Stanford Produces a Visual, Evidence-Based Course to Train Healthcare Workers on COVID-19

IBL News | New York

Stanford Emergency Medicine and Digital MEdIC released this week on Coursera and edX an open, evidence-based course for training physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers.

“COVID-19 Training for Healthcare Workers” covers symptoms and signs in sick patients, preventing the need for intubation, and ventilator management of patients.

This 5-hour, self-paced, visual course, comes with a certificate upon completion. It is also available via iOS and Google Play through an app designed for users with low data environments. It will allow students to follow the learning modules in offline mode.

“Following completion of this short course physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals will have a unified, evidenced-based approach to saving the lives of patients with COVID-19, including those who are critically ill,” said the authors, Stanford’s Professors SV Mahadevan and Matthew Strehlow.

Learning modules are broken into short videos. Evidence and guidelines are summarized while accompanying handouts provide written learning points and links to online resources. Simple infographics are available for providers to utilize within their care facilities.

European and U.K. Students Who Already Have F-1 and M-1 Visas Are Welcomed Back

IBL News | New York

The Trump Administration lifted the travel ban to European and UK students who already had study F-1 and M-1 visas.

“Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the U.K., and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas, do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel,” the U.S. State Department claimed on its website and told Congress late last week. “Students from those areas who are traveling on a J-1 may contact the nearest embassy or consulate to initiate an exception request.”

“We appreciate the transparency and concerted efforts of our European partners and allies to combat this pandemic and welcome the EU’s reciprocal action to allow key categories of essential travel to continue,” added the U.S. Department of State.

Students awaiting interviews at U.S. Embassies and Consulates and researchers and teachers with J-1 visas were not included in the U.S. exemptions.

Google Meet Unveils New Features Allowing More Control and Increasing Security

IBL News | New York

Google Meet –part of G Suite for Education, with 140 million users–revealed yesterday, several of the features that it will be launching later this year. Some of which are similar to improvements made by Zoom.

“New moderation features for G Suite for Education and G Suite Enterprise for Education users will give educators more control over how to run their virtual classes,” announced Arpit Guglani, Product Manager at Google Meet.

This is a summary of the new features:

  • Joining a meeting (or “knocking”) with just one knock.
  • Functionality allowing moderators to end the meeting for all participants, ensuring no students linger after the teacher has left.
  • Block of anonymous attendees from joining any Education meetings by default.
  • Ability to blur out their surroundings or replace their background, with presets or uploaded images.
  • Ability to mute all participants at the same time, disable in-meeting chat for participants, and restrict who can present.
  • Hand raising feature to make meetings flow more smoothly.
  • Integrated collaborative whiteboard to help teachers and students share ideas.
  • A larger tiled view will allow you to display up to 49 participants at once.
  • Closed captions in additional languages to make lessons more accessible.

Additionally, several premium features are being released, such as “attendance tracking to provide a record of which students joined the class, breakout rooms so educators can split classes into smaller groups, Q&A to provide a way for students to ask questions without disrupting the flow of the class discussion or lesson, and polling to engage students to share their voice.”



A Coursera Report Finds Economic Recovery to be Dependent on Broad Re-Skilling

IBL News | New York

Coursera’s CEO, Jeff Maggioncalda, announced yesterday the release of the 2020 Global Skills Index (GSI), a report that benchmarks skills proficiency for 60 countries, 10 industries, and 11 fields of study in business, data science, and technology.

The index analyzed data from 65 million learners on the Coursera platform, including 15 million new users since March.

Coursera’s GSI highlighted that recovery in a post-pandemic world will rely on broad reskilling. “I hope this report inspires institutions to prioritize skills development as the foundation of economic revival,” wrote Jeff Maggioncalda in a blog post.

