Betsy DeVos Resigns as Education Secretary Because of “the Impact of Trump’s Rhetoric”

IBL News | New York

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos submitted her resignation to President Trump yesterday after blaming him for “the impact of your rhetoric” on the mob’s assault on Capitol Hill. She was the second cabinet secretary to step down. Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary, also resigned on Thursday.

In a letter to the President, Betsy DeVos said she would step down today Friday.

“The behavior [of violent protesters overrunning the U.S. Capitol] was unconscionable for our country,” she added. “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”

Betsy DeVos was one of the first cabinet secretaries to condemn the violent mob. “The peaceful transfer of power is what separates American representative democracy from banana republics,” DeVos said in a tweet written hours after the storming of the Capitol.

The Top 40 Most Popular Courses at the Beginning of 2021 According to Class Central

IBL News | New York

Forty courses released by Coursera, edX, Future, and Swayam registered the highest rating among ClassCentral.com’s users.

The course directory webpage listed the following courses:

On Coursera

 

On edX

 

On FutureLearn

 

On Swayam

 

MOOCs Skyrocket Due to the Pandemic: Over 180 Million Learners, and Counting

IBL News | New York

MOOCs (Massive Online Courses) started the second year of the pandemic attracting a massive number of learners.

Within the last ten months, MOOCs have added one-third of its enrollment until reaching 180 million worldwide (excluding China), according to data released by Class Central.

Coursera, edX, Udacity, and FutureLearn–the largest MOOC providers–launched over 2800 courses, 360 micro-credentials, and 19 online degrees in 2020. Many were free certificate courses.

Currently, about 90 online providers offer free learning opportunities. This phenomenon prompted plagiarism and cheating from students aiming to chase free certificates, as a mentor of Coursera denounced.

Today, the number of MOOCs surpasses 16,500. It’s been a dramatic rise since the MOOC movement started in 2012.

The most popular course during the pandemic was Yale University’s The Science of Well-Being, with 2.5 million enrollments in 2020.

One-fifth of the 100 most popular courses launched in 2020 are related to the COVID pandemic. The top course, with over 1 million enrollments, is Johns Hopkins’ COVID-19 Contact Tracing. It’s followed by Harvard’s Mechanical Ventilation for COVID-19, with 300K enrollments.

“I’m calling 2020 the Second Year of the MOOC,” wrote Dhawal Shah, Founder and CEO at Class Central.

 

 

Workplace Learning Trends Show that Training Takes on a New Urgency

IBL News | New York

The workforce upskilled increased to 38% in 2020 from 14% in 2019, according to Udemy’s 2021 Workplace Learning Trends Report. [PDF download].

This uptick was driven by a growing number of organizations recognizing their need to fill the skills gap.

“The learning behaviors of thousands of international businesses on the Udemy for Business platform and a survey of over 500 global professionals offer a glimpse of the bright future that lies ahead,” wrote Shelley Osborne, VP of Learning at Udemy.

Regarding the learning top six trends, Udemy noted the following:

  • Amidst uncertainty, self-mastery is a valued skill
  • Remote work makes collaboration a priority
  • Data literacy is the new computer literacy. Workforces with strong data skills across all departments in an organization will benefit the most.
  • Automation skills let data scientists focus on strategy
  • Farewell silos, hello hybrid tech roles
  • Cybersecurity training takes on a new urgency

Udemy explained that an “organization’s success greatly depends on more upskilling and a strong culture of lifelong learning.”

Bitcoin SV Academy: A New Online Learning Platform, with a First Free Course Open to Enrollment

IBL News | New York

Switzerland-based Bitcoin Association launched last week an educational online platform about this currency, Bitcoin SV Academy.

“It offers academia-quality, university-style courses, and learning materials to make learning about Bitcoin—the way creator Satoshi Nakamoto designed it, accessible, accurate, and understandable,” explained Bitcoin Association.

Courses are divided into three chapters: Theory, Development, and Infrastructure:

For now, the platform offers one course open to enrollment: Introduction to Bitcoin Theory. It has been designed for beginners, and it includes 13 lessons, requiring about nine hours of study. Its access is free.

“Introductory level courses will be offered free of charge for the foreseeable future, part of Bitcoin Association’s commitment to making Bitcoin education available to as wide of an audience as possible,” stated the organization.

