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MOOC News Roundup — Dinos, Sewers, Fractals and Webmaking


Welcome. Here’s your roundup of MOOC News for April 20, 2013

Well, the biggest MOOC news this week — of course — was the launch of MOOC News and Reviews. Thanks to all the contributors and new readers who have gotten us off to a great start.

In all seriousness, the announced launch of NovoEd this week is pretty important to MOOC users. Another Stanford start-up, NovoEd an attempt at a new MOOC model that facilitates more interaction between students in small groups.

by via Flickr

by via Flickr

One of the biggest, and under-reported, developments last week was the announcement between Udacity and San Jose State University to offer MOOCs for credit. (Not to be confused with the announcement the previous week between edX and San Jose State University. Must be something in the Silicon Valley water.)

There were other fascinating developments this week in the industry, such as Amherst College faculty spurning a courtship by edX. The student paper reporting on the faculty vote gives a peek at how these deals are being structured.

But that’s inside baseball. Let’s stay focused on how what matters to MOOC students right now.

We’re excited about all the independent MOOCs starting to spring up outside of the major platforms. These don’t get a lot of attention, and our goal is to help you find the most interesting options.

For example, all you budding environmental engineers out there, take a look at the course on Applied Sustainability from Fanshawe College in Ontario on the Desire2Learn platform. My favorite quote from the instructor’s trailer: “Over the next few weeks we’re going to be in sewers . . .” I can’t think of a better rationale for online education.

The Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico is getting in on the act with a mutli-disciplanary course, Introduction to Complexity, on the tools scientists need to understand complexity, including dynamics, fractals and information theory.

In the I-don’t-know-what-it’s-going-to-be-but-I-know-it’s-going-to-be-cool category is Teach the Web from a volunteer team at the Mozilla Foundation helping people learn to use Mozilla’s webmaker tools. Starts May 2.

Health care providers around the world without easy access to training and residencies have a new resource in, which describes itself as a portal for free accredited MOOCs in the health sciences. Actually, they’ve been around online ed for a while, but they’re starting to position their courses as MOOCs.

by Denise Chan via Flickr

by Denise Chan via Flickr

For our last course in the MOOC news roundup, let’s give one special mention to a Udacity course — because there are so many that one can get lost in the shuffle and because this one is too darn cute. The University of Alberta is offering Dino 101, the all-time most family-friendly MOOC. They describe it as a “high quality and rigorous MOOC that teaches learners the scientific method through the universal appeal of dinosaurs.” Scheduled start is September.

At MOOC News and Reviews, we’re also trying to keep an eye on MOOC translation developments. Little noticed this week was an announcement from Coursera that they are partnering with with a Moscow-based tech and entrepreneurship organization to translate courses into Russian.

That’s not everything this week by a long shot, but it’s what we thought fell through the cracks and deserved special attention. Got any tips for us? Leave a comment and we’ll look into it.

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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.