In Move Towards More Online Degrees, Coursera Introduces Its First Bachelor’s — from by Sydney Johnson


These days, though, many MOOC platforms are courting the traditional higher-ed market they once rebuked, often by hosting fully-online masters degrees for colleges and universities. And today, one of the largest MOOC providers, Coursera, announced it’s going one step further in that direction, with its first fully online bachelor’s degree.

“We are realizing that the vast reach of MOOCs makes them a powerful gateway to degrees,” Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda said in a statement.

The new degree will be a bachelor of science in computer science from the University of London. The entire program will cost between £9,600 and £17,000 (approximately $13,300 to $23,500), depending on a student’s geographic location. According to a spokesperson for Coursera, the program’s “cost is adjusted based on whether a student is in a developed or developing economy.”



From DSC:
At least a couple of questions come to mind here:

  • What might the future hold if the U.S. Department of Education / the Federal Government begins funding these types of alternatives to traditional higher education?
  • Will Coursera be successful here and begin adding more degrees? If so, a major game-changer could be on our doorsteps.




EdX Quietly Developing ‘MicroBachelors’ Program — from by Jeff Young


EdX, the nonprofit online-education group founded by MIT and Harvard, is quietly developing a “MicroBachelors” degree that is designed to break the undergraduate credential into Lego-like components.

In December, edX won a $700,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation to support the MicroBachelors effort with the organization’s university partners. Officials from edX declined to talk about the project, saying only that it is in the early stages. But at a higher-education innovation summit last month hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, listed the project as part of the group’s long-term vision that began with its MicroMasters program. And the organization has filed a trademark for the term “MicroBachelors” as well.


“Education in five to ten years will become modular, will become omnichannel, and will become lifelong,” Agarwal said at the meeting, later explaining that omnichannel meant offering courses either online or in person.


How would a MicroBachelors be different than, say, a two-year associate’s degree, which is arguably already half a bachelor’s degree? Sarma said that the idea behind both MicroMasters and MicroBachelors is that they are “about putting stuff that can be done online, online.” In other words, the big idea is offering a low-cost, low-risk way for students to start an undergraduate education even if they can’t get to a campus.




Also relevant/see:




A Product at Every Price: A Review of MOOC Stats and Trends in 2017 — from by Dhawal Shah

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The MOOC landscape has grown to include 9,400 courses, more than 500 MOOC-based credentials, and more than a dozen graduate degrees. The total number of MOOCs available to register for at any point of time is larger than ever, thanks to tweaks in the scheduling policy by MOOC providers.

However, for the first time, we are seeing a slowdown in the number of new learners, a direct result of a shift in priorities towards users who are willing to pay. According to data gathered by Class Central, around 20 million new learners signed up for their first MOOC in 2017, fewer than the 23 million new learners who registered for a MOOC in 2016. The total number of MOOC learners is now 78 million.

Here is a list of the top five MOOC providers by registered users:

  1. Coursera: 30 million users
  2. edX: 14 million users
  3. XuetangX: 9.3 million users
  4. FutureLearn: 7.1 million users
  5. Udacity: 5 million users


Up to now, efforts to offer college credit for MOOCs have been targeted towards students who are enrolled in on-campus degree programs at the institutions that produced the MOOCs. Now, for the first time, we are seeing examples in which on-campus students have the option to earn credit from MOOCs, even from colleges and universities other than the one they attend.





The big MOOC providers now have a product at every price point—from free to million-dollar licensing deals with employers.






From DSC:
Regarding the article below…why did it take Udacity needing to team up with Infosys to offer this type of program and curriculum? Where are the programs in institutions of traditional higher education on this?  Are similar programs being developed? If so, how quickly will they come to market? I sure hope that such program development is in progress..and perhaps it is. But the article below goes to show us that alternatives to traditional higher education seem to be more responsive to the new, exponential pace of change that we now find ourselves in.

We have to pick up the pace! To do this, we need to identify any obstacles to our institutions adapting to this new pace of change — and then address them immediately. I see our current methods of accreditation as one of the areas that we need to address. We’ve got to get solid programs to market much faster!

