MOOCs Were Dead, but Now They Are Booming, According to The New York Times

IBL News | New York

Five years ago, The New York Times, in an extensively quoted report among academics keynoting on higher-ed conferences, had determined that MOOCs were dead. Low completion rates being below 5%, no business model behind them, and no impact on skyrocketing tuitions were the main reasons. In other words, disruption never occurred, and education wasn’t democratized.

Yesterday, however, the Gray Lay of the journalism–the New York Times–certified a new reality. “Remember the MOOCs? After Near-Death, They’re Booming,” was the headline. The confinement at home and the online move due to the pandemic has mostly caused “a jolt that could signal a renaissance for big online learning networks that had struggled for years,” wrote the veteran reporter Steve Lohr.

After millions of adults have signed up for online classes in the last two months, Coursera added 10 million new users from mid-March to mid-May–that is seven times the pace of new sign-ups in the previous year, according to the Times. Enrollments at edX and Udacity have jumped by similar multiples.

“Crises lead to accelerations, and this is the best chance ever for online learning,” said Sebastian Thrun, Founder of Udacity.

“Active learning works, and social learning works,” said Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX.

 

QS Releases Its U.S. University Ranking for 2020: Harvard, Stanford, and MIT Remain on Top

IBL News | New York

Moving online or not due to the pandemic, college rankings continue on their evaluation. Last week, the publisher of the QS World University Rankings released its American list.

According to this organization, the methodology evaluated how well universities are responding to the social, intellectual, and economic challenges, along with their effort to support the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development goals. “Universities are ranked according to their research performance and career outcomes as well as a range of indicators evaluating each institution’s social impact and attempts to foster excitability,” added QS Quacquarelli Symonds, the London-based publisher of the ranking, in a press release.

Harvard University appears as America’s top university, ahead of Stanford University (2nd) and MIT (3rd).

“On average, Harvard produces America’s most impactful research and most employable graduates,” said QS. “Five American colleges achieve perfect scores: Yale University, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, and Brown University.”

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. MIT
  4. University of California, Berkeley
  5. Columbia University
  6. University of California, Los Angeles
  7. Yale University
  8. University of Pennsylvania
  9. Princeton University
  10. Cornell University
  11. NYU
  12. University of Chicago
  13. Duke University
  14. Johns Hopkins University
  15. University of Southern California
  16. Northwestern University
  17. Carnegie Mellon University
  18. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  19. Caltech
  20. Brown University
  21. Boston University
  22. Rice University
  23. Georgetown University
  24. University of Washington
  25. University of Texas at Austin> Complete Ranking

“As the global graduate jobs market becomes even more competitive, our research suggests that students are placing a greater emphasis on this information. With the pandemic further disrupting the graduate employment market, we predict that concern about the relationship between education and employability will intensify,” said Ben Sowter, Research Director at QS.

U.S. Colleges Will Lose Over $3 Billion After International Student Enrollment Decline This Upcoming Fall

IBL News | New York

American colleges and universities will lose at least $3 billion due to anticipated international student enrollment declines this fall, in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a financial survey from NAFSA, the Association of International Educators.

Results of the survey indicate that U.S. higher education overall has potentially lost nearly $1 billion due to shortened or canceled study abroad programs.

“A decline in international student enrollments will force institutions to revise international student enrollment management strategies, but they will take time to rebuild—most likely several years,” states the report.

“With travel restrictions, visa delays, and economic instability worldwide, COVID-19 has been incredibly harmful to the field of international education,” said Esther D. Brimmer, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, in a press statement.

Now institutions are reducing staff hours, eliminating staff positions, and introducing furloughs to recoup current losses, and bracing for future shortfalls. Sixty-five percent of respondents said that staff positions in education abroad offices have already been or may be impacted.

The foreign students contribute moran than $44 billion annually and nearly 500,000 jobs, according to the Department of Commerce.

Moodle Says It Accounts for Over 200 Million Users and 151,000 Websites

IBL News | New York

Moodle, the legacy open-source LMS, continues its growth. Now it accounts for over 200 million users, according to the company data. The schools’ lockdown and the move to learning have given Moodle a push.

Martin Dougiamas, CEO at Moodle HQ in Australia, said there are 150,000 created with its software.

According to LMSPulse.com, Spain has become the number one Moodle country, overpowering the U.S. In addition, the rise of Colombia to the top 10, denotes the dominance of the Spanish language on the Moodle universe.

