“At the End of the Day, We Reflect the Voice of the Learner”, Says Anant Agarwal

With $80 million of financing from MIT and Harvard, and a consortium business model, mainly based on partnerships with top universities and companies, edX is an unusual non-profit organization, although a successfully disrupting shop.

“Over the past eight years, everything that we’ve done has been controversial, where somebody or other has lobbed a call to me saying, “Anant, are you crazy? What are you doing? But over time, people have gotten used to it,” revealed Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX, on a candid conversation with Harvard Business School Professor Joe Fuller.

Opensourcing the platform, setting a paywall for courses, partnering with the corporate world, and the launch of the edX For Business marketplace are among those controversial decisions.

“As a nonprofit consortium of universities, we have a lot of debate, and we, ourselves, don’t move as fast as I would like to see us move because of the need to communicate and get everybody’s buy-in. But even then, certainly bringing in corporate partners to offer content on edX was controversial, and we certainly hear from university partners about that. However, at the end of the day, we reflect the voice of the learner, and we believe we should be doing what is right for humankind. And, by and large, the partners come along once they realize that the motivation here is nonprofit. It’s for the good of the learner, and they’ve all bought into it.”

“Corporations bring a whole new perspective to learning. Where the university courses tend to be oftentimes theoretical and rich in one sense, the corporate courses tend to be much more applications-focused and bring a whole different kind of view on learning.”

Mr. Agarwal highlights the idea that staying relevant in today’s workplace requires constantly adding and being credited with new skills. “Skills are moving at an incredible pace.” “Employees that are working—or looking for work—need new literacies, need new ways of building skills, need new skills to be able to get jobs in the new economy. There are various studies that show that, within the next 10 years, by 2030, half the people on this planet will need to upskill themselves, or they will risk losing their jobs”.

edX’s CEO mentions the MicroMasters program as an example of innovation that responds to learners’ demand and the fact that 75% of them are looking for a modular demand. The outcome is clear: 91% of MicroMasters’ students tell that they’ve already achieved a career advancement based on that certificate.

“Given the future of work, how technology is rapidly changing work in amazing ways, the future of learning will be lifelong. (…) For lifelong learning to happen, I don’t believe there is any other way to do it than online. What are the odds that you’re going to be able to go to a campus for a year once you’re 35 years old? You need modular credentials, you need online learning, and it has to be open enrollment. We can’t have admissions processes.”

What edX has done is, by applying a platform approach to education, it is aggregating learners from all over the world—20 million of them, and 140 institutional partners—to be part of the platform. The content comes from many places, and learners come from many places that coordinate on the platform.” (…) “We have 100 professional certificate programs and 50 MicroMasters programs on topics like blockchain and fintech and Python programming and Azure Cloud and cloud computing, and all kinds of topics.”



Coursera Raises an Additional $103 Million – Closer to an IPO?

Coursera.org has raised an additional $103 million in funding, Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of the company announced.

This investment, in a Series E equity round, comes from the Australian online recruitment and course directory provider SEEK Group and two existing investors, Future Fund and NEA.

How this funding will be used was not disclosed. “The additional funding gives us the resources and flexibility to further expand internationally and to accelerate the development of a learning platform that currently serves 40 million learners, 1,800 businesses, and over 150 top universities,” said Jeff Maggioncalda.

“This investment reflects our commitment to online education, which is enabling the up-skilling and re-skilling of people and is aligned to our purpose of helping people live fulfilling working lives,” said SEEK Co-Founder and CEO Andrew Bassat in a statement.

Coursera, the leading MOOC platform which competes with Udacity and edX, has raised a total of $313 million in funding over 9 rounds, including this latest one.

This investment places the company, now valued over $1 billion, closer to an IPO.


A 10-Year Contract Means Signing Away Your Digital Future, Says Extension Engine OPM

ExtensionEngine’s Furqan Nazeeri Discusses Adult Learning, Revenue-Sharing vs. Fee-for-Service Models, and the OPM Market


Henry Kronk | IBL News

Online students owe their education, in part, to companies that don’t often receive the recognition they’re due. While many institutions of higher ed build their online courses and degree paths internally, others turn to online program managers (OPMs) to fill in any gaps that might remain. While these companies play indispensable roles in online education, many students and faculty are not aware they exist. ExtensionEngine –which provides Open edX services, too– has been working in the higher ed space for nearly 20 years. 
IBL News recently got in touch with Furqan Nazeeri, who was worked as a partner at the OPM for 10 years.


