I've published the sixth article in my "Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2015" series. You can find it here.

I also wanted to make note some of the news items that didn't make the story. So I've decided to include those below.

Retention and the Affective Domain

More rankings from US News & World Report for online education programs.

Virtual Preschool. Yes, really.

Fears arise that Alberta’s Athabasca University will be lost as tough budget looms.”

Michigan State University is experimenting with using telepresence robots for distance ed students so that they can participate in face-to-face classes.

How ‘Elite’ Universities Are Using Online Education.” (It’s not really clear to me how it’s different than the non-elites.)

Via the Hechinger Report: “Online courses might offer a path to more degrees – and to reducing the carbon footprint.”

“Let Prisoners Take College Courses,” says a NYT op-ed.

“MIT Launches Online Education Policy Initiative,” reports Inside Higher Ed, to study “the impacts of online learning on the higher education community from a policy perspective.”

What Harvard Business School Has Learned About Online Collaboration

HarvardX’s Justin Reich reports from China, “where everything is a MOOC.” (And here’s the report from the World Bank’s Michael Trucano on the same event.)

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that “Four liberal-arts colleges on Monday formed a consortium to share information about their experiments with online education, and more members may soon join in.” It does not, however, report the name of the consortium, which I’m hoping is LiberalArtsX or UberLearn or Voracity or something like that.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom “faults insufficient outreach to faculty in push for online education.”

Further demonstrating my contention that the phrase “blended learning” is utterly meaningless, the Education Technology Industry Network of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) says that according to a study it conducted, the definition of “online course” now means “blended learning.”

Inside Higher Ed covers Ranku’s marketing efforts helping Columbia attract more online students.

The (Accidental) Power of MOOCs.”

From iNACOL: “Blending Learning: The Evolution of Online and Face-to-Face Education from 2008–2015.” Because nothing happened in ed-tech before 2008.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Stirring Fear and Hope, U. of Akron Mulls an Aggressive Move Online.”

“Five retired NBA players are receiving scholarships to attend Kaplan University and study online to earn certificates, bachelor’s or master’s degrees,” says Inside Higher Ed.

According to the headline in The New York Times, “How High Schoolers Spent Their Summer: Online, Taking More Courses.” Many of those interviewed in the story, which suggests that MOOCs are showing up on college applications, work at Ivies, so I’m not really sure how much we can extrapolate from their stories. It does remind me of what Justin Reich found in his research on those in HarvardX courses: that those signing up for MOOCs were more affluent than average and more likely to come from families with high levels of parental educational attainment. But do carry on, NYT, with your MOOC hype.

Elsewhere in MOOC hype: “MOOCs show promise in complementing UC-San Diego’s campus offerings.”

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has launched its new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for Development portal”:

Via Inside Higher Ed: “EVersity, the University of Arkansas System’s fully online institution that launched last week, now has its first applicants and a ‘preferred content provider’ in Cengage Learning.”

“Udacity Sets Up First Overseas Shop in India,” says Edsurge. (It’s not clear what this “shop” entails.) Here’s the company’s blog post.

Via Justin Reich: “Are MOOC Forums Echo Chambers or Bridging Spaces?

“Can data help save MOOCs?” asks The Stanford Daily.

NPR profiles the University of the People: “The Online College That’s Helping Undocumented Students.”

Udacity says it has graduated 1000 students from its program.

Using MOOCs to Help Refugees.”

DMCA Exemptions for Circumventing Copyright Protections on Motion Pictures, 2015 edition” now include MOOCs.

When Fortune writes “Why Ed Tech Is Currently ‘The Wild Wild West’” the answer it offers is not “because it’s dominated by imperialism and white male supremacy.”

“Better Residential Learning Is The True Innovation of MOOCs,” IHE blogger Joshua Kim contends.

“Both Sides Of The Education Debate Are United In Scorn For Online Charter Schools,” says Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy (although I’m never sure what “both sides” really means as I find myself at odds with “both.”)

Also by Molly Hensley-Clancy: “Black Colleges Are Going Online, Following Their Students And The Money.”

“edX and Microsoft Collaborate to Help K–12 School Leaders Improve Education,” says edX.

Reflections on the Paris attacks from Coursera CEO Rick Levin.”

An interview in Inside Higher Ed with Robert Rhoads, the author of MOOCs, High Technology and Higher Learning.

“No Rich Child Left Behind, and Enriching the Rich: Why MOOCs are not improving education” by Mark Guzdial.

When One State Required Online Learning in High School, Colleges Saw Changes, Too.”

MOOCs Are To Higher Ed What Netflix Is To Movie Theaters

From The Plains Dealer: “Online schools are losing support, creating divisions in the national charter school movement.”

The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign will offer an online MBA through Coursera.

