For anyone who isn’t participating in #FutureEd – it’s not too late. This is a summary of what has happened so far, and only a week has gone by so you can still join. This is a don’t miss event for 2014. “To supplement the History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education MOOC and as part of the FutureEd initiative, HASTAC has created The HASTAC Guide to the Future of Higher Education: Collected Readings Contributed by our Network Members, a collection of additional readings.”
There were two interesting announcements this week about “specializations.” Most people know Coursera, but Academic Partnerships is the biggest company in the space and few people have heard of it. They do a nice job of partnering with schools (and being advocates) without using their names as examples. I don’t know the numbers, but I in terms of both number of partners and revenue I think they are the leader in the space.
Coursera is planning to offer certificates for students who take a set combination of MOOCs and pass the assessment. The minimum number of MOOCs would be three, with other certificates requiring up to eight MOOCs. The certificates will be awarded by ‘leading universities.’ One of the first specializations open for enrollment is from Vanderbilt and the University of Maryland on making Android apps. A Coursera specialization certificate will require students to verify their identity and pay on a per-course basis, usually $49 per course.
Most people will know about Coursera, but Academic Partnerships may be less well known, but is still a significant player in the higher education world of the USA. Its is a private company that ’assists universities in converting their traditional degree programs and certificates into an online format, recruits qualified students, and supports enrolled students through graduation’. It works particularly with prestigious U.S. institutions that often were slow into credit-based online learning, or those that wish to keep the online learning activity at somewhat arms-length from their campus activities, but usually to increase enrollments and/or revenues.
From Cathy Davidson’s article posted on Hybrid Pedagogy about her upcoming (and I believe Higher Ed event of the year,) “History and Future of Higher Education.” Note the graphic to see the scope of the initiative.
“On January 27th, Cathy N. Davidson launches “The History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education,” a MOOC connected to dozens of other courses and events distributed across the web. Over six weeks, Hybrid Pedagogy will host a discussion group, codenamed MOOC MOOC Dark Underbelly, a rowdy exploration of topics unearthed by the course and its offspring, a place to examine the deeper (and sometimes darker) issues implicated in these discussions. Our node will include related articles, curated content from participants, weekly #moocmooc chats, and more. Watch @hybridped and @moocmooc for details. In this article, Cathy offers 10 things she’s learned from making her meta-MOOC.”
Thanks to Stephanie Sandifer!
From Gamco – According to Charles Handy, success belongs to those who learn to embrace complexity by reconciling the contradictions of this world. Gabe Zichermann gives an example of these contradictions with gamification: If you want to design a great educational game, focusing on making it educational as the main priority will make your game fail.
MIT Tech Review offers a synopsis of current MOOC studies – completion, etc. They cite a Princeton study that says “participation falls precipitously and continuously throughout a course and that almost half of registered students never post more than twice to the forums. What’s more, the participation of a teacher doesn’t improve matters. Indeed, they say there is some evidence that a teacher’s participation in an online discussion actually increases the rate of decline.” There is an art – and best practices – to facilitating discussion boards and I do wonder if these teachers/instructors are ever given that insight before diving in.
Georgia Tech’s experiment plays it relatively safe. Because it involves a master’s program, the students will have already earned undergraduate degrees, and many of them already have jobs in the industry. And the students who were admitted have an average undergraduate GPA of 3.58.
The inaugural class is also neither massive nor open. The program has admitted 401 students—360 men, 41 women—out of 2,300 candidates. Those who decide to enroll will begin classes on January 15, according to Jason Maderer, a spokesman.