Coursera Introduces Its First Fully Online Bachelor’s from an American University

IBL News | New York

The University of North Texas (UNT) will offer the first bachelor’s degree from a U.S. university on Coursera.

The Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (B.A.A.S.) program creates an affordable and attractive degree pathway for community college students, military veterans, international learners, and non-traditional students.

For example, students who successfully complete the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, hosted on Coursera, will be able to earn credit toward the degree.

“The program will offer students the same engaging support, personal interaction, and career services as our on-campus B.A.A.S. program to ensure they are set up for success post-graduation,” said Dr. Jennifer Cowley, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at UNT.

This four-year degree will cost $330 per credit hour. Students who complete 45 credit hours will see a total tuition cost of $14,850.

The university announced that it will provide each applicant with a pre-advisor to help create a customized degree plan. Once admitted to the program, the student will receive guidance through a permanent advising team.

The B.A.A.S. will begin in fall 2020, while applications will open this February.

“An estimated 35% of jobs in the U.S. require at least a bachelor’s degree, yet 36 million Americans have attended some college, but never completed their degree,” commented in a blog post Dil Sidhu, Chief Content Officer at Coursera.

Harvard and Amgen Announce LabXchange.org, an Open Platform with Scientific Content

IBL News | New York

Harvard University and the Amgen Foundation announced this week the launch of the LabXchange.org platform, intended to promote science education, mainly among high school and college students.

The free online tool provides access to a library of educational content, including videos, interactive simulations, and assessments. It also offers the ability to mix and match materials, empowering teachers to create flexible learning pathways for classes or personalized instruction for students.

The platform includes a global networking functionality, enabling teachers to collaborate across the scientific community.

Dr. Robert Lue, principal investigator of LabXchange and professor of the Practice of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard, said, “too many high school and college students lack the opportunity to directly explore the scientific process – where you build a hypothesis, understand a method, and determine how to apply it to an appropriate experimental problem.”

LabXchange builds upon other Amgen Foundation programs, such as the Amgen Biotech Experience and Amgen Scholars, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard Unversity (Harvard FAS).

The platform itself contains content from multiple partners and sources, including Khan Academy –so far the most active contributor:

The platform is built upon the open-source Open edX platform. Last year, Harvard committed to releasing the whole code on GitHub, although no mention was made on the last public announcement.

 

XuetangX Raises Another $15 Million to Add AI Technology and Expand Its Catalog

IBL News | New York

XuetangX, the largest MOOC platform in China, announced on December the completion of Series B funding, raising over 100 million yuan (or $15 million), according to Jiemodui.com.

The funding will be mostly used to strengthen the research on artificial intelligence and other technologies as well as the development of new courses –revealed Fan Xin, Vice President of Tsinghua Holdings and Chairman of Xuetang Online.

The round was led by Mu Hua Capital, Gao Rong Capital, Red Dot China, and other old shareholders. In the years 2014 and 2015, XuetangX raised $15 million and $17.6 million.

Launched by Tsinghua University in 2013, XuetangX currently runs over 2,500 courses and hosts over 20 million learners. Additionally, XuetangX hosts innovative initiatives, including AI Xuetang–a personalized learning platform for K-12 education–Micro-Degrees, Rain Classroom, XuetangX Cloud, and AI-based teacher Xiaomu, as reported by IBL News.

The Chinese platform is built on the Open edX software, with a heavily modified code.

However, according to Class Central, in the past few months, XuetangX has been testing a new platform no longer based on Open edX, which can be found at next.xuetangx.com.

Therefore, a different pedagogy and technology would soon be implemented, featuring new functionalities, such as a progress bar and a score that reflects student’s performance, a content menu on the left, a comment sidebar on the bottom right corner, and the removal of the “self-paced mode”. [See the look and feel below, in an image captured by Class Central]

Google Expands Its IT Support Offering on Coursera.org by Adding Python and Automation

IBL News | New York

Google introduced last week on Coursera a new beginner-level, six-course certificate program to provide IT professionals with skills on Python, Git, GitHub, and IT automation:

  1. Crash Course on Python;
  2. Using Python to interact with the Operating System;
  3. Introduction to Git and GitHub;
  4. Troubleshooting and Debugging Techniques;
  5. Configuration Management and the Cloud; and
  6. Automating Real-World Tasks with Python, including a final project designed to simulate problem-solving in an actual job environment.

This career-oriented, 3-month certificate ($49 per month) is designed to teach how to program with Python and how to use this language –the most in-demand by employers today– to automate common system administration tasks. The goal is to prepare workers for positions such as IT Support Specialist and Junior Systems Administrator.