And for those folks in higher ed who say change isn’t happening rapidly — that it’s all a bunch of hype — you likely still have a job. But you need to go talk with some people who don’t, or who’ve had their jobs recently impacted big time. Here are some suggestions of folks to talk with:

  • Taxi drivers who were impacted by Lyft and by Uber these last 5-10 years; they may still have their jobs, if they’re lucky. But they’ve been impacted big time…and are likely driving for Lyft and/or Uber as well as their former employers; they’re likely to have less bargaining power than they used to as the supply of drivers has skyrocketed. (By the way, the very existence of such organizations couldn’t have happened without the smartphone and mobile-related technologies/telecommunications.)
  • Current managers and former employees at hotels/motels about the impacts on their industry by AirBnB over a similar time frame
  • Hiring managers at law firms who’ve cut back on hiring entry-level lawyers…work that’s increasingly being done by software (example)
  • Employees who worked at brick and mortar retailers who have been crushed by’s online-based presence (in not that long of time, by the way). For example, below is what our local Sears store looks like these days…go find an employee who used to work at Sears or a Sears automotive-related store:


This is what our local Sears store looks like today

This picture is for those who say there is no disruption.
You call
this hype?!


The above example list — that’s admittedly woefully incomplete — doesn’t include the folks displaced by technology over the last several decades, such as:

  • Former bank tellers who lost their jobs to ATMs
  • Checkout clerks at the grocery stores who lost their jobs to self-service stations
  • Check-in agents at the airports who lost their jobs to self-service stations
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Institutions of traditional higher education
need to pick up the pace — big time!


Infosys and Udacity team up to train 500 engineers in autonomous technologies — from by Leah Brown
Infosys’ COO Ravi Kumar explains how these individuals can apply what they learn to other industries.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Infosys, a global technology consulting firm, recently partnered with online learning platform Udacity to create a connected service that provides training for autonomous vehicles, and other services for B2B providers of autonomous vehicles.

TechRepublic’s Dan Patterson met with Infosys’ COO Ravi Kumar to discuss how autonomous technology can help create new industries.

Autonomous technology is going to be an emerging technology of the future, Kumar said. So Infosys and Udacity came together and developed a plan to train 500 engineers on autonomous technologies, and teach them how to apply it to other industries.


Per Wikipedia:
Udacity is a for-profit educational organization founded by Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens, and Mike Sokolsky offering massive open online courses (MOOCs). According to Thrun, the origin of the name Udacity comes from the company’s desire to be “audacious for you, the student.” While it originally focused on offering university-style courses, it now focuses more on vocational courses for professionals.



But times are changing. Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are facilitating the automation of a growing number of “doing” tasks. Today’s AI-enabled, information-rich tools are increasingly able to handle jobs that in the past have been exclusively done by people—think tax returns, language translations, accounting, even some kinds of surgery. These shifts will produce massive disruptions to employment and hold enormous implications for you as a business leader. (




How to be an ed tech futurist — from by Bryan Alexander
While no one can predict the future, these forecasting methods will help you anticipate trends and spur more collaborative thinking.


Some of the forecasting methods Bryan mentions are:

  • Trend analysis
  • Environmental scanning
  • Scenarios
  • Science fiction





From DSC:
I greatly appreciate the work that Bryan does — the topics that he chooses to write about, his analyses, comments, and questions are often thought-provoking. I couldn’t agree more with Bryan’s assertion that forecasting needs to become more realized/practiced within higher education. This is especially true given the exponential rate of change that many societies throughout the globe are now experiencing.

We need to be pulse-checking a variety of landscapes out there, to identify and put significant trends, forces, and emerging technologies on our radars. The strategy of identifying potential scenarios – and then developing responses to those potential scenarios — is very wise.














Updating Education for the Evolving Job Market: Learning at the Pace of Life and Work — from by Sophie Wade

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A technology-stimulated, connected, and accelerated marketplace is generating different roles and additional skills requirements for us as workers. The traditional model of completing our lifelong education needs before we enter the workforce is now obsolete. On-the-job experience must now be supplemented as business and technological requirements evolve significantly and rapidly. Compelling new multilevel learning options are emerging to cater to the new necessity of updating important knowledge and capabilities at work. Many new offerings are online and modular in order to be accessible and flexible, giving labor force participants greater opportunity to remain relevant and competitive.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Era, evolution typically occurred from generation to generation. New developments were adopted by incoming cohorts, adding to and then replacing well-established workers’ existing practices of which could be phased out gradually. However, the exponential pace that is characteristic of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is requiring modifications to be absorbed and adapted within a generation accompanied by frequent incremental updates and revisions. Innovative learning models and modules that target incoming and existing working populations are being built out to respond to business-related requirements as new fields, disciplines, and roles appear and are established.

