6 minute read  written by  . Published on April 26, 2017

MOOCWatch #14: The Shrinking of Free

I took one of the very first MOOCs. Back then, the videos, assignments, and certificates were all free. That was in 2011. Unfortunately, this experience can’t be replicated in 2017.

What’s free in MOOCs has constantly been shrinking. In recent months, FutureLearn has started limiting access to MOOCs once they are over, while Coursera has made it harder to receive financial aid.

But at the other end of the spectrum, MOOC providers are also trying to move upmarket and create offerings that are more expensive than a single course. Every MOOC provider has expanded their product lines to target multiple price points from tens of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

The most expensive example of this is a full-fledged online degree. Class Central has built a list of nine completely online MOOC-based master’s degrees.

In this edition of MOOCWatch, you’ll also find interviews with international MOOC providers, the sequel to the world’s most popular MOOC, and news on MOOC conferences.

MOOCWatch is back after a hiatus. It’s time-consuming to create, so I would appreciate it if you can share this article on your favorite social network.

If you like MOOCWatch, I would also recommend subscribing to FutureLearn’s Chris Fellingham’s Education Intelligence newsletter or Sophie Bailey’s The Edtech Podcast.


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TOP STORIES

SHRINKING OF FREE via EdSurge
I wrote a column on EdSurge about what you can still get for free from the biggest four MOOC providers.

MISSING MOOCS via Class Central
Over time a number of really popular MOOCs have been taken off of MOOC provider websites). Class Central has built a list of nine such courses, and we recommend alternative places to find them.

MOOC-BASED MASTERS via Class Central

This is a list of nine completely online master’s degrees offered by MOOC providers. Coursera announced two of these degrees recently, and has plans to offer up to 20 masters degrees by 2019.

MOOCS CAN HAVE SEQUELS TOO via Class Central

The instructors of the most popular MOOC in the world, Learning How To Learn, are now back with a new MOOC: Mindshift. This new online course is already getting rave reviews on Class Central. Class Central also features in the MOOC.

How a Complete Novice Created the World’s Largest Online Course | Observer

REGIONAL MOOC PROVIDERS via Class Central
We continue our interview series with regional MOOC providers. This time we interviewed MéxicoX and FUN.

MéxicoX: Meet the MOOC Platform Funded by the Mexican Government
France Université Numérique: Meet the MOOC Platform Funded by the French Government
MéxicoX: Growth, Monetization, Stability: How Will These Challenges be Faced?

BEST DATA VISUALIZATION COURSES via Class Central
This is part four of our six-piece Data Science Career Guide, which recommends the best MOOCs for launching yourself into the data science industry.

COURSERA CONFERENCE via Coursera
Coursera’s fifth annual partner’s conference took place in Boulder, Colorado, between March 29–31. The conference featured big names like Ted Mitchell, former U.S. Under Secretary of Education, and Michael Moe, co-founder of GSV Capital. You can get a glimpse of what happened there by looking at the schedule and the conference Twitter hashtags.

Main Schedule | Coursera Conference 2017
MOOC Hype and the Coursera Partners’ Conference 2017 — Yin Wah Kreher
#courserapartners17 hashtag on Twitter
Reflections from our 5th annual Coursera Partners Conference | Coursera Blog

MORE COURSERA NEWS via Class Central
Here’s a round-up of Coursera news:

Coursera Introduces Free Trial for Specializations, Financial Aid Applications Now Take at Least 15 Days — Class Central
Coursera Removes Biometric Identity Verification Using Keystroke Matching — Class Central
Coursera Launches Two New Masters Degrees, Plans to Offer Up to 20 Degree Programs — Class Central

COURSERA CEO
Rick Levin, the former President of Yale and the current CEO of Coursera, has given a number of interviews recently.

Rick Levin on Moving From the Ivy League to Silicon Valley — The New York Times
Coursera’s Rick Levin on the Evolution of MOOCs and Microcredentials | EdSurge News
#224 Coursera CEO Rick Levin: Disruption in Learning and Education — YouTube

TWO MILLION STUDENTS via The Michigan Daily

The University of Michigan has 1.9 million students enrolled across all its online courses. Read our interview with James DeVaney, who’s at the head of the university’s online efforts.
The University of Michigan Bets Big on MOOCs, Crosses Five Million Enrollments — Class Central

TEN MOST POPULAR MOOCS via Class Central
The best new courses starting in April 2017.

MOOC COURSE REPORT via Class Central
A list of 1,900+ free online courses starting in April 2017.

NEW ONLINE COURSES AND MOOCs via Class Central
The list of 190 new courses added to Class Central in March 2017.


The signing of MOU. Source: JMOOC Facebook page.

ASIA-PACIFIC MOOCS CONFERENCE via Class Central
Last month on March 2 and 3, the 1st Asia-Pacific MOOCs Stakeholders Summit took place in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference saw a MOU signed between MOOC, K-MOOC, and ThaiMOOC.

FUTURELEARN MONETIZATION via Class Central
Last month FutureLearn announced a new pricing model that limits access to course content and exams.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP GOES MASSIVE via Class Central
Y Combinator, the #1 startup accelerator in the world, attempts to scale its startup mentorship program by creating a MOOC. They have a special mentorship track for Startup founders. 3000 startups (including Class Central) are included in this track.

THAI MOOC
The first Asia-Pacific MOOC conference also saw the launch of ThaiMOOC, the official MOOC platform for Thailand.

MASTERCLASS FUNDING via EdSurge
MasterClass raised $35M to expand celebrity-led courses.

ART SCHOOLS AND KADENZE via Inside Higher Ed
Kadenze partners with four new art schools: the University of Victoria, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the College of Fine Arts at UNLV, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

XUETANGX CLOUD LMS PLATFORM
In 2014, Chinese MOOC provider XuetangX launched a learning management system (LMS) called “XuetangX Cloud.” The launch happened at the Tsinghua University campus. Now one-and-a-half million Chinese students are using the LMS.
More info about XuetangX: XuetangX: A Look at China’s First and Biggest MOOC Platform — Class Central

STANFORD MOOC STUDY via Stanford
A Stanford study found that completing an eight minute writing task before starting a course can boost course completion rates for students from individualistic but not collectivist cultures.

REUSE OF ONLINE COURSE CONTENT via Harvard Gazette
Harvard launches HarvardDART, a tool for Harvard professors to search for and access HarvardX courses.

FIVE YEARS LATER via Insider Higher Ed
Steven Mintz gives his perspective on the changes in Higher Ed since the MOOC revolution kicked off.

About MOOCWatch

MOOCWatch is a monthly digest of information related to MOOCs meant for professors and administrators, or others who are involved in education and want to stay up-to-date in the MOOC space. In addition to broad coverage, MOOCWatch also contains unique data sourced from Class Central (such as course popularity rankings). To subscribe to MOOCWatch, visit class-central.com/moocwatch