Other insights are the following:

  • Countries, both developed and developing, excelling in critical business, technology, and data science skills see more income equality.
  • Countries with higher skill proficiencies are also those with higher labor force participation rates.
  • Countries with more equal access to the internet are also those with higher skill proficiencies.
  • Every skill proficiency percent gained for a country is associated with a $600 increase in GDP per capita.
  • Industries with more highly skilled talent, especially in technology skills, see higher stock returns and less disruption from COVID-19.
  • Of the 200 million higher education students whose studies have been disrupted by COVID-19, 80% are located in countries with emerging or lagging skills.
  • Institutions navigating COVID-19 continue to prioritize business, technology, and data science skills.
  • The top five trending skills related to COVID-19 are public health, recognizing symptoms, understanding risk factors, social distancing, and contact tracing. Since March, there have been more than 800,000 enrollments and a 540% enrollment increase in Coursera courses teaching these skills.
  • Demand for personal development skills like confidence, stress management, and mindfulness has grown by 1,200% among individual learners.

Coursera Valued at $2.5 Billion After a Finance Round of Additional $130 Million

IBL News | New York

Coursera yesterday announced that it raised an additional $130 million, as part of a Series F round, which was led by NEA –an investor in the trading platform Robinhood– and joined by existing investors Kleiner Perkins, SEEK Group, Learn Capital, SuRo Capital Corp, and G Squared.

This is the biggest funding round for a U.S. education technology company in 2020.

Investors are valuing the company at a reported $2.5 billion. To date, Coursera has raised $464 million.

The company’s CEO, Jeff Maggioncalda, assured that “this financing brings the company’s cash balance to more than $300 million.”

The additional funding will be used “to double down on our product and engineering efforts, expand our job-relevant catalog, and further grow our international presence,” explained Maggioncalda.

“In particular, it gives us the flexibility to meet the considerable demand for two of our COVID-focused initiatives — Campus Response Initiative to help universities teach impacted students and Workforce Recovery Initiative to help governments reskill unemployed workers.”

The ongoing pandemic has accelerated the expansion of Coursera, which has added 15 million new users since March. Currently, it sums
65 million learners and it houses 4,500 courses with 160 university partners and 40 companies including Google and IBM. Its workforce accounts 600 employees.

Since the company announced on March 12 a free offer on Coursera for Campus on March 12, over 10,000 institutions have signed up, and enrollments have spiked 500 percent over the previous spring, with 1.3 million students taking courses.

These numbers have been used to appeal to venture capitalists, always interested in detecting major market changes.

Coursera continues aiming for an IPO, although it has not any date on the horizon yet.


A Unit of the Air Force Will Train Airmen in AI, Data and Programming with Udacity’s Programs

IBL News | New York

Udacity yesterday announced a partnership with Business and Enterprise Systems Product Innovation (BESPIN), a United States Air Force (USAF) agile development lab, via its Digital University.

The goal is to strengthen airmen’s skills in AI, machine learning, data analysis, and programming, by providing Udacity’s Nanodegree programs.

“BESPIN started with eight airmen in 2018 and has since grown to 100+ personnel, all of whom are committed to overcoming legacy technology challenges and accelerating USAF’s digital transformation,” said Lt. Col. Paul Cooper, CEO at BESPIN.

Programs completed by airmen include so far classes on Swift, Kotlin, Kubernetes, and data science.

“Udacity’s online training platform is used by global corporate customers to skill and reskill their workforces: these customers include Airbus, AT&T, BMW, IBM, Nike, and Shell,” announced the company.

Google Announces 100,000 Scholarships for Three Career-Oriented Certificates

IBL News | New York

Google announced this week three new certificate programs in data analytics, project management, and user experience (UX) design.

The certificates are created and taught solely by Google employees and are offered through These classes can be completed in three to six months. To take these programs, at $49 a month, it is not required a college degree or work experience.

The tech giant will fund 100,000 need-based scholarships. In addition, it will be awarding over $10 million in grants to three nonprofits–YWCA, NPower, and JFF– to provide workforce development to women, veterans, and underrepresented Americans.

“This is not revenue-generating for Google,” said Google vice president, Lisa Gevelber, who leads Grow with Google and Google for Startups.

The company said that these certificates will qualify applicants for jobs across fields with median average annual salaries of over $50,000.

