Bangladesh laptop userOnline education can have a real impact in the developing world. Last week, we needed to hire a programmer for a small freelance job. To my surprise, several candidates advertised they had completed programming MOOCs. These were young programmers in their 20’s, in countries like Pakistan and Thailand, who lacked college-level coursework, but are trying to launch freelancing careers based on online courses.

Online courses and MOOCs may be a poor substitute for in-person learning with a charismatic teacher, but they are light-years better than nothing, and are particularly relevant for higher education and specific skills, when students are self-motivated. (more…)

Two Cheers for Web U!Online courses with very large enrollments have rapidly matured in the last two years, led largely by experiments outside mainstream academia by CourseraUdacity and edX. Ambitious educators, technologists, and funders have created courses on diverse topics, and over five million students worldwide have registered for classes. And 3% have completed the courses. What can we learn? (more…)

Undergraduate education is valuable, but expensive, averaging $375/course at a community college, and $3.5k/course at a private university. As higher education explores new business models, many are trying out  free massive enrollment courses. These courses are typically not for credit (which is easier to administer and get internal approval for), and allows the schools to see what it takes chance the assumptions about delivering education.  (more…)