Abstract: MOOCs, or massive open online classes have reached hundreds of millions of people around the world in the past decade with a model of free open access learning. They are an excellent vehicle for delivering science to lifelong learners. Building on experience in designing astronomy MOOCs for Udemy and Coursera, we have created an astrobiology MOOC for Coursera called “Astrobiology: Exploring Other Worlds” that launched in April 2019. As of early 2022, about 9000 people have started the course, and nearly 10% of those have completed it. The average user rating is 4.9 out of 5. The core content is 10?h of video lectures, divided into six modules, which cover the possibilities of life in the Solar System, the search for exoplanets, the concept of habitability, the definition of life and basics of biology, evolution of life on Earth, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Pedagogy was designed around clear learning objectives and includes quizzes, writing assignments, and a final project that draws on all the concepts presented in the course where students design their own mission to characterize exoplanets. In this study, we describe the design, implementation, and subsequent success of our 2019 astrobiology MOOC.
“With the success of open access publishing, Massive open online courses (MOOCs) and open education practices, the open approach to education has moved from the periphery to the mainstream. This marks a moment of victory for the open education movement, but at the same time the real battle for the direction of openness begins. As with the green movement, openness now has a market value and is subject to new tensions, such as venture capitalists funding MOOC companies. This is a crucial time for determining the future direction of open education.
In this volume, Martin Weller examines four key areas that have been central to the developments within open education: open access, MOOCs, open education resources and open scholarship. Exploring the tensions within these key arenas, he argues that ownership over the future direction of openness is significant to all those with an interest in education….”
Abstract: The Harvard Medical School Countway Library’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Best Practices for Biomedical Research Data Management launched on Canvas in January 2018. This report analyzes learner reported data and course generated analytics from March 2020 through June 2021 for the course. This analysis focuses on three subsets of participant data during the pandemic to understand global learner demographics and interest in biomedical research data management.
Lazarus, Flora Charles, and Rajneesh Suryasen. 2022. “The Quality of Higher Education Through MOOC Penetration and the Role of Academic Libraries”. Insights 35: 9. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.577
The governments of emerging economies have realized the potential of massive open online courses (MOOCs) for enhancing the quality of higher education, but MOOC penetration is still very low in countries like India. This article explores the issues relating to MOOC integration and attempts to identify the key drivers for the adoption of a MOOC-based curriculum. Integration into the curriculum, the MOOC services of the academic library and the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development’s (MHRD) policy and support are identified as the key drivers for increasing MOOC penetration. The article also suggests a direct relationship between the level of MOOC penetration and the quality of higher education in emerging economies. The practical implications for practice and policy are classification of the MOOC services of the academic library and a decision-making model that chooses a hybrid learning strategy for higher educational institutions.
“Byju’s, an ed-tech behemoth based in India, has put more than $1 billion on the table to acquire the online program manager, Bloomberg first reported late last month. 2U is one of the largest online-program managers, or OPMs, in the United States, known for scaling up online-degree programs and teaming up with more than 130 American colleges, including large institutions such as Arizona State, New York, and Syracuse Universities. It’s also the parent company of the online-course provider edX….
The worry among colleges, these experts say, is that if Byju’s wanted to shave costs or focus more on short-term, course-level products, it could scale back that “high-touch” model that many institutions have come to expect in exchange for paying 2U millions of dollars through tuition-sharing agreements. There’s wariness, too, of temporary disruptions that can happen whenever a company undergoes reorganization.
College leaders fear that Byju’s intent is to “use the toehold and cash flow to accomplish some other goal,” and that 2U’s clients will not be a priority, said Clay Shirky, vice provost for educational technologies at New York University, which works with 2U. “That’s what we’re worried about.” …”
Michael Vasquez, writing for The Chronicle [paywalled] a few weeks ago: When a pair of professors stepped down from their posts at Arcadia University this year, without another job lined up, they did so to halt the creation of a physician-assistant program in partnership with 2U, the online-learning giant. […] After the full-time faculty members left, the program director also stepped down — further dampening any hopes of launching the program soon, as a program director must be on the job for 15 months before any accreditor visit. The resignations came several months after the accreditor’s virtual site visit to evaluate Arcadia’s fledgling hybrid physician-assistant program. That virtual visit did not go well. If and when the delayed, staff-less program gets launched, 2U will receive 62.5% of tuition revenue for 15 years, The Chronicle reported. Online Program Managers (OPMs) like 2U are stealth privatizers of nonprofit higher ed, even as they drain dollars from our universities and students. The Government Accountability Office’s mild-mannered May report [pdf] calling on more oversight was followed, earlier this month, by a hard-hitting Wall Street Journal piece (“2U Inc. isn’t a university, but it sometimes looks like one”), so maybe scrutiny of the sleazy sector is picking up. Just in time for 2U’s likely sale to an Indian ed-tech giant. What looks worse than ever is Harvard and MIT’s shameless decision last year to sell edX.
“You can become a more visible, effective and impactful researcher by sharing your research data and publications openly. In this course, you will learn the objectives, main concepts, and benefits of Open Science principles along with practices for open data management and open data sharing.
Since research increasingly relies on software which is used to model and simulate, and to deal with the ever growing volume of research data, the course will also introduce FAIR software practices.
Citizens participation in research is getting more and more important. The course will demonstrate what citizen science is about, how to stimulate citizens to participate in your research and how to handle (new) responsibilities when implementing citizen science.
