Coursera’s Most Popular Courses in 2020 Relate to Mental Health, COVID and Personal Interests

IBL News | New York

“Coursera’s most popular courses of the year show learners striving to gain control of their mental health, better understand COVID-19, develop job-relevant skills, and pursue personal passions,” wrote in a blog-post yesterday Betty Vandenbosch, Chief Content Officer at Coursera.org.

The Science of Well-Being from Yale–a course that outlines research-backed ways to increase personal happiness and establish more productive habits–registered 2.5 million enrollments this year, becoming Coursera’s most popular course of 2020. Other mental health-related popular courses include Mind Control: Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19 from the University of Toronto and Finding Purpose and Meaning In Life: Living for What Matters Most from the University of Michigan.

COVID-19 Contact Tracing from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was the second most popular course this year. Since May, over one million learners have enrolled in the course, and 550,000 have completed it.

Other popular COVID-related courses were: Science Matters: Let’s Talk About COVID-19 from Imperial College London, Fighting COVID-19 with Epidemiology, a teach-out from Johns Hopkins University, and COVID-19: What You Need to Know (CME Eligible) from Osmosis.

Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) from the University of Michigan and Machine Learning from Stanford are among this year’s most popular courses. English for Career Development from the University of Pennsylvania also made the global list.

Related to personal passions, these three courses attracted unparalleled attention: Learning How to Learn from McMaster University and UC San Diego; Introduction to Psychology from Yale, and First Step Korean., from Yonsei University.

Coursera also provided a list of courses per country.

The Mountain View, California-based learning company reported 69 million enrollments, a 430% increase compared to the same period last year.

Course Partner
1. The Science of Well-Being Yale University
2. COVID-19 Contact Tracing Johns Hopkins University
3. Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) University of Michigan
4. Machine Learning Stanford University
5. Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects McMaster University UC San Diego
6. English for Career Development  University of Pennsylvania
7. Financial Markets Yale University
8. First Step Korean Yonsei University
9. Introduction to Psychology Yale University
10. Write Professional Emails in English Georgia Institute of Technology

 

Learning Platforms Run Discount Codes on Courses and Membership This Cyber Week

IBL News | New York

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Cyber Week, and deals pertaining to the shopping season after Thanksgiving Day are running all over the online learning platforms.

For learners planning their career advancement through education now is a good time to engage at a discounted pricing.

  • Coursera.org has activated a season promotion until December 31, 2020, with a 50% discount on any course. On some of the courses, the offer finishes on December 4. This online platform is using the promotional explanation of “while supplies last”.
  • edX.org featured a modest saving of 20% on most of its courses.
  • Udacity.com wasn’t shy and advertised on its home page the following: “Our Biggest Discount Ever: 75% off all online courses.” Visitors found, along with a coupon code, a claim saying “Sale extended”, without any indication of the timeframe.
  • Udemy.com opted with its classic discount on the pricing of the courses, adding this year, a free webinar. “Courses as low as $9.99 through Dec. 4. Plus, get free access to a live webinar!”
  • Pluralsight.com prominently highlighted on its home website, and invested in Google Ads as well, its “Cyber Monday Extended” with a “40% off an annual subscription with our best Cyber Monday deal ever!” An indication at the bottom of the page indicated that the deal was ending this Friday.
  • Skillshare.com ran discount coupons up to 40% on third party websites for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, although “Valid until further notice”. Also, it had a 40% off a Skillshare Premium on Cyber Monday.
  • CodeAcademy.com featured a “Cyber Week Sale”, with 25% off on its membership.

Kindle, Audible, Babble, and other platforms run promotional offers, too.

Cuomo Hires Coursera.org to Provide Unemployed New Yorkers with Access to Training Programs

IBL News | New York

Coursera.org signed up this month a partnership with The New York State Department of Labor in order to provide unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers with free access to 4,000 courses, programs, and professional certificates in business and technology.

The announcement–made by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on November 17th—focuses on training on high-growth and in-demand sectors like advanced manufacturing, technology, and health care, among others.

“The war against COVID-19 is one taking place on multiple fronts, and while we are doing everything we can to protect the health of New Yorkers, we must also take the steps necessary for building back a strong economy,” Governor Cuomo said“Whether it’s taking a refresher course or learning a new skill, I encourage all New Yorkers in need to consider taking advantage of this free program.”  

This is a range of classes offered on Coursera:

  • How to Manage a Remote Team
  • Business Writing
  • Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Design and ManufacturingMachine Learning
  • Motors and Motor Control Circuits
  • Generative Design for Additive Manufacturing
  • Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects
  • Marketing in a Digital World
  • Supply Chain Operations
  • Influencing People
  • The Science of Well-Being
  • Data Science Specialization
  • Project Management
  • Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills
  • Python for Everybody
  • Cybersecurity
  • Google IT Support Professional Certificate
  • The Business of Health Care Specialization
  • Epidemiology for Public Health Specialization
  • Medical Neuroscience
  • Financial Markets
  • Facebook Social Media Marketing
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Introduction to Game Development
  • The Art of Negotiation
  • AI for Everyone
  • Programming Foundations with JavaScript, HTML and CSS
  • Introduction to HTML5
  • Understanding User Needs
  • Use Mailchimp to Build an E-mail Marketing Campaign
  • Developing An Entrepreneurial Mindset: First Step Towards Success
  • Introduction to iOS App Development
  • Principles of Game Design


During the pandemic, Coursera has reached agreements with 330 government agencies across 70 countries and 30 US states and cities to provide training to impacted workers. Coursera says that since it launched its Workforce Recovery Initiative, more than 1 million workers have enrolled in over 7 million courses to gain critical skills.