Upon completing the Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate, learners will have the option to share their information with potential employers, including Walmart, Sprint, Hulu, Bank of America, and Google.

Released under a Creative Commons license, the program is part of the company’s Grow with Google initiative – which launched two years ago its first certificate program, the successful Google IT Support Professional Certificate, with over 120K enrolled, and among them, a 84%  reporting a career impact like getting a raise, finding a new job, or starting a business.

 

 

 

WGU Provides Details on Its MicroBachelor: Successful Completion Does Not Mean Automatic Accreditation

IBL News | New York

New details emerged today on Western Governors University (WGU)’s first MicroBachelors program developed in partnership with edX.

In a press release, WGU announced that its Information Technology (IT) program will be available to students around the world through edX.org and will stack into seven bachelor’s degree programs at the university.

These bachelor’s degree programs include: B.S. Computer Science, B.S. Software Development, B.S. Cloud and Systems Administration, B.S. Data Management/Data Analytics, B.S. Information Technology, B.S. Cybersecurity, and Information Assurance, and B.S. Network Operations and Security.

However, the completion of this series of low-cost, certificate-granting courses –they cost $1,347 and grant 10 competency units (CUs)– does not mean automatic admission to Western Governors University. While the MicroBachelors does fulfill many of the requirements for bachelor’s programs in IT at WGU, students will still need to apply to WGU and be accepted; admission is not automatic,” warns the first FAQ at the website.

In addition, the program comes with a time limit of three months. “If the coursework is completed within the quarter, the learner will receive credit for the course and passing of the assessment. If the work is completed outside of the quarter, the learner will not receive any credit for the task or assessment completed toward a certification.” 

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Includes the “Freshman Year for Free” Program in His Agenda

IBL News | New York

SUNY Empire State College will offer the full library of free online college courses and materials of ModernStates.org at no cost to students of the state of New York and as an opportunity to earn up to full year of college credit tuition-free.

This initiative was announced this Thursday by New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of his 2020 Making Progress Happen‘s agenda and a result of a partnership between SUNY and ModernStates.org, creator of the so-called “Freshman Year for Free” program.

In addition to the unlimited free use of courses, Modern States Education Alliance– New York-based nonprofit organization, that manages the ModernStates.org educational portal–announced that it will also cover the cost for up to 1,000 credit-bearing exams for all students, especially New York veterans, and active-duty military families.

Students who complete one or more Modern States online college courses and pass a CLEP (College Level Examination Program) exam will earn credit through SUNY Empire State College. The credits earned will be transferable to other SUNY schools. SUNY Empire students will be able to access the Modern States program through a cobranded web portal.

“This partnership offers real savings — for every free course and exam passed, students and their families can save $1,000 to $2,000 in college costs,” said SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras.

Launched in August 2017, the ModernStates.org program has more than 180,000 registered users to date and has paid for approximately 30,000 exams for New Yorkers and students around the world.

The organization uses a highly customized learning ecosystem built on Open edX by IBL Education –the parent company of the IBL News nonprofit media service.

Available courses –also designed by IBL Education– include American Government, American Literature, Chemistry, Physics, College Algebra, Accounting, Spanish and many others. These online classes are taught by college professors in all 33 subjects for which there is a credit-bearing CLEP exam from the College Board, the same organization that offers the SAT and AP tests.

Students can take one course or many. The pass rate of students who use ModernStates.org to prepare for a CLEP exam is 73 percent, well above the national average, according to data provided by the organization.

In addition to paying the $89 CLEP exam fee, ModernStates.org reimburses students for test center fees, typically $25.

More than 2,900 colleges and universities accept CLEP for credit, including major universities such as Ohio State, University of Wisconsin, Penn State, Texas State, Morehouse, and others.

SUNY Empire currently offers more than 800 online courses, supported by more than 30 campuses and learning hubs across New York state and the world.

First Online MBA on edX: “If We Don’t Do it, Someone Else Will,” Says Boston University

IBL News | New York

Beginning in fall 2020, Boston University (BU) and its Questrom School of Business will offer a low-cost online MBA worldwide on edX.org – a platform created in 2012 by Harvard University and MIT, now with more than 21 million registered users. Its tuition will be $24,000.

The university sees this MBA – the first one offered through edX – as an opportunity for growth, and to be a disruptor, in a changing landscape.

“With the online MBA, we’re seizing the initiative to offer a major degree for which we believe there is global demand. Higher education must evolve in a fast-changing world. We aim to lead in this evolution,” President Robert A. Brown said in Boston Today.