In 2018, Google launched a similar certificate program for those interested in IT. Over 250,000 people have taken this Google’s certificate, 57% of whom do not have a college degree, making it Coursera’s most popular certificate.


The Trump Administration Drops Restrictions for International Students Amid Pressure from Colleges

IBL News | New York

Total reversal for the Trump administration on the ban on the international students’ issue affecting over 1 million students–who generate a 40 billion business in the country.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security rescinded the July 6 policy directive that would have required foreign students on F-1 and M-1 visas to take in-person college coursework in order to remain in the country –a judge announced in Boston this Tuesday.

The decision comes a week after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that students at schools offering only online courses, such as MIT, Harvard and Princeton, would need to either leave the U.S. or transfer schools. These schools, along with 20 states and dozens of universities, filed a suit against the Trump administration to block the policy change from going into effect.

Now, the Federal Government agrees to rescind the guidance to resolve the lawsuit filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The rescinding of the directive, and an associated FAQ released on July 7, means the government reverts back to a March guidance that allowed international students to remain in the U.S. while taking a fully online course load.

edX & Platforms | July 2020: JupyterCon, Suse, Juniper, Coursera, Udacity, DeVry, Canvas LMS, Degreed…

Newsletter format  |  Click here to subscribe ]

JULY 2020 – NEWSLETTER #29  |  Breaking news at IBL News  |  Noticias en Español


Open edX – Based Platforms

• JupyterCon 2020 Conference Will Introduce an Innovative Learning Format with Credentials

• The ‘Freshman Year for Free Program’ Will Pay Learners for Completing their Classes

• Harvard University’s LabXChange Platform Wins the 2020 Open edX Prize

• SUSE Acquires Kubernetes Management Platform Rancher Labs –which uses Open edX


Open edX Software

edX Posts the Release Notes of the Open edX Juniper Platform

• Open edX Juniper Platform: Changes on LMS Instructor Dashboard and Studio Tool

• edX Releases Juniper, Its Tenth Version of the Open edX Platform



• edX MicroBachelors Will Include Consultants to Help Learners Complete Their Programs

• An edX Survey Finds that a Majority Is Interested in Pursuing Additional Education

• Research: Platforms At Scale Will Radically Transform Learning and Teaching



• Coursera Users Complain About Cheating and Plagiarism on Peer Assignments

• Courses, Strategies, and Resources to Get The Most From Learning with edX and Coursera



• Udacity Develops an Introductory Course and Nanodegree on Machine Learning for Microsoft Azure


Learning Platforms

• Canvas LMS Picks a New CEO From Outside the Educational Industry

• DeVry University Releases a Complimentary Video Library to Build In-Demand Tech Skills

• Apple Will Shut Down iTunes U at the End of 2021



• John Katzman Raises Another $16 Million to Expand Noodle Partners OPM Firm

• Degreed Raises Another $32 Million with Its Platform for Upskilling Employees


2020 Events 

• Education Calendar  –    JULY – DEC  |  Conferences in Latin America & Spain


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

edX Posts the Release Notes of the Open edX Juniper Platform

IBL News | New York

edX officially announced Juniper, the latest release of the Open edX platform, and posted their release notes. “Overall, Juniper represents a huge step forward for the Open edX platform,” wrote Ned Batchelder, Architect at edX.

Juniper, the tenth release of Open edX, is the version that took the longest time to develop: 17 months.

It comes with new features related to the learner experience, instructor management and developer functioning.

Learners will find new front-end pages regarding Profile, Account Settings, Order History, Checkout Page, and Course Experience.

Improvements extend to areas like e-commerce, schedule personalization, team assignment submission, and mobile video app.

The app now presents the ability to render YouTube videos within the application experience (previously learners would be redirected out of the application).

Educators will find updates on Studio–the platform authoring tool– on component naming, unit creation, problem markdown editing, learning sequence navigation, and grading tools.

For instances using programs, there is a new registrar service to set enrollments.

Developers will see major core upgrades to support Python 3 and Django 2, along with many areas deprecated.

We have developed a 100% remote video production solution to help you through this challenging timeLearn More
+ +