An Increasingly Popular Job Perk: Online Education.” – “A partnership between Southern New Hampshire and Anthem Inc., a health-insurance company, will allow some 55,000 Anthem employees to earn associate or bachelor’s degrees through the university’s College for America, a competency-based assessment program.”

“The New York Times and CIG Education Group have come together to launch NYT EDUcation, a new education initiative,” says the press release. “NYT EDUcation will provide innovative courses and programs covering a wide array of subjects, including communications and media, which reflect the authoritative content and intellectual breadth of The New York Times.” Oh I sure hope David Brooks or Thomas Friedman offer a class on NYT coverage of MOOCs.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A group of 24 colleges and universities have teamed up to develop and share online courses that are designed to help students complete general-science education courses. Arizona State University and Smart Sparrow, an ‘adaptive’ learning company, helped create the group, which is dubbed the Inspark Science Network. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation contributed a $4.5-million grant to Smart Sparrow for the project.” If you can’t make ’em teach five classes for the price of four, replace ’em with software, right?

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The University of Florida is discussing changes in its partnership with Pearson Embanet for running the university’s online bachelor’s-degree-granting arm, UF Online, including possible termination of the contract.”

Simon & Schuster to Sell Online Courses Taught by Popular Authors.”

From The Australian Financial Review: “The company’s co-founder, Daphne Koller, said Coursera was rebuilding its ­platform ‘from the ground up’ to allow students to commence courses ‘on demand’ and to give university ­instructors access to student data on progress and performance. She said these two changes would allow universities and colleges to use Coursera’s online teaching packages in place of regular lectures allowing them to teach in areas where they don’t have enough in-house expertise.” The arc of ed-tech “innovation” is long and it bends towards the LMS, I guess.

From the press release: “Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today that it has launched a free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) designed to help medical students prepare for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1, the first and most daunting of the three exams medical students must complete to become physicians.”

EdX and Microsoft Launch IT Development MOOCs

It’s a pretty familiar promise in for-profit education: “Bloc’s Guarantee: Get a Job as a Programmer or Your Money Back.” (Bloc charges $24,000 for a 48-week online “coding bootcamp.”)

Coursera is renaming its verified certificates “Course Certificates.”

Udacity will soon give all Nanodegree graduates half of their tuition back.”

“Oakland Community College may halt most online classes,” The Detroit News reports. “The possibility of mass course cancellations arose after the state’s largest community college was denied accreditation for online programs that would let students earn degrees while taking most or all of their courses outside traditional classrooms.”

“The Starbucks Corporation this week announced that it will offer a tuition-free education to a spouse or child of its employees who are veterans or active-duty members of the U.S. military,” Inside Higher Ed reports. (That is, tuition-free education at ASU Online as part of Starbucks’ existing deal with the school.)

Udacity and Google announced a co-developed nanodegree in “senior Web development.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “New online credential program aims to turn out 10,000 new teachers in the next five years.”

“Meet the Crowdfunded Professor,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education. “He’s left his tenured job and gone online, solo.” (Related: Ian Bogost on “Quit Lit.”)

Congratulations to Coursera CEO Richard Levin. The former President of Yale has received a $8.5 million payout from the university – “an unprecedented lump-sum payout highlighting the increasingly lucrative compensation for leaders at the nation’s top universities,” says The Wall Street Journal. Perhaps it was recognition for his work on AllLearn? (Probably not.)

Two-thirds of college and university risk managers responding to a recent survey said they consider the risks associated with fraternities to be among the most significant risks facing higher education.”

“Most Widely Known Online Educational Resources Not Most Effective, According to OpenEd Analysis of Data From 200,000 Teachers,” says the press release. (Lots of questions about the methodology here.)

The results of the latest Speak Up survey are out. Expect to see this gem cited a lot: “24% of high school students saying they wish they could take all their classes online – a large increase from 8% in 2013.”

MIT Researchers Develop Model To Predict MOOC Dropouts.”

Practical Guidance from MOOC Research: Student Diversity,” by Justin Reich.

Via Justin Reich: “Practical Guidance from MOOC Research: Flexibility and Stickiness.”

Practical Guidance from MOOC Research: Helping Busy Students Stick to Plans” and “Practical Guidance from MOOC Research: Persistence and Activity” by Justin Reich.

Via Justin Reich: “Practical Guidance from MOOC Research: Learning Beyond the Platform.”

The latest in Justin Reich’s series on “Practical Guidance from MOOC Research”: “Students Learn by Doing.”

The 2014 Babson Survey Research Group report. Here’s Phil Hill’s write-up. Here’s Inside Higher Ed’s. The tl;dr from The Chronicle of Higher Education: “3 Things Academic Leaders Believe About Online Education.”

A report by iNACOL says that online credit recovery programs, which help students make up high school credits (and help schools maintain their graduation rates) are “in need of improvement.”

Webcasting Open Courses: A Brief (Berkeley) History

Audrey Watters


Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2015

A Hack Education Project

Back to Archives