Since its release, 18 years ago, the Moodle platform has been adding upgrades. Recent improvements include the H5P integration, MoodleNet, Participants filter, Accessibility, Safe Exam Browser, and the mobile portal apps.moodle.com.

The Moodle 3.9 version is expected within three weeks, on June 8th.

MasterClass.com Reaches a Valuation of Over $800 Million After Raising $100 Million

IBL News | New York

MasterClass.com, an educational platform that sells celebrity-taught online courses, reached a valuation of over $800 million, after raising $100 million in a Series E round.

Fidelity Management & Research Company led the round, with participation from new investors including Owl Ventures, 01 Advisors, and existing investors NEA, IVP, Atomico, and Next Equity.

MasterClass makes its revenue by selling an annual subscription of $180. Since its creation in 2015, the startup has produced 85 classes, or “masters”, on business and leadership, culinary arts, photography, writing, and lifestyle. It has included celebrities like Anna Wintour, Gordon Ramsey, and Serena Williams, speaking, respectively, about how to grow a business, and how to play tennis.

Online courses are positioned more as entertainment-focused, rather than education-focused. They include high-quality, documentary-style content, broken down in separate videos that range from 20 to 30 minutes. Students are able to download a workbook and can flock to a virtual community to chat with their classmates.

CEO and co-founder David Rogier said that the raised capital will be used to create new classes and up production to one class a week. The company is also experimenting with an audio-only mode, short-form, and augmented reality. “Imagine if we had Steph Curry, but you had augmented reality on your phone so you could actually see where to put your feet,” he explained.

 

UC Davis’ Professional Ed Courses Soar to 4,000 Enrollments Per Day

IBL News | New York

The UC Davis’ Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) division announced that it has reached one million enrollments on its development programs on Coursera. In addition, CPE also offers training to the employees of nearly 2,000 organizations through the same platform.

The institution is registering about 4,000 new individual enrollments per day, according to its data, while before the pandemic, the growth was 4,000 per week.

“The [one million enrollments] milestone reflects the essential role that CPE and its faculty partners play in creating access to workforce development programs globally,” said Susan Catron, Dean of UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education.

UC Davis offers 60 courses, nine specializations, and one “MasterTrack” on Coursera.

The most popular specializations offered are SQL for Data ScienceIntroduction to SEOFundamentals of GIS, and Coaching Skills for Managers.

UC Davis announced that it is adding new offerings of courses, such as Javascript, Spatial Analytics, Emotional Intelligence, Growth Mindset “and other high-demand topics aimed at closing the skills gap and supporting career advancement.”

 

Rancher.com Creates a Free Online Certification Program for Developers

IBL News | New York

Rancher Labs, creators of a widely adopted Kubernetes management platform, announced today the launch of an online certification program through the newly created Rancher Academy.

“It’s a professional, no-cost, zero obligation education platform centered on empowering commercial customers and the open-source community to be successful with Kubernetes and Rancher,” explained Peter Smails, CMO at Rancher Labs.

The first available course is a free, self-paced, 5-week class, “Certified Rancher Operator: Level 1”.  The class is designed to teach developers with a basic understanding of Docker and Kubernetes how to deploy and use Rancher, RKE, along with how to work with downstream clusters.

The course includes a mix of passive and active learning, with increasing detail and difficulty over the five weeks. Components of the learning experience include video introductions, theory work, demonstrations, hands-on labs, quizzes, and a final exam.

Learners will be able to earn a certificate upon demonstrating their knowledge and competence with Kubernetes and Rancher.

“The training is ideal for open source practitioners, partners supporting their customers and end-user customers looking to maximize their investment in Kubernetes, as well as any individual looking to increase their Rancher and Kubernetes competency in order to advance their careers,” stated the company.

New classes are scheduled to be announced later this year.

“Rancher Academy addresses the strong demand for a professional, certification-led program, while further cementing Rancher’s commitment to education,” said the Cupertino, California-based startup, in a press release.

According to the company, Rancher Labs experienced a 250% increase in its Rodeo and Master Classes registrations over the past year.  As an extension of Rancher’s education strategy, the next step has been a training initiative to formalize skills and competencies with a professional, enterprise certification program.

The launch of Rancher Academy has been led by Adrian Goins, Director of Community and Evangelism at Rancher Labs.

The learning ecosystem is powered by IBL Education.

Rancher.com reports having over 30,000 active users and 100 million downloads.