Furqan Nazeeri: Actually, before that, I was a customer [of ExtensionEngine]. At the time, I was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Softbank Capital, one of the investors at my previous company. I had been looking around … I had a project to basically build an academic research product working with the faculty at Harvard Business School. I ended up hiring ExtensionEngine to help with that project.

It was just a wonderful experience. It took about a year before I decided to join. I love the idea of a service business that’s focused on a specific clientele and really becoming a world expert in solving problems for those clients. I love the idea that we don’t have outside investors. At Extension Engine, we don’t have venture money or outside investors and there’s no debt so it really allows us to focus on our customers and our employees.

Last I heard, the OPM market is worth $2-something billion in revenue, so it’s a huge industry. The vast majority of that is revenue-share, [where, in exchange for services, institutions share a percentage of their online program revenue with their OPM]. We are a small piece along with Noodle, iDesign, and a few others that are in the fee-for-service category. Right now, it’s very small. If you ask me, I’m biased but, even if you ask analysts who cover the OPM industry more generally, they’ll say the fee-for-service is where a lot of growth is going to be.


Henry Kronk: Some OPMs specialize in certain areas of service, while others are more jacks-of-all-trades. Where does ExtensionEngine fall on this spectrum?

Furqan Nazeeri: I would say our roots are in really innovative technology-based around creating customized learning experiences. We have also built deep, deep expertise in instructional design, (content creation and assessment). We have a small but, I would say, incredibly powerful practice around marketing services in terms of enrollment and recruitment. Those are the three things we really hang our hat on. Over the years, those have evolved.

We started out with technology. We added content. And most recently a few years ago, we added the marketing services.


Henry Kronk: Why does Extension Engine focus on those services?

Furqan Nazeeri: We partner with our clients and we become really integral parts of the overall team. We’ve helped deliver some amazing, innovative programs. As a result, our clients grow to trust us.

When we’ve launched a new service, I’d like to say that I had some Harvard MBA sort of strategy that I was implementing. But the truth of the matter is, our clients came to us and said, “We have this problem. You guys have been a great partner. Is this something you would consider offering as a service?”

A great example is instructional design. This is going back 7 or 8 years. At the time, we had been developing these amazing technology platforms. One of our clients came to us and said, “You guys have been doing great work. We’ve actually been working with this other company on instructional design and content creation. That company has this amazing team there, but the company is going under. Would you guys consider either partnering with them or hiring this team and developing an instructional design practice?”

We said, “That’s interesting, let’s talk to them.” So that has been the evolution. Our client actually introduced us to the people we hired to lead our instructional design team. It was organic growth driven by strong partnerships with our clients.

I think if I’d written a business plan and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to go develop this thing,’ and I tried to sell it to my clients … I think it would have felt like a plumber turning around and saying to someone, “Hey, I just fixed your sink. Do you have full life insurance?”


Henry Kronk: Does Extension Engine have a typical client?

Furqan Nazeeri: So our clients are a mix. Half are higher ed, half are non-profits outside of higher ed. It’s all around digital transformation of adult learning, it’s just half are with institutions of higher ed, half are not.

Of the higher ed, the vast majority are private. They tend to be category leaders, meaning that they could be nationally or globally recognized brands in higher ed like Harvard or MIT, or it could be a top institution in a smaller category, something like an ArtCenter College of Design, which is a top school in industrial design and fine arts.


Henry Kronk: A study by Eduventures about a year ago found that colleges who partnered with an OPM were more likely to increase enrollment online than those who had not. But the report also described how this broad stroke of a statement obscures more granular data and, at the end of the day, some online programs are very successful and some are not, regardless of whether or not an OPM is involved.

This is a tangent, but I’ve read elsewhere that marriage counselors can tell within minutes of their first meeting with a couple whether or not the marriage will be saved. Are you able to tell whether or not an online course or program will be successful before it launches?

Furqan Nazeeri: I think it’s pretty hard to screw up an online program. Try and do some research on failed online degree programs. There’s underreporting, right? People don’t go reporting “This program blew up.” But I’d say for every blown up, failed program, there has got to be 50 successful ones or something like that.

Rising tides lift all boats. Sure, there are some boats that have 10 holes in the bottom, and they sink. But it’s not like half of these programs fail. It’s far from that. If you go back 10 years, it was very expensive and it was considered very risky to go online. If you think about 10 years ago, the University of Phoenix was the big name online in terms of degree programs.

