canvas

Blended learning –the strategic combination of face-to-face and online learning experiences– is growing in popularity within higher education and K-12 settings.

Well, now there is a free MOOC intended to provide assistance when developing and designing blended learning courses. “BlendKit2014 – Becoming a Blended Learning Designer” is a five-week MOOC that starts in April 21. It is offered on Canvas.net by Educause and the University of Central Florida.

The creators will share the valuable tools, information and methods that have developed during the past two decades. The course involves:

  • Readings from scholarly works pertaining to blended learning
  • Document templates and practical step-by-step “how to” guides
  • Blogging/social networking interaction opportunities
  • Regular interactions with facilitators and students
  • Expert and peer assessment and critique on design work

Participants may choose to pursue a credential from the Universal Central Florida/EDUCAUSE as ”Certified Blended Learning Designer”, as well as digital badge that can be linked to their EDUCAUSE profile and displayed on professional and social networks. For that the will need to submit a portfolio review –available for an $89 fee.

open source

This is the main conclusion of a survey conducted by the OpenDaylight Project and Gigaom among 600 IT decision makers in North America.

The main reason why enterprises want open source technology is the potential cost savings and freedom of choice. Organizations want also systems that follow industry standards, which improve system interoperability and reduce vendor lock-in. OpenDaylight Project concludes that “open source projects can create de facto standards through common code development.

The full report is available as a free PDF download from the OpenDaylight Project’s site.

Warren Buffett billionaire appears in videos that are part of a free MOOC offered by his sister Doris on EdX’s platform.

Giving With Purpose: How to get the most out of your charitable giving” course is produced by Northwestern University and Doris Buffett’s Learning By Giving Foundation.

  • It teaches to identify effective nonprofit organizations and apply course concepts by awarding more than $100,000 in grants to student-nominated nonprofits.
  • It is designed to help students “become more purposeful givers and engage more effectively with nonprofit organizations in their communities.”

HBX

Harvard Business School has developed a new learning platform called HBX, that uses technology that complements Harvard and MIT’s edX venture platform.

HBX incorporates real-word case studies, interactive tools and a “cold call” feature where students must answer questions on the spot while their peers rate their response. Soon it will introduce HBX Live, a virtual classroom that allows remote participants to interact directly with one another.

The first offering on the HBX platform consists of three non-credit courses Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting. It is designed for undergraduate students, graduate students in non-business fields and people just starting business careers. The fee for the program is $1,500 per student.

“Our offerings must be highly differentiated from existing alternatives. Our challenge is to establish a standard for excellence in online business education and pedagogy, just as we have established the standard for excellence in our case method classrooms,” says Dean Nitin Nohria.

(HBX’s principles).

edx learning management system

Edx.org, with over 160 courses on its platform, has crossed the 2 million students mark, while Coursera.com has attracted 7 million users also in almost two years.

Now both organizations are trying to convince partner universities that offering large-scale MOOCs is an important part of their mission that helps faculty expand their reach, and benefits the world.

Most of the students are over 30, and are using the courses either for personal fulfillment or to improve their their job skills.

In terms of sources of revenue, EdX and Coursera fight to become more revenue self-sustaining, while trying out a number of approaches and research into blended learning.

      • Coursera recently introduced a series of courses costing $250 to $500 in which students can earn a certificate that will be valued by employers.
      • EdX currently earns revenue from new executive education classes, which cost $500.
      • Other source for EdX is based on providing verified certificates for its courses, which cost between $25 and $200 for verification. Currently 40 out of 160 courses offer verified certificates.

linux

Linux OS runs Google, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, Amazon, Android phones and tablets; it powers 94 percent of the world’s supercomputers, 9 out of the 10 of the world’s stock exchanges and increasingly cars, TVs and appliances. Linux is everywhere!

This “Introduction to Linux”, run by the Linux Foundation, course has attracted over 40,000 registrations in just four days.

Demand for Linux talent is on the rise. This course sounds like a great deal!

ufv1

We are now in a huge production for Francisco de Vitoria University, in Spain, and we want to share our experience. (The picture above shows Professor Ángel Sánchez-Palencia during a recording of a MOOC about Antropology).

Some findings:

  • Pre-production is key. We plan lesson content carefully before jumping to the ground.
  • Post-production is equally important. We add lots of images, b-roll and graphic resources. We don’t want to display just a talking head.
  • We avoid studio recording. We like videos produced with a personal feel, filmed in informal settings.
  • We encourage and train instructors to speak with a high enthusiasm and fairly quickly. We want them to bring out their enthusiasm as educators.
  • Shorter videos are much more engaging. Engagement drops after 5-6 minutes. (Regarding the engagement time, there is an interesting analysis from the University of Rochester).

idb

In Latin America and The Caribbean there are about 30 million civil servants. Many do not have access to specialized training, for lack of financial resources in their respective administrations.

In order to expand its reach, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will make their training programs accessible in the region through MOOCs and the Open edX platform.

IDBx will be teh name of their edX platform. The first two courses offered, in Spanish, are “Managing for Development Results in Subnational Governments” and “Better Pensions, Better Jobs: Exploring pension coverage”.

It seems to me that these are the first MOOCs in Spanish in the edx.org platform.

Why people believe weird things, how they form and change opinions, how we can make better decision. These are the answers that this course explores: The Science of Everyday Thinking.

This course, on the edX.org platform, went live at the beginning of March. So far it has attracted over 100,000 –including myself.

From the course-design view, this is a sample of how to capture and hold the interest of thousand of people worldwide.

The approach has been to film unscripted, real conversations with several interesting people across a variety of topic, and to film ‘lecture’ content in different, everyday locations, following a documentary style.

Creators traveled the globe to film conversations with some clever people including Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Prize in economic science, Elizabeth Loftus who pioneered the study of false memories, Ian Frazer who developed a cervical cancer vaccine, and even the MythBusters about testing claims and distinguishing between fact and fiction.

“We met 22 leading thinkers from across the world and combined hundreds of hours of conversations, demonstrations, and assessment into short, highly polished episodes on how to evaluate claims, learn and remember information better, and ultimately make smarter decisions,” creators explain.

This is the YouTube Channel to watch all the videos.

onlineuniversities

Educational institutions can capitalize on lead generation marketing to create sales leads and revenue.

In order to achieve that, they must place emphasis on proper SEO optimization, set call-to-action tactics via contact form and request information pages, implement webinars and forums, maximize social networking sites building communities, offer email subscriptions…

This article contains a great analysis of must-do things.

In addition, this Mashable’s infographic explains how schools are enhancing recruitment efforts by offering virtual tours, posting student videos, promoting campus activities, reaching out to parents and connecting with alumni through social networking.