Two more courses are scheduled for Spring 2021.

“Bitcoin SV Academy will provide a platform to deliver a robust curriculum tailored to all levels of ability and knowledge, as we educate the world about just what’s possible with the power of the original Bitcoin protocol,” announced Jimmy Nguyen, Founding President at Bitcoin Association.

Higher Ed Institutions Function Only at 75% Capacity. This Gap Costs $50 Billion

IBL News | New York

Higher Education in the United States is only functioning at 75% capacity—leaving as many as 5 million empty classroom seats each year, says a report by Lumina Foundation. This is the result of the fact that in the last 10 years, higher education capacity has grown 26% while enrollment has only grown by 3%.

On average, schools with fewer than a thousand students are down to 59% utilization.

This imbalance between supply and demand has been deepened by the 2020 pandemic’s impact.

Underutilization—from empty classrooms to vacant labs to unused dorms—translates into higher costs for students and risks the future of higher education. Overall, it costs students, institutions, and states around $50 billion annually, according to a study completed by EY Parthenon.

“Institutions whose enrollments are flat or decreasing must adapt to the reality of today’s demographics and stop acquiring land, building more dorms, hiring new faculty, and stop constructing rock walls for the 2% of students who might find them interesting,” write Brad Kelsheimer and Courtney Brown, from the Lumina Foundation.

Lumina encourages higher ed institutions to reinvent themselves, rethinking who they serve (i.e., adults), what they provide (i.e., employment-aligned credentials), and how they deliver.

Being more relevant and accessible to adults seems a good opportunity given that 90 million working-age adults have no credentials beyond a high school diploma.

Another piece of advice to reduce costs and increase efficiencies is to develop collaborations and partnerships between schools, like consortia, or shared service agreements between schools.

Develop.com Adds an AI-Based Tool that Recommends Courses to Complement Skills

IBL News | New York

Develop.com—an online learning platform developed by Global Knowledged—announced yesterday a course recommendation feature as part of its personalized learning path AI technology.

“Next course recommendations, as part of Smart Learning, will initially follow learning paths that guide learners from the introduction of new skills to those course completion certificates and allow them to branch off to related topics,” said John McKeever, Head of Content at Develop.

This tool is intended to help users avoid spending time grinding through courses for skills that they already have.

“We envision a future where learning is as smart as you are, and this is the first step to getting to desired skill level destinations more quickly and efficiently,” he added.

Boston-based Develop.com competes with Pluralsight.com by providing on-demand, subscription courses for IT and business professionals.

The platform is built on an Open edX ecosystem developed by the New York-based IBL Education learning software company.

The Top News Stories of the Year on edX, Coursera, and Learning at Scale Platforms

IBL News | New York

The COVID-19 outbreak seriously hit residential teaching, while boosting online learning revenues and ventures. edX, Coursera, Udemy, and overall all learning platforms experienced remarkable growth.

Here are the most-read stories at IBL News.

edX

• edX.org Reaches 35 Million Registered Learners and 110 Million Enrollments

• edX Releases Its Latest Open Platform Named Koa

• edX Launches Its First Two MicroBachelors Degrees with WGU and NYU

• The ‘Introduction to Linux’ Course on edX.org Surpasses One Million Enrollments

• Stanford University Joins the edX Consortium Seven Years Later

Coursera

• Coursera Weighs an IPO in 2021 at a Valuation of $5 Billion

• Coursera and edX Launch Initiatives to Support Universities Impacted by the Outbreak

• Coursera Introduces Its First Fully Online Bachelor’s from an American University

Platforms

• Udemy’s Corporate Learning Division Surpasses $100M In Annual Revenue

• Canvas LMS Picks a New CEO From Outside the Educational Industry

• Simon Nelson, Original CEO of FutureLearn, Leaves His Company

MIT

• MITx Passes the Milestone of 10 Million Enrollments on Its Online Courses

• A Practical Course from MIT on edX Teaches How to Shape Your Future in the Age of AI

Harvard

• Harvard’s Professor and EdTech Visionary Robert Lue Dies at 56 From Cancer

• Harvard University’s LabXChange Platform Wins the 2020 Open edX Prize

• Harvard’s Credit-Bearing, Free Course on Mechanical Ventilators Has Attracted 170,000 Learners in Two Weeks

