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News roundup | Coursera Starting Chinese-language MOOCs

Welcome. Here’s your roundup of MOOC News for April 7, 2013

Let’s start with my vote for the most overlooked news of the week (and a great example of burying the lede.) According to the last third of a story in Xinhua Insight, Coursera will launch a Chinese-language platform in August using the National Taiwan University’s history classes and a Chinese opera course from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Similar Chinese-language partnerships are in the works, according to Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng, who was in Beijing two weeks ago to promote the company.

Also largely overlooked — brought to our attention by Ray Schroeder’s Online Learning Update — is news of a course at the University of Indiana limited to 500 students and therefore just a BOOC. (The B is for Big.) The goal of this model is to foster more dialogue than is typical in a MOOC, dividing students into professional networking groups and relying on “wikifolios” that facilitate sharing and commenting on written drafts.

The course, “Assessment Practices, Principles and Policies,” is designed especially for educators coping with new curriculum standards and achievement tests. It starts in September, is supported by a grant from Google and uses Google’s Coursebuilder learning management system.

“Google wants to know whether interactive online practices that are working well with 20 students can be scaled up,” says Professor Dan Hickey.

The big news this week, obviously, was the partnership announced between edX and Stanford University to merge Stanford’s existing Class2Go platform in the edX source code, which is now open source. You can read the full press release here.

While we’re on the subject of Stanford, aspiring MOOC teachers will want to look at a new series of interviews with Stanford faculty talking about their experience so far with designing online courses. A couple of samples:

“In my typical class I might have 40 students. That means when they do a project, there are 10 teams of four – so when I give a challenge, we get to see 10 solutions to that problem. Well, if I have 40,000 students, then we get to see a huge number of solutions.”

-Tina Seelig, professor of the practice in management science and engineering.


“Affording knowledge to the world is expanding the function of the university and what the university is relating to. We’re gaining more legitimacy with populations of people without money, with people who aren’t elites, and I think that’s part of our mission as a nonprofit. Plus, we’re finding all these wonderful people out there we wouldn’t learn about otherwise.”

-Dan McFarland, associate professor of education

Lastly, as we reported earlier, the camel’s nose got a little further under the tent this week on the issue of college credit for MOOCs when announced that three of their free online courses have been regionally accredited and are being accepted for transfer credit at seven institutions.

That’s all we have time for this week, but that’s not all that happened by a long-shot. Let us know about the news we missed in our comments section.

Robert McGuire (52 Posts)

My content marketing services firm provides all-in-one external staff solutions for companies looking to grow their business through thought leadership. I started MOOC News & Reviews in 2013 out of a fascination with the economic, demographic and technological forces impacting edtech, online education and higher education, and I wanted to provide a forum for serious discussion of this new phenomenon. I love building communities of writers engaging in lively critical dialogue about emerging issues.