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MOOCWatch August 2016: India’s Government-Run MOOC Platform

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Anuar Andres Lequerica is Class Central’s analyst. MOOCWatch is a monthly digest of everything related to MOOCs. Subscribe.

India’s new government-run MOOC platform SWAYAM has launched. It was originally supposed to launch in October 2014. We recently tried SWAYAM and it mostly malfunctioned. We also recently looked into the Colombian government’s MOOCs and sadly those also malfunctioned. Several other governments are attempting to launch MOOC platforms. We will keep you updated on those efforts.

Coursera’s co-founder Daphne Koller is leaving the company to continue her healthcare AI research by joining Calico, a subsidiary of Alphabet. She will remain co-chair of the board at Coursera.


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Microsoft launches a degree on edX costing around $500. MIT, Stanford and Harvard launch online courses that are bigger than small private online courses (SPOCs) but smaller than MOOCs.

Coursera crosses 400,000 learners in Colombia. Dutch universities reach 2 million MOOC learners. The University of Pennsylvania crosses 5 million MOOC enrollments.

There are new MOOC-related studies and surveys. Plus, new MOOCs on wine, slapstick, Oscar Wilde, and cooking.

Find all these stories and more in this month’s MOOCWatch.

Please share MOOCWatch with your colleagues in the online learning field.

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MOOCWatch August 2016

GOVERNMENT-RUN MOOCS via Class Central
Indian government launches its MOOC platform SWAYAM.
SWAYAM: Inside India’s Massive Bet on MOOCs

We test SWAYAM and sadly find it unusable.
SWAYAM, India’s MOOC Platform, Launches In Beta — It’s Off To A Rocky Start

DAPHNE KOLLER LEAVES COURSERA via Class Central
Coursera’s co-founder Daphne Koller is leaving the company to continue her healthcare AI research by joining Calico, a subsidiary of Alphabet. She will remain co-chair of the board at Coursera.

EXTRA LIFE FOR IVERSITY via Techcrunch
Iversity, a small MOOC provider based in Germany, is saved from bankruptcy.

TREEHOUSE WANTS PROFITS via EdSurge
Online course provider Treehouse, which has over 600,000 enrollments, cuts staff and alters its 32-hour workweek in hopes of achieving profitability.

COLOMBIANS LIKE COURSERA
Coursera reveals that it has over 400,000 students in Colombia and that 5 of the 10 most popular MOOCs for Colombians are from Bogota-based Universidad de los Andes.

MOOC TAUGHT BY CUTTING EDGE (& NOW RICH) INSTRUCTOR via Class Central
Carlos Guestrin, a University of Washington professor who teaches the machine learning Specialization on Coursera, just sold his machine learning startup to Apple for $200 million.

TEN MOST POPULAR MOOCS via Class Central
The best new courses starting in August 2016.

MOOC COURSE REPORT via Class Central
A list of 1300+ free online courses starting in August 2016.

NEW ONLINE COURSES AND MOOCs via Class Central
The list of 126 new courses added to Class Central in July 2016.

REGULATIONS VS. MOOCS via University World News
A professor in Saudi Arabia urges its dictatorship to recognize MOOC-based credentials as valid.

3-MICHELIN-STARRED MOOC
Around 18,000 people have enrolled (and 3,000 have finished) the cooking MOOC Introducción a la cocina al vacío on Spanish MOOC platform MiriadaX. The MOOC is co-taught by El Celler de Can Roca, one of the world’s top-rated restaurants.

MICROSOFT DATA SCIENCE DEGREE via eWeek
Microsoft launches a 10-course data science degree on edX costing around $500.

ART & DESIGN MOOCS via Class Central
Columbia University and the Berklee College of Music are the latests institutions to join Kadenze, the arts-focused MOOC platform.

HISTORY OF ONLINE MUSIC EDUCATION via Class Central
Article on the history of distance music education by Kadenze co-founder (and Princeton University music professor) Perry Cook.

BIGGER THAN A SPOC, SMALLER THAN A MOOC (PART I) via MIT Technology Review
MIT launches an online big data certificate that takes 8 weeks to complete, has cohorts of around 800 students, and costs $2,300 per students.

BIGGER THAN A SPOC, SMALLER THAN A MOOC (PART II) via Stanford
Stanford University has launched a microbiology open online course with enrollment capped in the hundreds. Students submit their data to be analysed in a centrally housed lab.

BIGGER THAN A SPOC, SMALLER THAN A MOOC (PART III) via The Crimson
Harvard University launches 8-week online courses in a new program called HarvardXPlus. The courses will cost between $200-$500 and enrollment will be capped in the hundreds.

HIGH-END ONLINE COURSES via Campus Technology
Harvard is using a high-end production studio to enhance student-teacher interaction in its online courses.

MOOCS FOR JOB SEEKERS via Udemy
Tech-focused career marketplace Dice partners with Udemy to help job seekers improve their skills.

NEW MONTHLY SESSIONS FOR ALL COURSERA MOOCS via Coursera
Coursera announced that all its MOOCs will soon be session-based (every MOOC will have a new session every month).