Transactions | Valuations

• A Startup Company Raises $16M for User Interface that Adds LMS Capabilities to Zoom

• A Cloud Guru Acquires The Linux Academy and Claims 1.5 M Learners

• Outlier.org Raises $16 Million in Funding to Expand Its Cinema-Quality Video Courses

 

2020 Year Review: Top News Stories on Online Learning

IBL News | New York

The consequences of COVID-19 virus spread from China to the world marked the edtech and higher education landscape. The 2020 year showed unbearable distress on face-to-face learning and increased the digital gap among developing nations. The implementation of online technology accelerated, and valuations of edtech companies skyrocketed.

Here are the most-read stories at IBL News on online learning:

Valuations | VC

• Training Company Pluralsight.com Acquired by Equity Firm Vista for $3.5 Billion

• Language Learning App Duolingo Gets a $2.4 Billion Valuation While It Prepares its IPO

• Udemy Reaches a $3.25 Billion Valuation After Raising Another $50 Million

• Online Learning Boom in India: Start-Ups Raising Huge Amounts of Capital

• Skillsoft and Global Knowledge in Talks to Merge and Go Public

Transactions

• Laureate Sells Walden University to Adtalem for $1.48 Billion in Cash

• Thoma Bravo Completes the Acquisition of Instructure

• Cornerstone OnDemand Acquires Saba for $1.4 Billion

Industry

• Facebook Returns to Its Roots by Launching a Campus-Only Social Network

• Microsoft Will Offer Free Learning Paths for Digital Jobs In-Demand to 25 Million Facing Unemployment

• Pearson Ends Its Search for a New CEO by Naming an Ex-Walt Disney Executive for the Role

Trends

• Educause Analyzes How Higher Education Institutions Will Emerge from the Pandemic

• A New Learning Platform During Pandemic Times? The Must-Have List of Features

• MOOCs Were Dead, but Now They Are Booming, According to The New York Times

• Eduventures Encourages to Re-Think Online Learning While Analyzing Scenarios

• The LMS Market Will Grow From $13.4 Billion in 2020 to $25.7 Billion by 2025

• NY’s Governor Hires the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for Reforming the School System

Higher Ed

• Harvard and Princeton Will Deliver Their Classes Online This Fall; Backlash for Keeping Full Tuition

• The Big Ten Universities Will Accumulate Over $1.7 Billion in Losses Due to the Pandemic

• U.S. Colleges Will Lose Over $3 Billion After International Student Enrollment Decline This Upcoming Fall

• Historic $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill Provides Funding for Higher Ed and Help for Students with Loans

Pandemic Effects

• The COVID Pandemic Causes Devastation to Children’s Learning Across the World

• 70% of College Students Are Falling Behind on Their Studies Due to COVID-19

• Students Find the Learning Experience Provided by Schools To Be Unengaging

• The Global Pandemic Accelerates the Inequalities in Education; 1.1 Billion Children Still Out of School

Conferences

• SXSW EDU Announces that Its 2021 Conference Will Continue to Be Virtual

• The City of Austin Cancels SXSW March Festival and Plans a Virtual Conference

• The ASU-GSV Summit Postponed to September 29th. AAC&U Conference Canceled

Resources

• How to Protect Yourself From Coronavirus’ Scammers Who Try to Steal Money or Personal Information

• Johns Hopkins University Updates the Coronavirus Map by Adding Local Data

• Don’t Let Education Fall in the Curve of Covid: An Extensive Resource Website with Tools and Services

 

edX.org Reaches 35 Million Registered Learners and 110 Million Enrollments

IBL News | New York

edX.org is closing the year with over 35 million registered learners and 110 million enrollments, according to its own data.

“Everything edX and our partners have been building over the past eight years prepared us for this moment to support our students and the global education system,” wrote Anant Agarwal, edX Founder and CEO.

Another area of growth for edX—the non-profit venture created by MIT and Harvard University—has been edX for Business, intended to provide corporate solutions. Numbers in this area show more than 1,000 customers, 100,000 employees learning on edX, and 300,000 enrollments.

Regarding the Open edX open-source platform, the latest numbers indicate that over 2,400 learning sites worldwide are built with this software.

The 2021 Impact Report describes edX’s progress and strategy.

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