Seven Large Universities Will Share Their Online Courses Among Undergraduate Students

IBL News | New York

Undergraduate students at seven large universities will have access to a range of online courses this fall 2020 semester, as part of a sharing initiative designed to enhance educational opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These colleges, part of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, educate over 600,000 students with almost 50,000 faculty.

The Big Ten schools comprise Indiana University Bloomington, University of Maryland, Michigan State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, and Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

“Big Ten universities compete on the field, but until this fight against COVID-19 is won, we are united in the critical research to battle this virus, and united in the classroom,” said Lauren Robel, Indiana University Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President and chair of the Big Ten Academic Alliance board, in a statement.

Available courses include Supply Chain Security and Risk Management; Design Thinking and Creativity; Inequality: Determinants and Policy Remedies; Insect Biology; Introduction to the Built Environment; and Intro to Sports Marketing and Management.

Learners at those universities will be able take an online course from another participating school, with all tuition and fees waived.

The University of Arizona Becomes a Relevant Player in Online Education by Buying Ashford

IBL News | New York

The University of Arizona (UA) made a big play into the online market by acquiring the for-profit college Ashford University–with 35,000 students–and is creating a new private, nonprofit entity called the University of Arizona Global Campus.

The move, announced on Monday, shakes up the online higher education sphere and can signal more changes.

This way, the University of Arizona will become a relevant player in the digital education and compete with Arizona State University (ASU), University of Phoenix, and Grand Canyon University.

The Tucson-based public university–currently with only 4,200 students enrolled online–said that the Global Campus will focus on students who are typically underrepresented in higher education, like older adults, parents, and veterans.

Ashford University, a fully online university property of Zovio Inc. (Nasdaq: ZVO) education technology services company, moved to the Phoenix area from San Diego last year. Ashford is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ Senior College and University Commission.

UA is purchasing Ashford University for $1 from Zovio, but will share 19.5 percent of its tuition revenue for 15 years with Zovio, formerly known as Bridgepoint Education. In addition, Zovio will still provide education technology services to the Global Campus under a long-term agreement, UA said.

The transaction is expected to be completed later this year, after regulatory approvals are granted and the deal is finalized.

A similar, controversial arrangement deal was reached between Purdue University and Kaplan University, resulting in the formation of Purdue University Global.

The newly created Global Campus will be a private nonprofit university, not public like UA. It will appoint the initial board of trustees with long-term membership on the board, along with a president for the Global Campus.

View: Education and Training as a Tool to Attract Customers and Enhance Presence on Google

IBL News | New York

Organizations are increasingly using education and training-based content as a tool to attract customers.

As the effectiveness of traditional online marketing continues to decline, education-powered marketing is gaining ground.

It not only builds trust with customers by providing them an intellectual betterment, but it also fuels existing content and marketing strategies.

Google’s craving for renewed and original content gets answered with new education and training related lessons, lectures, and resources.

This valuable knowledge posted online can be enhanced with certificates. Innovative organizations are understanding the importance of providing some sort of certification.

This is a list of some of the companies that apply education-based marketing:

• Hubspot

• Adobe

• Nvidia


• Salesforce

• Databricks

• Hootsuite (Hootsuite Academy)

• Slack

• Autodesk


• Mint

• Microsoft

A Paradigm Shift Among Students Towards Online Degrees: 73% Will Consider Enrolling

IBL News | New York

Prospective students are more likely to consider online graduate and undergraduate programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the main result from a survey conducted from June 30 through July 22, 2020, by 2U of over 1,754 prospective students.

Key survey findings include: 73% of respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic has made them much more likely to consider online programs, and 20% of respondents said that absent COVID-19, they would not have considered an online program.

“The results of this survey show a clear share shift toward online higher education among prospective degree students; as more and more of these students affirmatively choose online degrees, universities with experience delivering intentionally designed, high-quality online programs with great student outcomes will stand out to this growing universe of learners,” said 2U Co-Founder and CEO, Christopher “Chip” Paucek.

Prior to the coronavirus, only 16% of students across U.S. undergraduate and graduate programs were enrolled in exclusively distance-learning degrees, according to the latest federal data on distance education.

2U currently powers over 70 online graduate and undergraduate degree programs across 26 disciplines.

Simon Nelson, Original CEO of FutureLearn, Leaves His Company

IBL News | New York

FutureLearn, the fourth largest MOOC platform (after Coursera, edX, and Udacity), started its search for a new CEO to replace Simon Nelson, who announced this month his resignation, effective at the end of 2020.

The departure of Simon Nelson–CEO since FutureLearn’s initiation by the UK Open University in 2012– takes place a year after the Australian Seek Group acquired 50% of Future Learn educational portal for $64.6 million (£50 million).

Simon Nelson and the proprietors–Seek Group and Open University–didn’t provide further details of what motivated the resignation.

“I’ve decided now is the right time to move on from FutureLearn after eight years building the company, from the kernel of an idea to a world-leading online learning platform, with over 13m registered learners, partnerships with many of the world’s leading educational institutions, companies and governments and a £100m valuation in 2019,” stated Nelson.