In launching the online MBA, the university is investing in the potential to deliver high-quality online graduate programs with the capability for large-enrollment rates, which could be key in the near future, said Jean Morrison, BU Provost and Chief Academic Officer.

“Through this degree, BU opens itself to the world in a manner we haven’t done before,” stated Chrysanthos Dellarocas, Associate Provost for Digital Learning & Innovation.

“This is a paradigm shift on so many levels,” adds Susan Fournier, Allen Questrom Professor and Dean of the Questrom School of Business.

“The way to think about it is, if we don’t do it, someone else will. We might as well be the ones that lead the pack,” added Dellarocas.

Because of the affordability of the program, BU will not offer scholarships to online students, although scholarships are available from a variety of external sources. Federal financial aid will be available to enrolled Questrom Online MBA students, as well.

Regarding instructional challenges, Chrysanthos Dellarocas, who is also the Richard C. Shipley Professor in Management, noted that “it will drive us to get really clever in exploring how far we can take peer engagement and how creatively we can combine technology and human instructors.”

There are 300 full-time and 600 to 700 part-time students in the on-campus MBA program and 50 to 60 in the executive MBA program.

 

edX Partnership

BU has already been in partnership with edX for six years, offering a number of free or low-cost MOOCs, and in the last couple of years two MicroMasters in business, where students take five courses and earn a certificate.

“I think this is exciting, having an online MBA from a top school that can be made available to the whole world on edX. I think it’s a big deal,” said Anant Agarwal, edX co-CEO on BT Today. “It is one of the highest-demanded programs on edX.”

Last fall edX offered its first 10 master’s degree programs, including a master’s in analytics from the Georgia Institute of Technology, with currently 3,000 learners enrolled.

Additionally, edX offers more than 2,000 MOOCs from 140 schools, usually available free, as well as 53 MicroMasters and 94 professional certificate programs.

About two-thirds of edX’s learners already have bachelor’s degrees and are typically looking for employment or to advance within their jobs.

BU TodayQuestrom to Offer Online MBA with edX in 2020

A Dynamic 2019 for Open edX, edX, Coursera, and Udacity: IBL’s Top-20 Headlines

IBL News | New York

Platforms dedicated to providing online education at scale saw a high-powered 2019.

Without attracting attention from the mainstream or financial media, teams at Open edX, edX, Coursera, Udacity, and others quietly moved forward in their development this year. While Coursera and Udacity were still considering their IPOs, edX continued strengthening its financial sustainability.

Several initiatives on the Open edX open-source ecosystem also made headlines.

Here is the IBL News’ selection of the top-20 stories:

 

Open edX

• The Open edX Ironwood version is out. Open edX Issues Ironwood.2, a New Release of Its Platform

• A successful Open edX conference in San Diego. 2020’s will be in Portugal. Open edX Posts Videos of All Talks from Their Recent Conference

• Harvard’s Blockstore Technology Will Enable Personalized Learning on Open edX. The Next Evolutionary Step in MOOCs Will Be ‘Blockstore’, Says Robert Lue, from Harvard

• XuetangX, China’s Open edX Platform, Reaches 16M Learners

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

 

edX

• edX Offers Its First Online MBA, from BU Questrom School of Business

• The edX Organization Adopts a More Commercial Structure Appointing a New Co-CEO

• edX Cancels Its Annual Partners Conference Scheduled in Hong Kong Due to Safety Concerns

• edX Announces Its Eleventh Degree: A Master’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering

• Two Professors from Dartmouth and IMT of France Awarded After their ‘C Programming with Linux’ Course

 

Coursera

• Coursera’s Blockbuster Classes of 2019: Preeminence of AI, with 2M Enrollments

• Coursera Offers Its 3,600-Course Catalog to Non-Affiliated Universities

• Coursera’s Google IT Support Certificate Program Gets a Good Response

• Coursera for Business Claims 100% Year-Over-Year Customer Growth

• Illinois Shuts Down its Traditional MBA and Focuses into Online’s iMBA

 

Udacity

• Udacity Will Fund 100,000 Scholarships As Part of the Pledge to America’s Workers

• Udacity’s Achievement with its Nanodegree Program: Over 100,000 Graduates

 

Industry

• The New Standard LTI 1.3, which Allows Interoperability of Grades and Assignments, Excites the Industry

• Google Classroom, One of the World’s Top LMS: 40M Users In Five Years

• Black Friday and Cyber Monday: edX, Pluralsight, Udemy, and Skillshare Join the Marketing Season

 

 

2019’s Most Popular Online Courses According to Class Central

IBL News | New York

ClassCentral.com issued a list of the 100 most popular free online university courses of 2019. These MOOCs have been developed by 68 universities.

