edX Offers a 30% Discount on Professional Certificates, MicroMasters, and MicroBachelors

IBL News | New York

edX.org announced on Friday that it will offer a 30% discount on Professional Certificates, MicroMasters, and MicroBachelors program to anyone who lost their job due to the pandemic.

“We are committed to providing an opportunity for people to re-enter the workforce as quickly as possible and with a stronger skill set than before,” wrote Anant Agarwal, Co-CEO at edX, in a blog-post. “We offer an innovative suite of stackable, modular credentials that deliver meaningful career impact,” he added.

The initiative, titled Workforce Recovery Acceleration Program, is also available for corporations and governments who want to help their displaced or furloughed employees to learn in-demand work skills in fields like data analytics, computer science, business and more.

According to edX data, 87% of people who complete a MicroMasters program and 81% who complete a Professional Certificate program state that they achieve a pay raise, a promotion, or a new job.

For earning the mentioned 30% discount, the aspirant needs to complete a form and submit an application.

NY’s Governor Hires the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for Reforming the School System

IBL News | New York

The New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week that the State will work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a plan to “reimagine and build back our education system better, as we prepare to reopen”. 

New York’s schools –which is the country’s school biggest system, with 1.1 million children– are closed for the year, and authorities are considering what should look like when they reopen.

Bill Gates is a visionary in many ways, and his ideas and thoughts on technology and education he’s spoken about for years, but I think we now have a moment in history where we can actually incorporate and advance those ideas,” said Cuomo, a Democrat.

The Governor did not outline the scope of the state’s work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a powerful player in the education space.

Some educators criticized Cuomo’s announcement, reminding the foundation’s failed initiatives. At least three organizations – New York State Allies for Public Education, Class Size Matters, and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy – have already written to Cuomo and state education officials opposing the partnership.

New York State United Teachers President, Andy Pallott, said in a statement, “if we want to reimagine education, let’s start with addressing the need for social workers, mental health counselors, school nurses, enriching arts courses, advanced courses and smaller class sizes in school districts across the state.”

How the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be compensated is unclear. So far, this non-profit has exercised a notable influence in pushing certain education policies, such as the so-called education reform movement, along with the Common Core and other academic standards and teacher evaluation.

Other philanthropies lobbying for education reform are the Walton Family Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and the Emerson Collective.

The Big Ten Universities Will Accumulate Over $1.7 Billion in Losses Due to the Pandemic

IBL News | New York

Preliminary estimates of the economic impact from the pandemic at the Big Ten universities, including the nation’s leading research institutions, indicate $1.7 billion in losses, according to columnist Michael T. Nietzel on Forbes.

Universities’ leaders say that even that figure will grow in the months to come if the institutions are unable to reopen in the fall semester.

The projected losses are as follows, with a link to the press account or official announcement of each university’s estimate.

Like other colleges and universities, the big ten schools will receive one-time relief from their share of the $14 billion provided to higher education through the federal Cares Act. Over $425 million were allocated for them.

Coursera Will Provide Courses and Curated Programs to Tennis Professionals

IBL News | New York

Coursera.org announced yesterday a partnership with the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) to provide players with free access to over 4,000 courses about business, technology, data science, personal development, and mental well-being, along with curated collections of online classes.

“This will allow tennis players to develop new skills during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has currently forced the suspension of play on the Tour, and even after the crisis when competitive play resumes,” wrote Kim Caldbeck, Chief Marketing Officer at Coursera, in a blog-post.

An example of course highlighted by Coursera was The Science of Well-Being, from Yale University.

Andrea Gaudenzi, Chairman at the ATP, highlighted the opportunity for tennis professionals to think long-term beyond their playing careers. “The online format and versatility offered by the Coursera platform is a perfect fit not only while at home but also on the road once the Tour resumes,” he said.

Students Find the Learning Experience Provided by Schools To Be Unengaging

IBL News | New York

Executing online teaching well continues to be a challenge for many schools.

A new survey shows that online class experiences provided by colleges that have shut down due to the pandemic are being contested by students.

According to a survey by edtech vendor Top Hat, 78% of students called their online class experience as “unengaging”. A similar share, of 75%, have reported missing the face-to-face interactions with others on campus.

Around 50%of students said they were feeling “anxious,” and worried about passing their classes this semester.

“As the Fall 2020 semester looms on the horizon, colleges and universities are facing an unprecedented level of pressure to provide students with a significant return on investment in their education,” said Nick Stein, Chief Marketing Officer for Top Hat, in a statement. “Based on the results from this survey, students are expecting a more engaging, interactive, and human experience; getting this right will be critical to the future of higher education,” he added.

Top Hat’s survey –done among 3,089 higher education students in North America– found that 26% of students are re-evaluating their intentions of returning to school. Nearly 70% consider the online instruction they’re receiving right now to be worse than what they got in person; half said they were spending less time on their coursework.

The research recommends that schools should focus on enhancing the interactive experience, promoting social experiences with other students, and examining what and how learning materials are being used.

“The sudden transition to remote teaching in the past few months due to the COVID-19 crisis pushed educators to piece together solutions to deliver their courses online. In many cases, the result was a disjointed experience that required professors to navigate various technology tools and platforms to bring their courses to life in a new learning environment. Although no small feat, many students developed a poor impression of the educational value they received and more than a quarter are now re-evaluating their intentions to return to school in the Fall semester,” states the report.


Top Hat’s infographic with the findings of the survey.



Udacity Announces Its AWS Cloud Architect Nanodegree Program

IBL News | New York

Udacity opened yesterday for enrollment its AWS Cloud Architect Nanodegree program, intended to teach experienced developers how to create a highly available network with a fault-tolerant database using the Amazon’s core service.