2U Reported Second Quarter Loss of $66 M; Stock Improved 83% This Year

IBL News | New York

2U (Nasdaq: TWOU) came out yesterday with a reported loss of $66.2 million and revenues of $182.7 million in its second quarter ended June 30. Loss per share was 34 cents, better than Zacks’ analysts expected of 44 cents.

The stock went up 1.36% yesterday until $43.87. Since the beginning of the year, shares increased 83% versus the S&P 500’s gain of 0.9%. The rise of the stock was 20% in the last 12 month.

The Lanham, Maryland-based OPM provider presented a different picture of its quarter earnings. It highlighted its revenue increase of 35% to $182.7 million compared to the second quarter of 2019. It added: “Graduate program segment revenue increased 14% to $115.7 million and Alternative Credential Segment revenue increased 97% to $67.0 million, including $36.6 million in revenue from Trilogy, acquired in May 2019.”

“In these complex and challenging times, the importance of 2U’s mission and the value we deliver for our partners and their students has never been more clear,” Co-Founder and CEO, Christopher “Chip” Paucek said. “As universities accelerate their digital transformations and more students affirmatively choose to pursue an education online, we believe our strong relationships with leading universities and the unmatched scale and quality of our portfolio of offerings position us well for future growth.”

“We are driving significant improvement in key profitability and cash flow metrics while maintaining quality, enhancing operational efficiency, and executing on growth opportunities,” said Chief Financial Officer, Paul Lalljie. “We delivered a significant improvement in free cash flow in the second quarter and expect to achieve EBITDA profitability next quarter and for the full year. We also increased our financial flexibility with our recent convertible senior notes offering and revolving line of credit.”

Udacity PR Campaign Claims a Revenue Increase of 260% in the First Half of 2020

IBL News | New York

Udacity claimed in a press release on Tuesday that it had an increase of 260% in revenue within the first half of 2020, although there was no supporting evidence presented.

“This growth is the result of a sharp increase in demand from businesses, government agencies, and learners looking to accelerate digital transformation and develop skills in technologies,” Udacity explained.

The Mountain View, California-based learning company mentioned recent deals with the U.S. Air Force’s BESPIN and Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency to train 100,000 people.

Udacity continued developing content for brands such as AWS Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, and Alteryx. The AWS scholarship garnered more than 30,000 pre-registrations.

Other new initiatives launched in the first half of 2020 include Udacity’s first executive program, AI for Business Leaders (developed in cooperation with the BMW Group), the AI for Healthcare Nanodegree program, and two new Nanodegree programs designed to train Product Managers.

Georgia Tech’s OMSCS Program Surpasses a Milestone: 10,000 Students Enrolled

IBL News | New York

Georgia Tech’s OMSCS program–the reference degree in online education– will surpass an enrollment of 10,000 people in the Fall, Zvi Galil, creator of the program and former Dean told IBL News this week.

The Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS), a degree program at the College of Computing (CoC), Georgia Institute of Technology called from its creation in 2013 for “a fundamental, revolutionary shift from the prevailing paradigm of higher education, in which a brand is bolstered by exclusion and high tuition fees,” explained Zvi Galil in an article posted on Communications of the ACM, the magazine of the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery).

With a tuition of $7,000 for the full degree, the degree was launched with 380 students in January 2014. By Spring 2019 term, OMSCS offered a total of 30 courses in four specializations to 8,662 students.

Its growth has been remarkable, inspiring similar programs at other universities—more than 40 MOOC-based M.S. degree programs, more affordable than their on-campus counterparts have been launched recently by more than 30 universities. Georgia Tech has launched two additional online master’s degrees as well.

In the Spring 2020 term, 9,597 students enrolled in OMSCS, almost 1,500 graduated in this academic year. Applications have surpassed 26,000 to date.

In December 2019 the conference “Reimagine Education” presented OMSCS with the Gold Award for the best distributed/online program for nurturing 21st-century skills.



New International Students Barred for Any F-1 or M-1 Visa for Online Programs

IBL News | New York

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said on a new guidance document that international students won’t obtain an F-1 or M-1 visa to enroll in online programs in the U.S.

“New or initial nonimmigrant students who intend to pursue a full course of study that will be conducted completely online will likely not be able to obtain an F-1 or M-1 visa to study in the United States,” stated ICE on its latest document released July 24.

However, students can remain in the United States if they are already engaged in a fully online program as they do not need a new visa.

The new guidance from U.S. immigration officials confirms the validity of the approach adopted by Harvard University and the University of Southern California (USC) when advised newly admitted international students who require F-1 visa sponsorship not to come to the U.S.

According to immigration experts quoted by Inside of Higher Ed, it is still not clear whether international students may obtain visas for hybrid programs consisting of a mix of in-person and online courses.

A Tool to Create Personalized Learning Pathways from

IBL News | New York

Class Central, the leading directory for MOOCs, released a useful tool that allows learners to self-catalog courses and web resources of interest, creating learning paths.

“Whether a list of courses or a mixture of articles, tutorials, videos, and books, users can add anything with just a link,” explained Scott Robertson, from Class Central in a blog post.

The user starts using the tool by adding a URL, organizing sections, and curating all kinds of degrees.

Some profiles from Class Central team members provide an idea of the possibilities around @dhawal,  @ruima@pat, and @suparn.

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