You’ll learn to establish links between publications, data, software and methods, how to attach a persistent identifier and metadata to your results, and methods for clarifying usage rights. You will also discover ways to apply these principles to your daily research and adapt existing routines. Finally, you’ll uncover potential barriers to sharing research and discuss possible solutions.
This course will help you grasp the key principles of Open Science, with answers to questions like:
How can researchers effectively store, manage, and share research data?
What kinds of open access publishing are most effective?
How can researchers increase the visibility and impact of their research?
How can the use of social media contribute to the visibility and impact of research?
How can researchers be acknowledged for the research software they write?
How can research benefit from citizen science? …”
“In 2021, two of the biggest MOOC providers had an “exit” event. Coursera went public, while edX was acquired by the public company 2U for $800 million and lost its non-profit status.
Ten years ago, more than 300,000 learners were taking the three free Stanford courses that kicked off the modern MOOC movement. I was one of those learners and launched Class Central as a side-project to keep track of these MOOCs.
Now, a decade later, MOOCs have reached 220 million learners, excluding China where we don’t have as reliable data, . In 2021, providers launched over 3,100 courses and 500 microcredentials….”
: Global surgery (GS) training pathways in residency are unclear and vary by specialty and program. Furthermore, information on these pathways is not always accessible. To address this gap, we produced a collection of open-access webinars for senior medical students focused on identifying GS training pathways during residency.
: The Global Surgery Student Alliance (GSSA) is a national nonprofit that engages US students and trainees in GS education, research, and advocacy. GSSA organized nine one-hour, specialty-specific webinars featuring residents of surgical specialties, anesthesia, and OBGYN programs. Live webinars were produced via Zoom from August to October 2020, and all recordings were posted to the GSSA YouTube channel. Medical students moderated webinars with predetermined standardized questions and live questions submitted by attendees. Participant data were collected in mandatory registration forms.
: A total of 539 people were registered for 9 webinars. Among registrants, 189 institutions and 36 countries were represented. Registrants reported education/training levels from less than undergraduate education to attending physicians, while medical students represented the majority of registrants. Following the live webinars, YouTube recordings of the events were viewed 839 times. Webinars featuring otolaryngology and general surgery residents accrued the greatest number of registrations, while anesthesia accrued the least.
: Medical students at all levels demonstrated interest in both the live and recorded specialty-specific webinars on GS in residency. To address the gap in developing global surgery practitioners, additional online, open-access education materials and mentorship opportunities are needed for students applying to US residencies.
Abstract: Over 6 million Americans and 50 million persons worldwide are estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease (AD) as it remains the major cause of dementia in the older adult population. Both healthcare professionals and family caregivers struggle with the complexities of caring for individuals with this progressive neurological disease. To address the ongoing knowledge and care gap regarding Alzheimer’s disease among both healthcare professionals and family caregivers, a comprehensive massive open online course (MOOC) was developed and made available via the edX platform. MOOCs are open access and interactive courses offered via the web; they have emerged as a popular, self-paced mode of distance learning. Launched in 2020, the MOOC titled, Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia Care, consists of five modules reviewing symptoms, diagnosis, medications, communication and care tips, as well as a module outlining special considerations when the person with AD is hospitalized. While this educational strategy targets healthcare professionals (such as nurses, physical therapists and related practitioners), it is also designed for lay caregivers or anyone who wants to learn more the disease. The course utilizes a variety of teaching modalities and is free. To date over 7000 persons have enrolled from over 140 countries. MOOCs remain an innovative and engaging educational strategy to reach a global audience. More importantly, they can serve as an another outlet to enhance both the competence and confidence of both healthcare professionals and family caregivers by sharing best practices in caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
“HARVARD, MIT, AND EDX ANNOUNCED TODAY that edX, the two institutions’ 2012 joint venture into online education, would be sold to leading educational technology company 2U for $800 million. 2U, a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ, with revenues expected to approach $1 billion in 2021, is an online program manager. The company provides digital platforms and marketing and logistical support that allows colleges and universities to offer online instruction but does not itself provide degrees.
As part of the agreement, which is subject to approval by Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey ’92, 2U will own and plans to operate edX as a public benefit entity, which means that in addition to creating value for shareholders, edX will also provide a specific public benefit—in this case, online courses, some of which can be audited for free. Currently, edX offers more than 3,000 online programs. “With the acquisition,” according to a University statement, “2U’s network will expand to include more than 230 partners, including over 185 nonprofit colleges and universities and 19 of the top 20 ranked universities globally.”
Harvard University provost Alan M. Garber said in an interview that the most important aspect of the match with 2U is that the company will continue edX’s mission. “They have committed to continuing to provide free audit tracks—in other words, free courses—in a wide range of subjects. And there are other provisions of the agreement,” said Garber, “that give us a great deal of comfort” that they will continue to make “great courses available at low or no cost to learners throughout the world.” …”
“I won’t describe the announcement here but instead list preliminary media coverage and then share three charts that I think help explain why 2U would acquire the edX assets for $800 million. I’ll add some additional analysis on what this deal means for online education in a second post….”
“2U will acquire substantially all of the assets of edX—a leading nonprofit online learning platform and marketplace—for $800M in cash. Together, 2U and edX will reach over 50 million learners globally, serve more than 230 partners, and offer over 3,500 digital programs on the world’s most comprehensive free-to-degree online education marketplace. The combined scale, reach, capabilities, marketing efficiency, and relationships of 2U and edX will unlock unprecedented opportunity for learners, universities, and employers worldwide….”