MOOC News Roundup: What’s Happening Around the World


user | clockJun 19, 2013 | chat5 comments

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In my last post, I focused on France and how the whole MOOC and globalization of academia trend is being explored overseas.

Of course, the world keeps turning, and while there is plenty of discussion going on about if and how a Francophone MOOC might be created, there have been some interesting announcements in the MOOC space from around the globe lately which I want to sum up today.

This is, of course, far from being a complete list, but it should still give you a good overview about the latest stories.

OUA achieved record completion rates

One of the main issues that is discussed when it comes to MOOCs are the notoriously low completion rates. In late May, Open Universities in Australia published some data on their online courses, and apparently down under we have a different picture. According to Financial Review, OUA’s MOOCs — which are marketed under the Open2Study brand — have seen an overall completion rate of 25.9 percent. And if you take only the students who also started to study one of the courses, the completion rate even goes up to 50.8 percent.

Source: Financial Review

Are MOOCs just a vehicle to replace professors with cheap online alternatives?

While other parts of the world are just learning about the new possibilities that MOOCs offer, there is some backlash happening in the US. In an open letter, California State philosophy professors phrased their fear of traditional education being dismantled by MOOCs:

“Let’s not kid ourselves; administrators at the CSU are beginning a process of replacing faculty with cheap online education.”

Source: The Australian

Why stop at certifications? What about a MOOPhd

Jon Dron, Associate Professor at the School of Computing and Information Systems at Athabasca University, shared his thoughts on a MOOPhd and what would be needed to achieve such a thing, as it would be pretty complex. I recommend you read his initial thoughts over here which are, of course, a work in progress.

Source: Athabasca University

Instructure raised $30 million, starts to build a beachhead in the UK

Instructure, maker of Canvas and the Canvas Network, raised a $30 million Series D round. According to CEO Josh Coates, the startup is now moving towards an IPO. This week it announced the first event in the UK at the University of Birmingham.


MOOC Production Fellowship announced winners

iversity, the German MOOC platform that aims to take the leading role in Europe, announced the winners of the MOOC Production Fellowship contest. The contest gives out grants of €25.000 to ten projects that have been voted on by the public and judged by a jury of experts.


Veduca and the University of Sao Paulo launch MOOCs with certification

Veduca, the Brazilian MOOC platform that has its focus on the LatAm market announced two MOOCs in partnership with USP. The courses contain the same content like on campus and students who take the MOOC will get a certificate of completion if they succeed.


edX goes Open Source

I already wrote about edX’s plan to open source its platform earlier this year. This week, it officially opened its code base to developers. I am pretty excited to see what kind of contributions other universities, as well as individuals, will add to the platform in the coming months.

Source: InformationWeek

How effective are MOOCs? Bill and Melinda Gates want to find out

Last but not least, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a research project on the effectiveness of MOOCs. The MOOC Research Initiative will award grants of $10,000 to $25,000 to researchers seeking to explore issues such as student experiences in MOOCs and the free courses’ systemic impact.

Source: Wired Academic


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