In the past eight years, over 900 universities have launched 13,500 online courses, which have been taken by 110 million learners.

Class Central’s ranking is based on data generated from the users on its website, specifically regarding enrollments and bookmarks.

This is the list:

University of Tasmania
Understanding Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
via FutureLearn

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Differential Equations for Engineers
via Coursera

British Council
Teaching English: How to Plan a Great Lesson
via FutureLearn

Princeton University
The Art of Structural Engineering: Vaults
via edX

University of Groningen
Improving Your Study Techniques
via FutureLearn

British Council
Understanding IELTS: Speaking
via FutureLearn

Doon University, Dehradun, UGC
Mathematical Economics
via Swayam

Princeton University
Constitutional Interpretation
via edX

The University of Texas at Austin
Happier Employees and Return-On-Investment Course
via edX

The University of British Columbia
Gender and Sexuality: Applications in Society
via edX

University of Leeds
The IB Extended Essay: Managing your Research Project
via FutureLearn

University System of Maryland
Agile Leadership Principles
via edX

Banaras Hindu University, UGC
ANIMATIONs
via Swayam

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Python and Statistics for Financial Analysis
via Coursera

Tel Aviv University
Unlocking Information Security: Part Ⅰ
via edX

University of Minnesota
Herbal Medicine
via Coursera

Amnesty International
Digital Security and Human Rights
via edX

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Fundamentals of Statistics
via edX

British Council
Ideas for a Better World: Leading Change Through Policymaking
via FutureLearn

Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, NPTEL
Ethical Hacking
via Swayam

University of California, Santa Cruz
C for Everyone: Programming Fundamentals
via Coursera

University of Roehampton
The Tudors
via FutureLearn

Microsoft
Data Analysis: A Practical Introduction for Absolute Beginners
via edX

McMaster University
Hacking Exercise For Health. The surprising new science of fitness.
via Coursera

IBM
Python for Data Science and AI
via Coursera

Tecnológico de Monterrey
Critical thinking: reasoned decision making
via edX

University of Colorado System
Managing ADHD, Autism, Learning Disabilities, and Concussion in School
via Coursera

University of Colorado Boulder
Cannabis, Mental Health, and Brain Disorders
via Coursera

Yale University
Introduction to Climate Change and Health
via Coursera

EDHEC Business School
Python and Machine Learning for Asset Management
via Coursera

University of Toronto
Introduction to Self-Driving Cars
via Coursera

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Applying Data Analytics in Finance
via Coursera

Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute
Introduction to Applied Machine Learning
via Coursera

State University of New York
Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World
via Coursera

Macquarie University
Negotiation skills: Negotiate and resolve conflict
via Coursera

University of Virginia
Hypothesis-Driven Development
via Coursera

MathWorks
Exploratory Data Analysis with MATLAB
via Coursera

University of Rochester
Introduction to Self-Determination Theory: An approach to motivation, development and wellness
via Coursera

University of Michigan
Foundational Skills for Communicating About Health
via Coursera

University of Pennsylvania
Exploring Renewable Energy Schemes
via Coursera

Eindhoven University of Technology
Improving Your Statistical Questions
via Coursera

Harvard University
The Health Effects of Climate Change
via edX 3-5

Harvard University
China’s Political and Intellectual Foundations: From Sage Kings to Confucius
via edX

The University of Hong Kong
Blockchain and FinTech: Basics, Applications, and Limitations
via edX

The University of Texas at Austin
Machine Learning
via edX

Hong Kong Polytechnic University
English@Work: Basic Job Interview Skills
via edX

Harvard University
Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice
via edX 1-3

Columbia University
Freedom of Expression and Information in the Time of Globalization: Foundational Course
via edX

Harvard University
CS50 for Lawyers
via edX

Harvard University
Women Making History: Ten Objects, Many Stories
via edX 2-3

Google
Advanced Android with Kotlin
via Udacity

Stanford University
The New World of Arnold Schönberg’s Piano Music
via Stanford OpenEdx

International Monetary Fund
Financial Development and Financial Inclusion
via edX 8-10

Linux Foundation
Exploring GraphQL: A Query Language for APIs
via edX

Harvard University
Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking
via edX 2-3

The World Bank
The Future of Work: Preparing for Disruption
via edX

Research and Development in Discrete Industries
via openSAP

Harvard University
Backyard Meteorology: The Science of Weather
via edX

University of the Witwatersrand
Academic writing for clarity and meaning
via edX 2-3 hours