Everybody kind of looked down their nose at them as a for-profit. If you look at online degrees nowadays, there are close to 300 different institutions offering a fully online MBA in the U.S. 300. There are only, I think, maybe 500 residential programs.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) showed that, in 2016, 28% of graduate students in the U.S. enrolled in online-only programs.

When I graduated from college, it was 1995. If you were dating somebody and someone asked you where did you meet your partner, you wouldn’t be caught dead telling someone you met online. You would make up a story and say, “Oh I met them at the library or the club or something.”

But if you talk to someone who just graduated college today, it’s sort of assumed that they met whoever they’re dating online. More than half of people meet whoever they’re dating online. I think that same transition has happened in higher ed. It’s considered incredibly normal. If you’re a Master’s of Nursing student, more than half the students you encounter are in an online program. It’s considered totally normal.

To wind it back to the original question, it’s hard to answer because so few of them actually fail.


Henry Kronk: I guess it depends on what your criteria for success are. NCES data shows that online degree programs still have much worse 6-year graduation rates than their brick-and-mortar versions.

Furqan Nazeeri: I think it’s a super important point. The data on this requires a deeper understanding. There’s just so many factors going on here. I was at a conference a few years ago. Someone was talking about student success and they had research data that showed something like 70% of the reasons that students dropped out and didn’t finish a program were for non-academic reasons. You know, their spouse lost their job, they had a kid, they were forced to move—all these things that didn’t have to do necessarily with the quality of the academic program. Although there are things like mentoring and coaching and student services that can help to mitigate some of these non-academic challenges.

But I wonder when you’re looking at in-person vs. online, how much of that is selection bias? You know, the people enrolling on campus have fewer of those academic constraints? I think unless you control for some of those things, it’s hard to attribute those completion rates to quality of instruction. Community colleges have on average I think, what, a 15% 6-year completion rate. It’s not that the professor teaching algebra at community college is 80% worse than the college professor teaching it at BU. It’s a selection bias problem.


Henry Kronk: So let’s talk revenue models. You mentioned before that you don’t know why someone would enter into a revenue-share agreement with an OPM. I can think of a few. For one, it’s cheaper up front.

Furqan Nazeeri: Doing it rev-share doesn’t actually make it cheaper. It actually makes it more expensive. It does impact budget and cash-flow. With the rev-share, you don’t have to go make a budget request and come up with the money up front. But you pay for it as a percent of revenue over 10 years (more or less). It’s not like an OPM doing a rev-share has some magical thing they can offer or a cheaper way of doing something.

It’s less cash-flow up front. For a lot of institutions, it’s much easier to sign a commercial contract and not have to go make a budget request. There’s definitely some really strong financial reasons to go with a rev-share. And by the way, most of the industry is rev-share, so it’s not like this is some unusual thing. I think you’re starting to see more and more institutions look specifically for fee-for-service or at least consider it. There have been a lot of RFPs out recently that specifically mention fee-for-service.

Cash-flow and finances are reason #1 for sure. The perceived risk mitigation is another big one.

On the other side of the balance sheet, there are some tradeoffs of signing with a rev-share deal. One is length of contract. It’s usually a 10 year contract. Some might be a little shorter, some might be a little longer. One of the challenges with a 10-year contract is often times, you’re solving a 2-year problem in terms of cash-flow with a 10-year contract, which is always tricky. Who knows in 10 years what the right bet will be in terms of partner and technology and platform, and things like that? That’s a difficult decision to make.

If you, in 2005, are a telecom company making a 10-year decision, it would be hard to see Apple coming out with the iPhone.

I think there’s also something that, more and more, higher ed is becoming aware of, which is capacity development. Let’s say a university gives its president, provost, and/or deans a mandate to launch a digital transformation effort. So you’re building capacity online. If you sign a 10-year deal with the rev-share OPM, 10 years go by. At the end of that period, you haven’t developed any internal capacity for designing, building, launching, or running a successful online program. You’ve outsourced that to a 3rd party. When that contract comes up for renewal, you really don’t have much choice. You have this rev-share stream coming in that you’ve become addicted to. It’s funding other programs and initiatives. But you don’t have any capacity. So you’re forced to renew.