“Learners will be able to monitor availability, test failure scenarios with recovery, and evaluate and harden the cloud environment’s security vulnerabilities,” explained Alison Rodal, Product Leader at Udacity, in a blog-post.

The program will include three instructors: Tom Verbiscer, Director of Engineering at Current Media, Leslie Bell, Technical Trainer at AWS, and Mehdi Razvi, DevOps & Cloud Security Consultant at NuEra Automotive Solutions.

The estimated time for completing the program is three months and the overall cost is $226 per month. The company offers the first month for free.

Udacity’s degree follows the high-demand of cloud architects in a market expected to reach over $600 billion by 2023, with Amazon owning over 30% of the current market.


Cengage and McGraw-Hill Terminate their Merger to Create a Textbook Giant

IBL News | New York

Cengage and McGraw-Hill Education announced yesterday that they fully terminated their contested merger efforts to create the second-largest U.S. textbook publisher, with 44,000 titles and an overall market value of $3billion.

The decision, unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, was officially taken after “a prolonged regulatory review process and the inability to agree to a divestitures package with the U.S. Department of Justice,” explained Simon Allen, CEO of McGraw-Hill.

“The required divestitures would have made the merger uneconomical,” he added.

Earlier this year, U.S. lawmakers released letters urging the U.S. Department of Justice to closely monitor the proposed merger, which could have effectively created a duopoly in the market–with Pearson as the other major player.


Google’s Zoom-Like Web Conference, Meet, Makes Free Key Features of Its G-Suite Premium Version

IBL News | New York

The search giant announced that its premium video conferencing product, Google Meet–available at meet.google.com or via iOS and Android apps–will be available for free in May.

“Starting in early May, anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and enjoy many of the same features available to our business and education users, such as simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference, including an expanded tiled view,” Google explained in a blog-post last week. “Meetings are limited to 60 minutes for the free product, though we won’t enforce this time limit until after Sept. 30.”

The company said that since January, Google Meet has surpassed 100 million users, after roughly adding 3 million new users every day since January, according to its own data.

On its announcement, Google highlighted that “Meet has been designed to operate on a secure foundation, providing the protection needed to keep our users safe, their data secure, and their information private.” Security was Zoom’s weakest point, with many attacks on users’ private conversations–a phenomenon called “zoom-bombing”.

With a Zoom-like layout, Meet requires using a Google Account and it doesn’t require any plugin, working entirely in Chrome and other browsers. Another interesting feature is live captions powered by speech recognition.

Until now, Meet has only been available as part of G Suite, Google’s collaboration, and a productivity solution for businesses, organizations, and schools.


Learning At Scale | May 2020: Indiana, Columbia University, ETS, Zoom, Linux Foundation…

Newsletter format  |  Click here to subscribe ]

MAY 2020  –  NEWSLETTER #33  |  Breaking news at IBL News  |  Noticias en Español



• An Increasing Number of Colleges Are Deciding to Reopen Campuses for the Fall

• Fifty Public Universities Can Lose $4.1 Billion In Revenue if Football Season Is Canceled or Altered

• Pay Cuts Set at The University of Arizona as a result of an Expected Loss of $250 Million

• Indiana University Authorized to Borrow Up to $1 Billion to Cover Revenue Shortfalls



• Columbia University’s TAs Say They Will Not Teach as They Face Financial Precarity

• An Increasing Number of Students Refuse to Pay Full In-Person Tuition for Online Classes



• At-Home Testing Solutions Unveiled for AP Programs, TOEFL and GRE Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic

• Smithsonian Open Access: Millions of 2D and 3D Digital Items Without Copyright Restriction



• Zoom Continues Its Marketing Effort Despite Reports Questioning Its Security

• Zoom Comes Under Scrutiny Because of the “Zoombombing” Attacks Amid the Pandemic Outbreak



• The Linux Foundation Plans a Massive Virtual Open Source Summit

• A List of Virtual Educational and Corporate Conferences Due to the Pandemic

• O’Reilly Eliminates Its Face-to-Face Conference Business, Laying Off Nearly 100 People



• Google Classroom, Class Dojo, and TikTok Rank Top Used Apps

• An App with Augmented Reality Teaches How to Keep Social Distancing

• Google and Apple Will Release in Mid-May a Controversial Tool to Track Down Infected People


2020 Events 

• Education Calendar  –   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

edX & Platforms | May 2020: Develop.com, LabXchange, HarvardX, Coursera, Udacity…

Newsletter format  |  Click here to subscribe ]

MAY 2020 – NEWSLETTER #27  |  Breaking news at IBL News  |  Noticias en Español


Open edX 

• Develop.com, a New Subscription-Based Learning Platform for Tech Professionals

• LabXchange, Harvard’s Science Platform, Provides a Free Tool to Create Online Classes and Pathways


• Harvard’s Credit-Bearing, Free Course on Mechanical Ventilators Has Attracted 170,000 Learners in Two Weeks

• An edX and Harvard Course to Train Clinicians on Mechanical Ventilators for Covid-19

• Purdue Launches a Fully Online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering on edX.org


• Coursera Offers Government Agencies Fighting Unemployment Free Access to Its 3,800 Courses

• Coursera Offers Free Certificates on 50+ Courses, While It Announces New Programs and Tools

• Coursera and edX Release New Services to Support Universities


• A Virtual Conference to Determine How AI Can Be Leveraged In the Fight Against COVID-19

Online Learning

• A Student Guide to Remote Learning from GW’s Professor Lorena Barba

• A Survey Shows that Many College Students Struggle to Maintain Focus and Discipline in Distance Learning

2020 Events 

• Education Calendar  –   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

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