Coursera Extends Its Annual Subscription Plan Worldwide

IBL News | New York

Coursera.org extended worldwide its annual access plan to 3,000+ courses.

This subscription plan, called Coursera Plus, comes at a price of $399 per year, and it includes over 90% of the course catalog, according to the announcement made by the learning company. The offer is similar to the one offered to corporations when they buy access for employees.

“You can master a specific skill in a Specialization, get job-ready for an in-demand career with a Professional Certificate, or quickly learn a new industry tool in a Guided Project,” wrote Anubhav Chopra, Lead Product Manager at Coursera.

The Mountain View, California-based startup firm states that “Coursera Plus learners have a 35% higher completion rate and they triple the amount of time they’re active in their courses.”

The fact that learners don’t need to rush to finish courses in one month to try to save money is mentioned in the one-time annual payment as one of the success factors.

In its promotional announcement, Coursera highlights the following courses to attract more clients:

Data Science

Computer Science & IT

Business

Personal Development

Arts and Humanities

 

The COVID Pandemic Causes Devastation to Children’s Learning Across the World

IBL News | New York

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unbearable devastation to schoolchildren in poor countries.

A new study by UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank carried out in 150 countries, shows that children in low-and lower-middle-income countries have already lost nearly four months of schooling since the start of the pandemic, compared to six weeks of loss in high-income countries.

The problem is magnified in poor countries with limited access to remote learning, budget cuts, and delayed re-opening plans.

“Prioritising reopening schools and providing much-needed catch-up classes are critical,” said Robert Jenkins, Chief of Education at UNICEF.

Harvard’s Professor and EdTech Visionary Robert Lue Dies at 56 From Cancer

IBL News | New York

The Havard, Open edX, and edX community lost this week a key leader, Robert Lue, 56, Researcher and Professor of Biology at Harvard, Founder of LabXChange.org and HarvardX, edtech visionary and a firm advocate of open source and scientific education.

Harvard University reported that Robert Lue died from cancer. His death caused a deep impact on the Harvard and edX community.

“Rob was one of the most creative teachers; he was always thinking about how we could do a better job of engaging our students, and he was particularly gifted in imagining how technology and data could be used to enhance the learning experience,” said Harvard President Larry Bacow. “The kindness and thoughtfulness he brought to his work over the years infuse many of the pedagogical improvements made at Harvard. He was a valued colleague, and he will be missed.”

Robert “Rob” Lue was Professor of the practice in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology,  Faculty Director of the Harvard Ed Portal, Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, UNESCO Chair on Life Sciences and Social Innovation, and Faculty Director and Principal Investigator of LabXchange. He co-authored two biology textbooks and worked extensively in the field of scientific visualization.

In 2012, Lue became the founding faculty director of HarvardX, shaping the institution’s engagement in online learning and expanding its reach.

Lue’s vision was to improve education “by bringing equal opportunities for learning science [to] anyone and anywhere,” said Valtencir Mendes, Senior Program Lead in UNESCO’s education sector.

Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX, said, “Rob was an early and ardent believer in edX. Always willing to help across our network + quick to share his grand and inspirational visions of the shared mission we were all working toward. Rob was a friend and I will miss him dearly.”

Up until his death, Lue was leading LabXchange, a breakthrough, Open edX-based virtual platform launched in October 2019, with over 2.5 million visitors.

“Rob was always so happy when students thanked him [for changing] their view of biology by creating these animations,” said Alain Viel, Director at the Northwest Undergraduate Laboratories and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard. Viel was his partner of 30 years.

An online forum was filled with tribute messages to Lue.

News stories about Robert Lue at IBL News

 

Udemy Reaches a $3.25 Billion Valuation After Raising Another $50 Million

IBL News | New York

Udemy.com announced today that it raised $50 million at a $3.25 billion pre-money valuation. The round, in a Series F financing, came from Learn Capital, with Goldman Sachs as sole placement agent. No plans to IPO the San Francisco-based company have been announced nor disclosed.

The global pandemic is prompting edtech firms to reach astronomical valuations due to an increased demand for online learning.

Udemy claims to host 35 million students, 130,000 courses, and 57,000 instructors.

Rob Hutter, Managing Partner at Learn Capital, said that “Udemy has the right platform and business architecture to dramatically extend its growth as individuals and companies recognize the power of lifelong learning to drive personal and corporate performance.”