If you look at universities that are now beginning to come up on that contract renewal period … Simmons College comes to mind. They just renewed with 10 or 15 years with 2U. For Simmons, that was the only real decision that they had. They didn’t have any internal capacity, so they needed to renew that contract.

For a university, signing that first 10-year contract, you’re essentially signing away your digital future.

I think the fee for service is a way of building internal capacity. First of all, it’s not a long-term contract. But second of all, it’s not a bundle. You can say, “I need surge capacity to help with technology and course development, or marketing, or enrollment services.” As time goes by, and you hire internal staff, you can build internal capacity. That, I think is very important for universities of the future—to not only have a digital platform, but have the core capacity for delivering that digital experience within the core capabilities of the institution.


Henry Kronk: And who knows what online programs will look like in 10 years?

Furqan Nazeeri: The most entertaining thing to do is to go on the Wayback Machine. You can go back to 2005 and look at websites and it’s got like the Cha-Cha Baby from GeoCities and stuff.

The same thing is going to happen. It’s not like innovation is slowing down. In 10 years, it’s entirely possible we might have augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence—there’s so many different vectors of innovation that it just seems hard to commit your digital future to a single outsourced partner.

By the way, if you look at the market, 2/3 of universities that launched graduate programs have come to the same conclusion, right? They’ve done it internally or with staffing contractors or fee-for-service providers or others while a third of them have signed on to a revenue share OPM.


Henry Kronk: Extension Engine has a stated mission to “help every person get a great education, which ultimately will make the world a better place.” When it comes to online learning, many people believe it has the potential to increase equity in education. And there’s a lot to indicate that it has improved access for certain people, such as parents raising kids. A lot of data, however, also indicates that the same or similar academic achievement exhibited in brick-and-mortar institutions plays out online. How would you weigh in on this issue?

Furqan Nazeeri: It’s not a panacea. Online is not going to solve the income inequality that we see in the U.S. or the world, but it definitely helps. We worked with in 2017 a client who had launched an university in Africa online offering a bachelor’s degree competency based. The tuition price point is $3,000. For a bachelor’s degree. Not $3,000 a year, not $3,000 per semester, but $3,000 for the entire degree.

That’s not something you can do with a brick-and-mortar university, certainly not at scale. I think there is an opportunity to have an impact. I think it’s also challenging to structure. Getting into Harvard is insanely difficult for a degree program. But Harvard Business School online offers amazing quality online learning experiences at a fraction of the price. They’re still expensive, but they’re way cheaper than a degree and they’re accessible. Most people who are interested can get access to it. Now, 10s of thousands of people have been through these learning experiences.

It can be life-changing. I do think online can enable new forms of education delivery, but it can also make the existing brick-and-mortar face-to-face experience better, faster, cheaper. I’m bullish on online.


Starting in Online Learning: How Rochester Institute of Technology Navigates

Zoe Mackay, Chris Dowhan | IBL News

James Hall, the Dean of University Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology, spoke with IBL News about his work on “customized degree pathways at the associate, bachelors, and masters’ level.”

RIT has a “significant footprint on the main edX platform,” with two MicroMasters in cybersecurity and project management, and another coming soon in design thinking. RIT also has invested in professional certificates in soft skills and other short courses.

As a relatively new university in online education, Hall discusses some of the biggest challenges to transforming traditional education online.

“Our instructional design and production folks will tell you that they’re making it all up as they go. We’re benefitting a lot from the emergence of a kind of community of practice amongst MicroMasters folks in particular, and we spend a lot of time learning from each other. I think one of the rich things about both the Open edX and edX partnership is the ways in which there is a general enthusiasm of sharing knowledge.”

Watch the full interview with James Hall in the video below.



