professionalcourses professional, fee-based education courses are being revamped with new additions coming from Microsoft and the University of British Columbia.

  • Windows PowerShell Fundamentals. This course about managing Windows-based servers offers the opportunity to earn a certificate demonstrating competency which can be added to a resume or job application. It begins on April 14th and costs $200.

This Professional Education Program was designed in 2014 to offer busy professionals a flexible, affordable and impactful way to build skills and advance their careers without having to leave their offices or homes. Since then, hundred of learners have completed them. In total, there are eight courses.


The second Open edX meetup attracted around one hundred innovators last Thursday April 9th in New York. Three speakers coming from Washington D.C., San Jose, CA, and Boston, and one from New York, energized and engaged the audience with insights and ideas. The event was live-broadcasted online.

Michael Keany (McKinsey Academy), Paul Berman (GW), Beth Porter (edX) and Jack McLaughlin (PepperPD) spoke about the challenges and opportunities surrounding Open edX technology and pedagogy during the event, hosted at McKinsey Academy.

On the other hand, the Open edX meetup group reached 300 members last week.

The two-hour event, which was sold out, concluded with a round table.

Here is the audio of the event: was acquired last week by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion (52 percent cash and 48 percent stock).

Founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, Lynda has a massive library of 6,300 courses and 267,000 video tutorials. In addition to individual subscribers, serves corporate, government and educational organizations through its lyndaEnterprise, lyndaPro, lyndaCampus, lyndaLibrary and lyndaKiosk products.

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with over 300 million members worldwide, stated that “’s high-quality content provides opportunity for members to easily gain the professional skills they need to get hired and advance their careers”, while Lynda Weinman said that “we have a shared vision of connecting relevant knowledge to those in need of new or stronger skills”.

It seems that LinkedIn will try to match users with courses that fill gaps in their skill sets. Regarding the badges and certifications challenge, currently gives certificates of completion to individuals who finish most of their courses. However, it is unclear how much value employers and recruiters will place in these badges and micro-credentials.


college ed

How do you determine whether prospective students are prepared for the best colleges?

Today grading standards vary among teachers and high schools. Personal essays could have been written by someone else or engineered because of the work of essay-writing coaches. SAT and ACT scores can be maximized through prep courses and different techniques that have little to do with achievement. Letters of recommendations and extracurricular activities are also imprecise measurement tools. Add to this the monetary contributions from wealthy families and Ivy League slots in high schools.

This imperfect information system is reflected by the fact that more than one in four students who start college drop out or transfer within three years.

MOOCs offered by dozens of elite colleges give high school students a chance to prove that they are ready for a university. In turn, the institution gets an accurate measure of whether a student is prepared for academics. edX and Coursera offer real courses –sometimes eves the same classes that are taught to freshmen– from the world’s greatest universities.

  • “MOOC success is much more likely to predict success in college classes than SAT scores, because MOOC success is, in fact, success in college classes”, explains Kevin Carey, director of policy program at New America.
  • “Online college courses also can be a better measure of student aptitude than Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes, which are considered in admissions by many colleges.”
  • “The availability of real, free college courses means universities won’t have to rely on such flawed proxies in the future. Instead they’ll be able to pick and choose from among students who have already demonstrated that they can excel at demanding college work.” 

Colleges are now figuring out how to incorporate MOOCs into admissions and make them recruiting tools. On the other side, students are listing MOOCs among extracurricular activities.

“It will become much harder for privileged parents to help their less-talented children game the system. Unless, of course, elite schools really wanted the children of the rich and powerful all along.”

[The Washington Post: Goodbye, SAT: How online courses will change college admissions]


“edX will become the world leader in website accessibility for learners with disabilities”, said Tena Herlihy, edX General Counsel, after the educational portal voluntarily entered into an agreement with the US Department of Justice.

After this agreement, edX will conform its website, platform and mobile applications, to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA (WCAG 2.00 AA), published by the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C’s) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

“Our vision—quality education for everyone, everywhere—can only be achieved when our site is accessible to all users, including people with disabilities”.

The edX and Open edX platform already incorporates synchronized transcripts, video replay at different speeds, keyboard-accessible controls, support for screen reader users and tools to enable the creation of accessible content. Shortly, edX will release Student Notes, the first accessible text annotation tool.

HarvardX and MITx have released a paper that explores how audiences used MOOCs from the fall of 2012 to the summer of 2014.  In that period, the growth of MOOC participants was linear –but not exponential, at a rate of about 1,300 per day.

The report concludes that the future of MOOCs is yet to be written.

[Paper: HarvardX and MITx: Two Years of Open Online Courses Fall 2012-Summer 2014]

McKinsey Academy has decided to offer a course in Business Strategy to qualified participants at a fee of $2,500. The McKinsey Academy team will review applications, select the most suitable participants and then decide whether the course, scheduled in June, is viable.

McKinsey Academy considers this initiative as a special edX offer.


lagunitaStanford’s Open edX platform,, has been rebranded to Lagunita (, changed its look and introduced some behind-the-scenes improvements.

“We named Lagunita after the lake near our headquarters on the Stanford University grounds. It’s a peaceful place to walk, ruminate, and spot Northern California wildlife in the midst of a vibrant campus,” explains Stanford’s team.

This Open edX instance, launched in April 2013, is part of the Stanford Online initiative.