed Report About His Ties to Epstein

• Federal Students Loan Portfolio Tops $1.51 Trillion After a 5% Increase


Corporate Training

• JetBlue’s Sponsored Education Program Has 700 Crewmembers Pursuing Undergraduate Degrees

• Visa Launches a Certification Program to Train Payment Card Disputes Professionals

• Microsoft Retires Its Professional Program and Opens a Role-Based Certification Site


2020 / 2019 Review

• JavaScript, HTML5, C# and CSS, the Most Benchmarked Skills of 2019, According to Pluralsight

• U.S. Education Technology Companies Raised $1.6 Billion in VC Funding in 2019

• 2019’s Most Popular Online Courses According to Class Central

• A Dynamic 2019 for Open edX, edX, Coursera, and Udacity: IBL’s Top-20 Headlines

• 2019 Year Review: MIT’s Epstein Scandal, Sale of Canvas LMS, 2U’s Collapse, and Pearson’s CEO’s Resignation

• IBL News Releases the 2020 Calendar



The AACU Conference in DC Says that Liberal Education Is Key for Employability [Video]

• The LearnLauch Conference this Month in Boston Expects 1,500 Educators and Investors


Instructure / Canvas LMS

• Instructure Will Continue Reducing Spending But Refrain From Laying Off More Employees

• Analysis: Is Instructure’s Transaction Rigged? SEC’s Statements Show a Transparent Process

• Instructure Accuses Dissident Investor Praesidium of “Opportunistic Tactics” to Derail the Transaction

• The CEO of Instructure May Reap Over $22M After the Sale of the Company

• Instructure Moves Forward with Thoma Bravo’s $2 Billion Acquisition Proposal



• 2U Hires Advisers to Explore a Sale While an Activist Investor Continues to Push


2020 Upcoming Events

• Education Calendar  –  JAN  |  FEB  |  MARCH  |  APRIL  |  MAY  |  JUNE  |  JULY – DEC  |  Conferences in Latin America & Spain


This newsletter is created in collaboration with IBL Education, a New York City-based company specialized in open-source learning platforms. Read the latest IBL Newsletter   |  Archive of Open edX Newsletters

Stanford University Joins the edX Consortium Seven Years Later

IBL News | New York

Stanford University joined the edX consortium as an institutional member, contributing with a portfolio of 11 courses ranging from computer science and algorithms to humanities classes in areas such as history and government.

Stanford University’s supporting role at the creation of edX and its open-source code—Open edX—in 2013, was crucial.

However, the institution refrained to join the edX consortium, even criticizing the governance of Open edX through an elaborated report. (Later, the edX Consortium responded, and even it celebrated the Open edX annual developers conference at Stanford’s campus in 2016.)

The courses that Stanford is posting now on edX.org, are a fraction of the ones hosted at its own Open edX instance, called Lagunita.

“Stanford is a long time Open edX contributor, and this milestone deepens our collaborative relationship, which is founded on a vision to increase access to high-quality education for learners around the world,” wrote Johannes Heinlein, Chief Commerical Officer at edX, on a blog post welcoming the Californian university.

In addition to Stanford, the edX Consortium has announced since November 2019 the incorporation of other universities, such as the United Arab Emirates, Western Governors, National University of Singapore, and Queen’s University Smith School of Business.


These are the Stanford University courses hosted at edX.org:


• News stories about Stanford University at IBL News since 2013


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