View: Few Impactful AI Developments On Education At Scale

By Mikel Amigot 
Developments in AI are now accelerating at an unprecedented rate. Several corporations are deploying AI at scale, as we noticed this week at the O’Reilly AI Conference in New York. There is faster hardware for sensing, model training and model inference; we saw new cloud and on-premise tools, architectures and pipelines. Among those impactful implementations, we didn’t find emerging developments for our learning industry.
Only one exhibitor out of 28 was on education: a Chinese company called Squirrel AI Learning, squirrelai.com. It featured itself as “the first pure-play AI-powered adaptive education provider in China”. “We provide personalized and high-quality K-12 after-school tutoring at an affordable price”. This company, owned by Yixue Group, says it has opened 1,700 schools, with a teaching staff of 3,000 in 200 cities across China. Apparently, it accumulates funding of $15 million.
Is China so ahead in AI-driven education?
We attended the O’Reilly-organized press conference with the experts in that industry to inquire about it.
Martial Hebert, a leading researcher and Director of Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, explained to us that there are a number of elements of AI that can be used on education at scale such as facial recognition.
This is an application which some companies already use in China, including the parent organization of Open edX-based platform XuetangX.com.
However, the state of this technology seems to be at a very early stage.
The goal of all of these tools, including the data analytics approach, aligns with the adaptive and personalized learning requirement. It means being able to respond to the student’s interaction in real-time by automatically providing her with individual support.
In small traditional classrooms, the lack of personalized attention can be tackled with an AI-based face recognition solution, especially if there is no data-protection concern, as it happens in China.
The machine reads the learner’s expression in order to determine whether he or she is struggling to grasp a subject. If so, the instructor receives a notification and modifies the lessons to respond accordingly.
This can be done with a reduced number of students, but is it feasible in online education at scale?
Carnegie Mellon is working on it, but it doesn’t seem to be close.

Up-skilling for Today’s Workforce: a Perspective from Lisa Stephens, SUNY

Zoe Mackay, Mikel Amigot | IBL News

Lisa Stephens, Assistant Dean for Digital Education at the University of Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Science and Senior Strategist in academic innovation for the State University of New York, shared her views on the necessity of upskilling modern workforces with IBL News at the 2019 Open edX conference in San Diego.

Online learning provides the opportunity for lifelong education catered to career professions who want to stay up to date, she says, and for traditional universities to fill this space and provide these programs.

There are a lot of people who need to up-skill in order to stay current and competitive in the job market…I think there is a huge opportunity for continuing and professional education, and MicroMasters and stackable credentials in particular.”

The SUNY system is a pioneer in open education resources (OER) production, such as their open textbook initiative, which she says leads to a “natural extension to then look at online education and opening up education in general.”

SUNY is interested in “data science, providing degree-based and continuing education.” Recently, the SUNY system launched a pilot instance of Open edX at the University of Buffalo — “we are experimenting and we are learning.”

In the process of experimenting with their pilot instance, Stephens finds that “there is an opportunity within [Open edX] for customization that we don’t see available to us in other platforms. Of course with that ability to be open and to be customized comes with it a lot of responsibility.”


Watch the full interview with Lisa Stephens in the video below.



“Transparent AI Will Revolutionize Online Learning”

Leveraging What Makes Us Human to Benefit the Learning Process: An Interview with Walter Bender

Zoe Mackay | IBL News

Walter Bender, the Chief Learning Architect at Sorcero and the founder of Sugar Labs and One Laptop One Child, shared with IBL News how transparent AI will revolutionize online learning following his talk at the Open edX conference last month in San Diego. The main goal, he posits, is to leverage what makes us human to become part of the learning process.

His talk, “Beyond the Black Box: How Transparent AI can Transform Learning,” focused on the strides that Sorcero is making with AI and online learning. With his extensive experience in academia and accessible and open online education, he says his experiences were “a case study for transparency, for providing tools and a framework.”

The natural extension from this was to switch gears and talk about AI, the “tool du jour in machine learning these days.”

One of the largest issues with machine learning, says Bender, is that “it’s completely opaque. The people using these tools don’t know how they work, they don’t know the consequences of what they are doing and there is no way to really relate to these tools.”

At Sorcero, they are taking a different approach, he says, by building “a hybrid AI that uses natural language processing in a much more structured way that is more similar to the way people understand the language… When it fails, it fails in a very human way…as opposed to having some strictly statistical model.”

He exemplifies the benefits of Sorcero’s approach while discussing the tools they’ve built for learner’s to ask questions. The AI first attempts to understand the questions, which may include a back and forth between the learner. If the question can be answered by the AI, it will answer, but if it cannot, it will consult the subject matter expert.

“One of the things that have happened repeatedly in our pilots is that the subject matter expert will say, ‘well why are they asking that?’ Well, they’re asking that because that’s the question that [the student] got, and that’s not what you taught them. So maybe you should think about teaching them that because that’s the kind of thing that they are bumping up against. So it is exposing these gaps. It’s providing some structure, feedback, and guidance to the SME as well in the mentoring process.”