University of Michigan
Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills
via FutureLearn

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, NPTEL
An Introduction to Programming through C++
via Swayam

Indian Institute of Technology Madras, NPTEL
Python for Data Science
via Swayam

Chennai Mathematical Institute, NPTEL
Programming, Data Structures And Algorithms Using Python
via Swayam

Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, NPTEL
Programming in Java
via Swayam

University of California, Berkeley
Mindfulness and Resilience to Stress at Work
via edX

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Machine Learning with Python: from Linear Models to Deep Learning
via edX

University of Strathclyde
Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children
via FutureLearn

Queensland University of Technology
Inclusive Education: Essential Knowledge for Success
via FutureLearn

Raspberry Pi Foundation, National Centre for Computing Education
Introduction to Encryption and Cryptography
via FutureLearn

University System of Maryland
Data Analysis for Decision Making
via edX

IBM
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI)
via Coursera

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Applying Data Analytics in Marketing
via Coursera

deeplearning.ai
Introduction to TensorFlow for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning
via Coursera

Emory University
Weight Management: Beyond Balancing Calories
via Coursera

IE Business School
Brand Identity and Strategy
via Coursera

University of Colorado Boulder
Developing a Systems Mindset
via Coursera

Amazon Web Services, Amazon
Getting Started with AWS Machine Learning
via Coursera

California Institute of the Arts
The Language of Design: Form and Meaning
via Coursera

Imperial College London
Introduction to Android graphics
via Coursera

Copenhagen Business School
The Neuromarketing Toolbox
via Coursera

Ural Federal University
Personal growth basics (for people with limited health abilities)
via edX 6-7

Macquarie University
GMBA824 Know your customers
via Coursera

Tapei Medical University
Nutrition: Eating to Live Well
via FutureLearn

Seoul National University
Counseling Practice and Research
via edX 1-2

Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar, NPTEL
Joy of computing using Python
via Swayam

Indian Institute of Technology Madras, NPTEL
Artificial Intelligence Search Methods For Problem Solving
via Swayam

Indian Institute of Technology Madras, NPTEL
Introduction to Machine Learning (IITM)
via Swayam

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, NPTEL
Developing Soft Skills and Personality
via Swayam

University of Reading
Managing People: Understanding Individual Differences
via FutureLearn

Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Digital Transformation in the Classroom
via FutureLearn

Université Côte d’Azur
From database to big data
via France Université Numerique

The Open University
Diplomacy in the 21st Century
via FutureLearn

University of Exeter
Understanding Gender Inequality
via FutureLearn

EIT Food, Università di Torino, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Science Communication and Public Engagement
via FutureLearn

University of Amsterdam
English Pronunciation in a Global World
via FutureLearn

Johns Hopkins University
America’s Opioid Epidemic: From Evidence to Impact
via Coursera

King’s College London
Understanding ADHD: Current Research and Practice
via FutureLearn

Waseda University
Steps in Japanese for Beginners1 Part1
via edX 3-5

University of Glasgow
End of Life Care: Challenges and Innovation
via FutureLearn

Deakin University
Food and Mood: Improving Mental Health Through Diet and Nutrition
via FutureLearn


Links to the courses at Class Central

 

 

Coursera for Governments: Colombia Will Fund Scholarships for 25,000 Learners

IBL News | New York

The Coursera for Governments division is getting a good record on convincing countries to provide funded-scholarships to train their officers and country populations on Coursera.org.

A clear example is the Colombian Government, which will soon offer free access to the Coursera platform for 25,000 employees, encouraging them to acquire in-demand technical skills.

Learners will begin, in early 2020, with five mandatory courses related to AI or digital transformation, including the popular AI for Everyone course from Andrew Ng, which also available in Spanish.

Students who complete these courses will gain unlimited access to Coursera’s course catalog, featuring 3,800 courses from 200 of the world’s top university and industry partners.

“The Colombian Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies (MinTIC) is modeling the institutional investment needed for workforce reskilling and upskilling, and Coursera is the best partner,” said Mario Chamorro, Head of Latin America, Enterprise at Coursera.

Coursera currently offers more than 400 courses in Spanish. Earlier this year, Coursera announced its first fully-Spanish degree in software engineering in partnership with Universidad de los Andes.

Coursera already has more than 1.1 million learners in Colombia.

Launched in 2017, Coursera for Governments and Organizations trains government employees and citizens across the United States, Singapore, the Philippines, India, Australia, France, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, and others.

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