A Udemy representative explained, “as countries enacted stay-at-home advisories and national closures, course enrollments across the entire Udemy marketplace platform increased more than 425%, consumption across Udemy for Business surged 90%, and the company saw a 55% increase in course creation by instructors. To date, the company has seen over 400 million course enrollments globally.”

With 700 employees globally, Udemy celebrated its ten-year anniversary in January 2020. At that month, the lifetime payments to instructors reached $350 million, according to the company.

“To vet instructors, Udemy uses machine learning and data science to analyze billions of pieces of feedback and data points around preferences and effectiveness to determine what content is popular and engaging,” explained Stephanie Stapleton, Udemy VP of Customer Success, in an interview at IBL News.

 

The edX Virtual Global Forum Will Recognize Instructors from 10 Courses and Programs

IBL News | New York

edX partners’ annual reunion will take place this year virtually on December 7th and 8th.

Last year, the event–called edX Global Forum– was also virtual. It wasn’t celebrated as initially scheduled in Hong Kong due to political unrest in the former colony.

This year, the global pandemic will also force the edX organization to develop a remote event, exactly as all other educational organizations have done this year.

The edX management team, led by CEO Anant Agarwal, will engage with college and corporate partners, discussing the latest on the edX.org platform, while analyzing the new post-pandemic scenarios, among other topics.

In addition, the edX Global Forum will recognize the winner of the Fifth Annual edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning. Last year, Dartmouth College Professor Petra Bonfert-Taylor and Institut Mines-Télécom (IMT) Professor Rémi Sharrock won the 2019 edX Prize for their Professional Certificate program, C Programming with Linux.

“This year’s finalists represent a diverse range of disciplines – from economics and business to environmental studies and architecture, to engineering and education; they also represent learning experiences from single courses to MicroMasters programs and Professional Certificate programs all the way up to fully online Master’s degrees,” said Nina Huntemann, Vice President of Learning at edX.

This year, the finalists are professors and instructors pertaining to these courses and programs:

Internet of Things (IoT) MicroMasters Program
CurtinX

Online Master of Science in Analytics and GTx Analytics: Essential Tools and Methods MicroMasters Program
GTx

FinTech Professional Certificate Program
HKUx

Success: Practical Thinking Skills
HKPolyUx

Unlocking Information Security Professional Certificate Program
IsraelX

As above, so below: An introduction to soils, ecosystems and livelihoods in the Tropics
KULeuvenX

Zero-Energy Design: An Approach to Make Your Building Sustainable
DelftX

Agile Project Management Professional Certificate Program
USMx

Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement MicroMasters® Program
MichiganX

The Future of Work: Preparing for Disruption
WBGx

Thomas Edison State University Backs with College Credit Two MicroBachelors Programs on edX.org

IBL News | New York

Thomas Edison State University (TESU) announced that it will now offer college credit for Western Governors University‘s MicroBachelors program “Introduction to Information Technology” and for Doane University’s “Marketing Essentials,” through edX.org.

“By recognizing MicroBachelors programs for credit, we are creating yet another diverse and alternative method to gain access to a relevant and affordable undergraduate education,” said Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president, Thomas Edison State University.

edX’s MicroBachelors programs are designed to assist nontraditional students like adults without college degrees who need additional education to advance in their careers. These online programs provide a pathway to a full bachelor’s degree and are offered at a price between $500 and $1,500 (roughly $166 per credit).

“TESU joins us in providing credit and pathways to full TESU bachelor’s degrees and in signaling to employers that the MicroBachelors programs are rigorous enough to be credit grade and equip learners with applicable knowledge,” said Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX. “As an institution providing credit for MicroBachelors programs on edX, the first credit-backed stackable credential, Thomas Edison State University plays an integral role in the launch of these innovative programs.”

In addition to credit on MicroBachelors, TESU said that it planning to offer a few of its own courses through the edX platform.

 

Udacity Raises $75M in Debt and Announces It’s Now Profitable

IBL News | New York

Udacity.com announced this month that it secured $75 million in the form of a debt facility, with Hercules Capital (NYSE: HTGC) serving as the underwriter.

In addition, the Mountain View, California–based learning company said it has reached profitability. “Q3 enterprise and government bookings rose by 120% year-over-year, total bookings increased 80% year-over-year, and ARR increased 260% in H1 2020.”

“Our clients clearly understand that investing in current talent, versus hiring from the outside, has proven to be a far more effective way to accelerate their digital transformation strategy,” said Gabe Dalporto, CEO of Udacity. “This new financing will help us continue to scale and provide global workers with the skills they need to future-proof their careers.”

On the other hand, Udacity forecasted how the online education landscape will look like in 2025 with the changes brought by COVID-19:

  • There will be increased educational program options and accessibility. This will solve one of the biggest challenges faced in higher education: accessibility — both financially and physically.
  • There will be alternatives to traditional degrees. Employers are placing more emphasis on skills, not degrees.
  • Greater incorporation of next-generation technologies such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality. Much of online education had relied on a model more focused on the solo study. However, there will be a more hands-on learning experience, group socialization and social platforms, user-generated content, and video conferencing.

 

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