A great benefit, he adds, is that “it’s really easy to drop into Open edX and use outside of Open edX as well.”

Watch the full interview with Walter Bender in the video below.

Harvard’s Blockstore Technology Will Enable Personalized Learning on Open edX

Zoe Mackay | IBL News

Robert Lue, the Faculty Director and Principal investigator for LabXchange at Harvard has envisioned an advanced way to create personalized learning paths through community engagement on Open edX with the upcoming release of Blockstore.

“The hope is that what Blockstore on Open edX will allow us to do is truly create an environment for learning that is extremely flexible,” he said.

LabXchange, which launches in September 2019, “represents a real effort to see if we can move Open edX to the next stage of evolution where we’ll be able to create much more flexible learning experiences that can be personalized.”

Personalized learning started with MOOCs, and while there are vast libraries of open educational resources, these learning assets are locked within specific learning sequences — or courses.

This is the issue LabXchange wants to fix, by proposing a single dynamic repository called the Blockstore. “Instead of [learning assets] being locked into courses, they are broken up at the asset level — to individual videos, problems, text documents, HTML pages, etc,” which are meta-tagged and searchable.

Lue shows how you will be able to build a new learning pathway, by utilizing individual learning assets, remixing them and creating customized content.

“What we’ve done is created a new environment where content can be used in a variety of different ways…this allows, for the first time, the ability to remix it and issue it with a unique URL that let’s say a teacher can share with her class free of charge.”

LabXchange has also created a learning network to share “what [people] have learned from,” which allows others to share the learning pathways that can be built, have personal profiles, and the ability to mentor.

“The hope is that what Blockstore on Open edX will allow us to do is truly create an environment for learning that is extremely flexible, that will [allow people] to work with an entirely different set of data around how content is used and reused by instructors, by learners, how are things clustered, how that aligns with performance, how that aligns with building proposals, to solve problems and what sort of networks can now form on a platform that allows you to network through learning and trying to solve problems.”

LabXchange will launch in September 2019, and Blockstore plans on being rolled out over the next two releases of Open edX.

Watch the Robert Lue’s full talk at the Open edX conference in the video below.



Open edX | April 2019: A Successful Conference, NVIDIA, MIT, UC San Diego, Ironwood…

Newsletter format  |  Click here to subscribe ]


APRIL 2019 – NEWSLETTER #15  |  More breaking news at IBL News 



• A successful Open edX conference in San Diego. 2020’s will be in Portugal

• edX says that it’s committed to advance mass personalization

• edX plans to change the economics of customer acquisition and retention in the OPM industry



• NVIDIA’s DLI reaches 120,000 learners and launches new courses on Data Science

• MIT’s ‘Intro to CS Using Python’ on edX reaches 1.2 million enrollments

• NYU Engineering offers a MicroMasters in Integrated Media on edX



• The Open edX platform will allow accessing course content without registration

• UC San Diego announces its Caliper Analytics integration with Open edX

• The Open edX Ironwood version is out

• Jupyter Cloud XBlock for Open edX via Google Colab



• “We are moving towards a more inclusive, comprehensive Open edX community”

• Open edX starts a series of podcasts interviewing leaders in online education



• Education Calendar  –   APRIL  |  MAY  |  JUNE  |  JULY  |  AUG – DEC 2019



This newsletter about Open edX is a monthly report compiled by the IBL News staff, in collaboration with IBL Education, a New York City-based company that builds AI analytics-driven, revenue-oriented learning ecosystems, and courses with Open edX and other educational software. 

Holy Cross and Notre Dame Start a New Model Around an Online Master’s

The University of Notre Dame and the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, have announced a Bachelor of Arts/Master of Science degree collaboration, opening a new educational model.

After graduation from Holy Cross, students participating in the program continue in Notre Dame’s online M.S., receiving their graduate degree the following spring.

“Integrating online professional-graduate education with an undergraduate liberal arts experience is a new frontier,” said Elliott Visconsi, associate provost and chief academic digital officer at Notre Dame.

 “This partnership helps Holy Cross to expand our curriculum in a high-demand field and connect our liberal arts model with professional graduate training, all while maintaining the deeply residential quality of the undergraduate experience. We are delighted to collaborate with Notre Dame to support our students in achieving their post-graduate goals and to cultivate ‘three-dimensional’ data scientists,” said Margaret Freije, provost, and dean of the faculty at College of the Holy Cross.