One day after the publication of the article, most courses and certificates were gone from Lagunita. As it happens, the article had nothing to do with it; that was just unlucky timing.
On the same day, Stanford announced that they had become an Institutional Member of edX: Stanford would stop offering courses on Lagunita and would start offering them on edX instead.
Stanford Lagunita: Then & Now
Stanford’s Open edX MOOC platform was launched in 2013 but was only renamed “Lagunita” in 2015 as a reference to a lake situated on the university’s campus.
A month ago, Lagunita hosted 69 free online courses, 44 of which included a free certificate of completion, which Stanford prefers to call “statement of accomplishment.” The offering included courses in computer science, education, engineering, humanities, medicine, and music.
Today, Lagunita hosts 18 courses, 14 of which are really a single course split into 14 mini-courses. The offering includes one computer science course and a few education courses. Here’s the full list:
- Introduction to Databases (split into 14 mini-courses)
- How to Learn Math: For Students (also offered in Spanish)
- Performance Assessment in the NGSS Classroom: Implications for Practice
- Developing Instructionally-Embedded Performance Assessments for the NGSS Classroom
Learners that were already enrolled in a course prior to its removal from Lagunita should still be able to access it. New learners may only enroll in the few courses left. All Lagunita courses are set to end on March 26th, 2020, after which Stanford will stop offering MOOCs on Lagunita.
In an email to Class Central, a Stanford representative has confirmed that this transition marks the end of Stanford’s free statements of accomplishment.
Stanford on EdX
Some of Stanford Lagunita courses have found their way onto edX, and more will be added in the months to come. Currently, Stanford offers 13 courses on edX, about half of which used to be offered on Lagunita. Here’s the full list:
- American Prophet: The Inner Life and Global Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Algorithms: Design and Analysis, Part 1
- Algorithms: Design and Analysis, Part 2
- Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law
- Comparative Democratic Development Part I: Conditions of Democracy
- Computer Science 101
- Forest Monitoring with CLASlite
- Mining Massive Datasets
- Nano @ Stanford
- Partnering with the Public and Patients in Medical Research
- Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers 2
- Reservoir Geomechanics
- Statistical Learning
- Unconventional Reservoir Geomechanics
Like on Lagunita, Stanford courses on edX are free to audit. But unlike on Lagunita, they don’t include a free statement of accomplishment. Instead, learners have to pay between $50 and $150 to earn a verified certificate.
Stanford retiring its statements of accomplishment reinforces a well established trend: free certificates are becoming rare. Stanford was likely the last prominent university to offer several.
Certificates have found their place behind the paywall of online education, turning a benefit of the many into a prerogative of the few. Fortunately, there are some exceptions — most notably, CS50, Harvard’s Introduction to Computer Science, continues to offer a free certificate in 2020.