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MOOCWatch 22: The MOOC Hype Revisited

It’s almost nine years since MOOCs went mainstream. We don’t know if they have changed the world, but has the hype surrounding MOOCs had a bigger impact?

MOOCWatch 22 Illustration

It’s been almost nine years since MOOCs went mainstream. In this edition of MOOCWatch, we go back to the Year of the MOOC and try to capture the MOOC hype and its long-lasting impact.

We don’t know if MOOCs have changed the world. But the hype surrounding MOOCs might have had an even bigger impact.

We were one such beneficiary from this hype when Class Central was established back in 2011 to keep track of MOOCs (or rather, Stanford’s free online courses, as they were known back then), eventually landing a small investment in late 2013.

Also, we published our Best Online Courses of 2019 based on the reviews posted by Class Central users.

And finally, Coursera officially announced its annual subscription plan for a majority of the catalog, known as Coursera Plus (which we first reported late last year).

Top Stories

Capturing the Hype: Year of the MOOC Timeline Explained via Class Central
MOOC Hype Articles
Here’s the story of how Stanford’s online courses evolved into MOOCs. In October 2011, Stanford started offering three of their courses online for free. A year later, there were 250+ free online courses offered by 40+ universities.

From MOOCs to TikTok: The Unexpected Impact of the MOOC Hype via Class Central
Even though the MOOC hype might have fallen short of expectations, it did serve as a catalyst for change.

Best Online Courses of 2019 via Class Central
Class Central’s list of the highest-rated free online courses of 2019, based on thousands of learner reviews.

Bootcamps and ISAs: Economics, Challenges, and Opportunities via Class Central
At best, bootcamps represent an opportunity to democratise education. However, structural constraints make it difficult for bootcamps to generate vc scale returns.

Coursera Launches Annual Subscription Plan via Class Central
The subscription gives access to over 90% of Coursera’s catalog and includes unlimited certificates.

Free Certificate in Harvard’s Computer Science Intro (CS50) via Class Central
In 2020, CS50 offers new content, three specializations tracks, and a free certificate of completion.

Stanford Stops Offering Free Certificates via Class Central
Sadly, soon after we published this story on 40+ courses with a free certificate from Stanford, they became an institutional member of edX and the courses were moved from the Stanford Online Lagunita site to edX. The certificates are no longer free.

Now Most edX Courses Start Every Day via Class Central
Not to be outdone by Coursera’s “start today” policy, most edX courses now show today’s date for starting.

Love MOOCs, Will Travel: Digital Learning Conferences for 2020 via Class Central
Do you study, direct, or create online learning resources? If so, these conferences are a good place to meet others from your tribe.

Shell Aims to Enroll Thousands in Online Artificial-Intelligence Training via The Wall Street Journal
About 2,000 of Shell’s 82,000 employees have expressed interest in or have been approached by management about taking AI courses through online education company Udacity.

FutureLearn Announces Microcredentials under the Common Microcredential Framework via Class Central
While steps are being taken to allow students to earn academic credit through MOOCs, ultimately, it’s the receiving institution that decides whether to recognize the microcredential’s credit.

School’s Out in China: Can MOOCs Fill the Gap Left by the Coronovirus? via Class Central
The Ministry of Education (MOE) issued instructions to enable students to resume their studies remotely, providing 24,000 online courses from more than 20 online platforms free of charge.

You can find more items at Class Central’s MOOCReport, where we bring the news to you from a range of sources.

Funding and Business News

XuetangX Raises ~$14M, Moves Away From Open edX Platform via Class Central
XuetangX, China’s leading MOOC platform, has raised money for the first time in four years and is testing a new platform built in-house.

Udemy raises $50M via TechCrunch
Udemy has picked up $50 million from a single investor (Benesse Holdings) at a $2B valuation.

Tiger Global invests $200M in Byju’s via ET tech
New York-based Tiger Global Management, one of the most influential investors in the Indian startup ecosystem, has invested $200 million in Byju’s, an education app.

Jolt Raises $14.1M to Offer Online Alternative to MBA Programs via EdSurge
Fashioning itself as an alternative to traditional business school, Jolt is offering an online program “Not an MBA”.

Outlier.org Raises $16M via FinSMEs
Outlier.org, a NYC-based online education platform offering online courses that earn students transferable college credit, raised $16m in total funding.

Unacademy Raises $110M via TechCrunch
Unacademy has just received the backing of a major technology giant: Facebook. 800+ instructors teach live classes every day on Unacademy.

Udemy crosses Tinder to become India’s top grossing Android app via Your Story
Udemy’s rise mirrors the growth of the online learning and skilling segment in India.

Online Degrees

India’s top 100 institutes to start online degrees soon via Edexlive.com
Under the latest budget announced by the Indian government, provisions were made to fund online undergraduate degrees from the top 100 institutes in India.

50 Master’s Degrees You Can Earn Completely Online via Class Central
Since we last published this popular list, the number of degrees has grown from 35 to 50.

edX Newest Credential: MicroBachelors via Class Central
MicroBachelors are the long-anticipated undergraduate version of edX’s MicroMasters programs.

Gies Loses Architect Of Its Highly Successful iMBA Program via Poets&Quants
The University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business, creator of the successful iMBA, has appointed Brooke Elliott as director after Arshad Saiyed stepped down to take up a position at Northeastern University.

Fully Online Bachelor’s Program from the University of North Texas via Coursera
Non-traditional students can build a bachelor’s degree through Coursera.

MOOCWatch is a 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, such as course popularity rankings, sourced from Class Central. Tell your colleagues about MOOCWatch and subscribe here.

Pat Bowden Profile Image

Pat Bowden

Online learning specialist, still learning after 150+ MOOCs completed since 2012. Class Central customer support and help since 2018. I am keen to help others make the most of online learning, so I set up a website:  www.onlinelearningsuccess.org
Dhawal Shah Profile Image

Dhawal Shah

Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.

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