MOOCS IN HIGH SCHOOLS via edX
Boston University and Davidson College partner with seven high schools to test the use of MOOCs to teach AP curriculum during class time.

TEACHER TRAINING MOOCS via edX
Teach for America joins edX and, in an ironic inversion, launches a MOOC on teaching high school geometry. 

CYBERSECURITY MOOCS
Cybrary, a cybersecurity MOOC platform with over 500,000 users, raises $1.3 million to fuel its expansion.

ONLINE ENGLISH TUTORS FOR CHINA via EdSurge
VIPKID, a China-based one-on-one platform for English language learning, just raised $100 million.

MASSIVE NON-MACHINE GRADING via MIT
Students in the MIT Introduction to Philosophy MOOC on edX will have their essays graded by PhD students.

IMPROVING ACCESSIBILITY IN ONLINE COURSES via EdSurge
Article on using tech tools in online courses to improve accessibility.

THOUGHTS ON MOOCS & THE FUTURE OF LEARNING via EdSurge
Interview with MOOC pioneer George Siemens on how digitization is refocusing and personalizing learning.

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY GROWS ITS ONLINE PROGRAMS via AFR
Interview with ASU president Michael Crow discussing the university’s credit-granting MOOCs and its big partnership with Starbucks.

ADVICE ON MOOC-TAKING via HBR
Article on how to approach MOOCs written by Walter Frick, an editor at the Harvard Business Review and a MOOC addict.

TOP 50 MOOCS via Class Central
In case you missed it last month, here’s our list of the 50 best-reviewed free online courses in the world.

MOOCS INCREASING ACCESS TO LEARNING (PART I) via Campus Technology
Georgia Tech’s MOOC-based Computer Science Master’s degree single-handedly increased access to CS graduate education in the U.S. by 8% in its first year.

MOOCS INCREASING ACCESS TO LEARNING (PART II)
Online learning researcher Justin Reach describes some of the types of students that MOOC can reach.

QUALITY OF DEBATES IN MOOC FORUMS
Study on how students engage in forums with other students holding different political beliefs inside an education policy MOOC.

FEMINIST MOOCS & INCLUSION
When Smith College faculty created a MOOC on the psychology of feminist activists, they partnered with their undergraduate students to design it. They also asked the activists covered in the MOOC for input.

NETHERLAND MOOCS
Over 2 million people have enrolled in MOOCs offered by Dutch universities.

THE MOOC EFFECT via Insider Higher Ed
Article written by a director of media relations at MIT on the evolution and impact of MOOCs in the past few years.

PELL GRANTS EXPERIMENT via EdSurge
The U.S. Department of Education launches experiment allowing a few non-traditional online course providers to launch programs eligible for Pell Grants and federal student loans.

MOOC CONTEST
Fifteen students in an internet news video production MOOC won grants to travel to YouTube’s São Paulo offices for a workshop.

EDX NUMBERS via Insider Higher Ed
Over 2,300 faculty & staff have developed MOOCs on edX and over 840,000 certificates have been earned by learners.

UNDERGRADS START TO LOVE ONLINE COURSES
Enrollment in the University of Georgia’s non-MOOC online summer school courses has more than doubled in the last two years to 7,507. Most of the enrollments come from undergraduate students.

SURVEY OF NON-MOOC ONLINE STUDENTS via Campus Technology
New survey shows half of non-MOOC online students would not opt for in-person courses even if they were available to them and that fewer than one in five of them understood anything about MOOCs, micro-degrees or boot camps.

MOOC POWERHOUSE via University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania crosses 100 MOOCs and 5 million enrollments. All 12 of its schools are contributing MOOCs.

OSCAR WILDE MOOC
The Sorbonne will launch a MOOC on Oscar Wilde this October on edX.

SLAPSTICK MOOC via Class Central
New MOOC on the history of slapstick movies on the Canvas platform.

WINE MOOC
Over 50,000 people from 160 countries have signed up for the World of Wine: From Grape to Glass MOOC on edX by the University of Adelaide.

TAKING MOOCS ON YOUR PHONE & TABLET
MiriadaX, the Spanish MOOC platform with over 2 million students, has launched its app.

MBA MOOCS
Imperial College London joins edX and launches 4 MBA-related MOOCs.

MOOC DATA CONFERENCE via Harvard
Harvard University and MIT organized a conference with edX partners seeking to analyze MOOC student data.

MOOC ENGAGEMENT STUDY
Study of learner engagement in two FutureLearn MOOCs.

ONLINE COURSES FOR PARENTS via Geerkwire
A Kickstarter campaign for a new learning platforms for parents.

HEALTH MOOCS via International Business Times
Arianna Huffington will launch an online courses platform focused on health and wellness in the workplace.

NEW MOOC MODEL via The Economic Times
Flex Class is a new MOOC platform where students who complete the MOOCs get their tuition back from a sponsoring employer and internships / job offers.

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

Anuar Andres Lequerica is Class Central’s analyst. He has a graduate degree in education policy and has taken at least eight online courses across all the different platforms.