LinkedIn Will Match Users With Lynda.com’s Courses After Completing This Acquisition

Lynda.com was acquired last week by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion (52 percent cash and 48 percent stock).

Founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, Lynda has a massive library of 6,300 courses and 267,000 video tutorials. In addition to individual subscribers, lynda.com serves corporate, government and educational organizations through its lyndaEnterprise, lyndaPro, lyndaCampus, lyndaLibrary and lyndaKiosk products.

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with over 300 million members worldwide, stated that “lynda.com’s high-quality content provides opportunity for members to easily gain the professional skills they need to get hired and advance their careers”, while Lynda Weinman said that “we have a shared vision of connecting relevant knowledge to those in need of new or stronger skills”.

It seems that LinkedIn will try to match users with courses that fill gaps in their skill sets. Regarding the badges and certifications challenge, currently Lynda.com gives certificates of completion to individuals who finish most of their courses. However, it is unclear how much value employers and recruiters will place in these badges and micro-credentials.

 

Online Courses Challenge College Admissions

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How do you determine whether prospective students are prepared for the best colleges?

Today grading standards vary among teachers and high schools. Personal essays could have been written by someone else or engineered because of the work of essay-writing coaches. SAT and ACT scores can be maximized through prep courses and different techniques that have little to do with achievement. Letters of recommendations and extracurricular activities are also imprecise measurement tools. Add to this the monetary contributions from wealthy families and Ivy League slots in high schools.

This imperfect information system is reflected by the fact that more than one in four students who start college drop out or transfer within three years.

MOOCs offered by dozens of elite colleges give high school students a chance to prove that they are ready for a university. In turn, the institution gets an accurate measure of whether a student is prepared for academics. edX and Coursera offer real courses –sometimes eves the same classes that are taught to freshmen– from the world’s greatest universities.

  • “MOOC success is much more likely to predict success in college classes than SAT scores, because MOOC success is, in fact, success in college classes”, explains Kevin Carey, director of policy program at New America.
  • “Online college courses also can be a better measure of student aptitude than Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes, which are considered in admissions by many colleges.”
  • “The availability of real, free college courses means universities won’t have to rely on such flawed proxies in the future. Instead they’ll be able to pick and choose from among students who have already demonstrated that they can excel at demanding college work.” 

Colleges are now figuring out how to incorporate MOOCs into admissions and make them recruiting tools. On the other side, students are listing MOOCs among extracurricular activities.

“It will become much harder for privileged parents to help their less-talented children game the system. Unless, of course, elite schools really wanted the children of the rich and powerful all along.”

[The Washington Post: Goodbye, SAT: How online courses will change college admissions]

EdX Will Become the Leader in Website Accessibility for Learners with Disabilities

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“edX will become the world leader in website accessibility for learners with disabilities”
, said Tena Herlihy, edX General Counsel, after the educational portal voluntarily entered into an agreement with the US Department of Justice.

After this agreement, edX will conform its website, platform and mobile applications, to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA (WCAG 2.00 AA), published by the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C’s) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

“Our vision—quality education for everyone, everywhere—can only be achieved when our site is accessible to all users, including people with disabilities”.

The edX and Open edX platform already incorporates synchronized transcripts, video replay at different speeds, keyboard-accessible controls, support for screen reader users and tools to enable the creation of accessible content. Shortly, edX will release Student Notes, the first accessible text annotation tool.

"The Future of MOOCs is yet to be Written", Says a HarvardX and MITx Report

HarvardX and MITx have released a paper that explores how audiences used MOOCs from the fall of 2012 to the summer of 2014.  In that period, the growth of MOOC participants was linear –but not exponential, at a rate of about 1,300 per day.

The report concludes that the future of MOOCs is yet to be written.

[Paper: HarvardX and MITx: Two Years of Open Online Courses Fall 2012-Summer 2014]

 

Stanford Open edX Changes its Name to Lagunita

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Stanford’s Open edX platform, class.stanford.edu, has been rebranded to Lagunita (http://lagunita.stanford.edu), changed its look and introduced some behind-the-scenes improvements.

“We named Lagunita after the lake near our headquarters on the Stanford University grounds. It’s a peaceful place to walk, ruminate, and spot Northern California wildlife in the midst of a vibrant campus,” explains Stanford’s team.

This Open edX instance, launched in April 2013, is part of the Stanford Online initiative.

An Essential Course on HTML5 on EdX, Taught by the Creators of This Language

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a 14-year-old global organization that sets standards for the Web (HTML5’s among others), will soon launch its first course on edX, HTML5 Part 1.

This 6-weeks-long course, scheduled in June, is led by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and CEO Dr. Jeff Jaffe, and includes experts who helped create HTML5. It is oriented to students interested in learning HTML5 and core Web technologies as well as creating rich websites and applications.

HTML5 is now supported on mobile phones, connected objects, game consoles, and automobile dashboards. It provides native support for video and audio without plug-ins as well as offline applications. “HTML5 represents the set of features that entrepreneurs and organizations will rely on for years to come,” say the course creators.

$70K is the Average Cost of Producing An Online Course

What is the cost of creating and running a MOOC? And how much money is your College or University willing to invest in it to develop distance learners’ skills?

post on Linkedin has gotten our attention.

  • University of Texas says their cost is $100k to $300k per course.
  • Teachers College at Columbia University estimates them to range from $39k to $204k each.
  • Harvard’s costs range from $75k to $150k.
  • Cornell says that the cost of supporting a MOOC instructor, materials, and teaching assistant is about $50k.
  • Udacity reports costs of $200k to produce a course, plus $50K to run it subsequently. And costs are only expected to rise, they say.
  • edX gives grants of $50k for creating a course within its “High School Program”.

The two main cost components are course creation (faculty, admins, instructional designers, technical support) and the type of delivery. It is generally estimated that the cost of a high quality video production is approximately $4,300 per hour of finished video.

On average, $70k is the cost to produce a course; the delivery costs range from $10-20 per learner to access the course on Amazon or internal servers.

"Digital Credentials Will Allow Free Online Courses to Revolutionize Education"

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“Free online courses won’t revolutionize education until there is a parallel system of free or low-fee credentials, not controlled by traditional colleges, that leads to jobs,” says Kevin Carey, author of the essay “The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere”.

The new digital credentials, or badges, can solve this problem. Badges indicate specific skills and knowledge, backed by links to electronic evidence of how and why the credentials were earned. In addition, badges are not limited to what people learned in college, but everywhere else. In the meantime, traditional college degrees are inadequate tools for communicating information and presenting that data to employers.

Read the complete article here.

Update: The Mozilla Foundation’s Open Badges project has been leading the badges effort, although the project is dying and about to be abandoned, according to experts consulted by IBL News.

[Disclosure: IBL Studios presented in November 2014 the first badge system for edX and Open edX]

 

The Top Ten Learning Sites For Entrepreneurs

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edX.org is the number one free online resource that can make entrepreneurs more successful, according to Business Insider.

“Taking time for a class can seem tiring, time-consuming, and expensive”.

Business Insider has compiled a list of the top free online learning sites:

  1. EdX.
  2. Alison.
  3. MIT OpenCourseware.
  4. Coursera.
  5. Microsoft Virtual Academy.
  6. Code Academy.
  7. Moz.
  8. HubSpot Academy.
  9. iTunesU.
  10. Doulingo.
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