Over 10,000 Museums Across the World Won’t Open Due to the Global Health Crisis

Mikel Amigot, IBL News | New York

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit museums hard, and over 10,000 may never reopen.

On May 18, International Museum Day, new studies conducted by UNESCO and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) found that 13% of the more than 85,000 museums across the globe that have closed due to the virus will stay shut down.

As a result of the closures, the losses have skyrocketed. In the United States alone, art institutions are losing an estimated $33 million a day, according to the American Alliance of Museums.

In addition, the global health crisis has exposed the precarious position of cultural workers, with thousands of employees laid off or furloughed.

“The museum field cannot survive on its own without the support of the public and private sectors,” said Suay Aksoy, President at ICOM. “It is imperative to raise emergency relief funds and to put in place policies to protect professionals and self-employed workers on precarious contracts.”

Audrey Azoulay, General Manager at UNESCO, promised to aid museums since “they play a fundamental role in the resilience of societies.”

That assistance may materialize on the ResiliArt movement, launched by UNESCO in April.

The UN agency will host a series of debates, panels, and other events to generate discussion about how art and cultural institutions, organizations, and workers will need to adapt in order to survive.

According to UNESCO, social protection of museum staff, digitization and inventorying of collections, and online content development, are among the top priorities that need to be addressed – all of which require financial resources.

UNESCO also pointed out that since 2012, the global number of museums has increased by almost 60%, demonstrating how important they have become in national cultural policies over the last decade.

Museums play a fundamental role in education, culture, and in supporting the local and regional creative economy, according to UNESCO.

 

Eduventures Encourages to Re-Think Online Learning While Analyzing Scenarios

IBL News | New York

Colleges and universities face an uncertain future for the fall semester, amid the sharpest economic contraction in nearly a century.

Higher education research company, Eduventures has weighed out the variables for enrollment scenarios for Fall 2020. Essentially, a severe downturn can happen, with a 30% drop, but also, in the other extreme, with a surge of 10%.

Eduverntures’s “Fall 2020 Enrollment Scenarios” report highlights the “broadening view that a college education is increasingly essential for at least a middle-class lifestyle,” and with this perspective states that “in the Great Recession of 2007-09 traditional-aged undergraduate enrollment grew about 3% in fall 2007 and fall 2008.”

The graphic below reflects Eduventures’ five enrollment scenarios for fall 2020.

 

On the positive scenario, Richard Garrett, Eduventures Chief Research Officer at Eduventures, explains that “if federal stimulus, subsidizing either schools or families or both, is strong enough to match the scale of the downturn, many households will regard school as welcome continuity and an investment in the future. Since many jobs open to high school graduates will be unavailable mid-pandemic, a strong stimulus will persuade more young people than normal to enroll.”

Also, “if schools can reimagine the traditional undergraduate experience online—going beyond the standard online playbook aimed at no-frills adults to encompass cohort bonding and extra-curricular—then fall 2020 might be (almost positively) positioned as a creative hybrid of community solidarity and educational futurism.”

“When other funding sources, notably states, the stock market, and philanthropy, are in doubt, schools need an online vision and reality that justifies standard tuition and funds financial aid.”

“This might prove to be a heavy lift: not simply to transition from emergency remote instruction to good online learning practice but to re-think, in a few short months, a modality that up to now most young people and many faculty members have dismissed out-of-hand.”

Richard Garrett predicts that “in almost any scenario, students will be more likely to study closer to home and at less expensive schools, favoring in-state publics and community colleges.”

Fully online institutions may also do well. If family finances are really strained, low-priced online course providers, like Straighterline and Outlier, may rise in prominence with students and parents calculating that banking some general education credits may be the best way to ride out the crisis and get a jump on fall 2021. An austerity-driven DIY mentality may take hold, boosting the appeal of noncredit, self-paced MOOC-type courses. Some firms have made their course catalogs available free for a limited time.”

edX Reports 100 Million Unique Enrollments After a Growth of 20 Million

IBL News | New York

edX.org, the non-profit venture created by MIT and Harvard University in 2012, has reached a milestone of 100 million unique enrollments, after an increase of 20 million during the pandemic time. Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX, announced this achievement in a video message yesterday.

“Eight years ago, we started a movement when we launched our first course and since then have grown to 100 million enrollments and counting,” said Agarwal.

At the beginning of the year, edX reported 80 million unique enrollments and 24 million unique users, along with over 3,000 courses and 1.6 million certificates issued.

This data was included in a document titled the “2020 Impact Report.”

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