I talked to Anant Agarwal, CEO and Founder of edX, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT about the situation for new workforce entrants and the future education of workers. He spoke of what he called “MOOC 2.0” as the next phase of evolution of this high-profile MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) platform and the strategic rationale and content of edX’s new MicroMasters program offerings.



As a member of the International Education Committee, at edX we are extremely aware of the changing nature of work and jobs. It is predicted that 50 percent of current jobs will disappear by 2030.

Anant Agarwal, CEO and Founder of edX, and
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT


From DSC:
We are moving towards providing up-to-date, relevant “streams of content” (which will in many cases represent unbundled content/courses). Mark my words, that’s the future that we’re heading for — and the future that we’ll need to successfully adapt to the new, exponential pace of change. Organizations offering such streams will be providing a valuable service in terms identifying, presenting, curating the most relevant, up-to-date content.











Udacity Launches a ‘Learn ARKit’ Course Created in Collaboration with Unity — from by Scott Hayden


With ARKit already baked into the mobile operating system of “hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads,” the massive potential install base means there’s plenty of reasons for developers to start making new augmented reality apps for Apple’s App Store. Now Udacity, the for-profit online education site that was spawned from free Stanford University computer science classes, has created a course that says will take you one month to complete so you can start making your own AR apps for iOS.



From DSC:
Again, how many of these types of courses/programs are in the works right now throughout traditional institutions of higher education? My guess? Very few.



What’s keeping us from being more responsive?







The Top 200 Tools for Learning 2017 (11th Annual Survey) has been compiled by Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies from the votes of 2,174 learning professionals worldwide, together with 3 sub-lists

  • Top 100 Tools for Personal & Professional Learning (PPL)
  • Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning (WPL)
  • Top 100 Tools for Education (EDU)


Excerpt from the Analysis page (emphasis DSC):

Here is a brief analysis of what’s on the list and what it tells us about the current state of personal learning, workplace learning and education.

Some facts

Some observations on what the Top Tools list tells us personal and professional learning
As in previous years, individuals continue to using a wide variety of:

  • networks, services and platforms for professional networking, communication and collaboration
  • web resources and courses for self-improvement and self-development
  • tools for personal productivity

All of which shows that many individuals have become highly independent, continuous modern professional learners – making their own decisions about what they need to learn and how to do it.





Amazon and Codecademy team up for free Alexa skills training — from by Khari Johnson


Amazon and tech training app Codecademy have collaborated to create a series of free courses. Available today, the courses are meant to train developers as well as beginners how to create skills, the voice apps that interact with Alexa.

Since opening Alexa to third-party developers in 2015, more than 20,000 skills have been made available in the Alexa Skills Store.





Udacity adds a new ‘Intro to Self-Driving Cars’ Nanodegree — from by Darrell Etherington


You likely won’t be surprised when I tell you that building a self-driving car is difficult and complex. Udacity has tried to help address that difficulty with flexible, online education for self-driving engineers through its Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree program, and now it’s expanding its offerings with a new Intro to Self-Driving Cars Nanodegree being introduced at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 that’s designed to help funnel more talent into the intermediate-level course, and from there into the workforce, where demand is incredibly strong and growing.

Udacity’s Nanodegrees are designed from the start to help democratize education in areas of tech where there’s a strong appetite from the employer side, and not nearly enough talent to go around. But what the company found with its self-driving material was that it was actually quite advanced compared to the skill level of interested students, so it set out to create a kind of fundamentals introductory program to help make sure more could enter the main course with a better foundation.

Also new to this program, and again in the spirit of increasing access to education for these very high demand skills, Udacity is teaming up with Lyft, which will be providing 400 full scholarships (covering the total $800 value) for the Intro program. Applications for those open today, too.




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