Portable learning can provide students in the developing economies new opportunities.
The non-profit organization edX will work with Facebook-led Internet.org, Airtel, Nokia and the Government of Rwanda to provide free education to students in this African country on affordable smart phones. This project, called SocialEDU, was announced by Facebook at the Mobile World Congress last week in Barcelona, Spain.
The initiative builds on the success of MOOCs
EdX will adapt course materials for local students. They will access a mobile app that will be integrated with Facebook, while Airtel provides free education data for one year and Nokia sells affordable smartphones.
The course, titled “Making Sense of Data”, will run from March 18 to April 4. It is related to Google’s Fusion Tables – a set of tools for displaying data – and it is intended to “anybody who works with data on a daily basis, such as students, teachers, journalists, and small business owners, and who wants to learn more about how to apply that information to practical problems.”
Participants will engage with course material through a combination of video and text lessons, activities, and projects. Google announces that in order to create a more engaging experience, participants will be able to access instant hangouts and live chats from the course for quick help or for direct feedback from the company experts. Students will have the opportunity to complete a final project and apply the skills they learn to earn a certificate.
The course will showcase the collaborative technology of Google and edX using cbX to run courses on Google App Engine.
With the growing acceptance of the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard, and the 2.0 version on the horizon, LMS platforms are becoming more fluid, with content flowing in and out via many third-party tools.
LTI provides an open, standard way for third-party tools to connect to any LMS (Learning Management Systems); and a wide range of outside software can be implemented. Also, as an open standard, it avoids vendor lock-in. It means that if a school migrates to another LMS, existing third-party tools that are LTI-compliant will continue to work with the new system without needing to tinker any further.
Samples of third-party applications that are sitting out on the cloud include the video capture program Panopto; the digital storytelling and collaboration app VoiceThread, the anti-plagiarism software known as Turnitin, and an asynchronous learning tool called YouSeeU that can be used for online student presentations and discussions.
The Canvas LMS is leading the LTI charge. It maintains an LTI directory of compliant applications at edu-apps.org, listing over 125 apps. Included are familiar names like YouTube, Khan Academy, Twitter, WordPress, McGraw Hill Campus, CourseSmart, Ted Ed, Wikipedia and DropBox. Some apps require an administrator to install them, but others are designed for a user to plug into the LMS themselves.
A list of both platforms and tools that are certified to be LTI-compliant is maintained at www.imsglobal.org/lti/.
Some large institutions, like the University of Michigan and Western Governors University, are already building according to LTI standards.
Beginning in March of this Year, HarvardX –the University’s branch of the online learning platform edX.org– offers course content restricted to alumni. (Click here to watch the video).
This new program, called “HarvardX for Alumni” draws from pre-existing HarvardX course such as “The Ancient Greek Here” and “Fundamentals of Neuroscience,” while adding new features, such as forums and live chats with faculty, and seeking a stronger, more explicit focus on networking, both among alumni and between alumni and the University.
In addition, HarvardX for Alumni serves as an experimentation with modular courseware with original material such as interviews with faculty members.
When it is about promoting online courses and learning activities, there are many ways we use while working with our clients. Let us share some of them:
Blogs and social media sites. We update them 2,3 times a week with engaging, useful and informative content.
Short, free courses –and/or MOOCs– production. Giving things for free builds more engagement with existing and potential customers, and it allows to generate new leads and grow our community.
eBooks. We publish a new one every month. It contains 10 – 20 pages and it has a very clear and useful information. Ebooks have become a very useful lead generator. eBooks as well as courses can be created by opinion leaders; they can become our best advocates.
Weekly, bi-weekly or a monthly informative newsletters. We share info about customers’ content, industry news and leaders, interviews.
Forums. We start discussions, come up with new ideas and get feedback and ideas just by listening to people.
Testimonials and customer stories. We post positive examples of people who enjoyed our courses.
Academic institutions must leverage the best technological advancements in order to attract students and maximize learning.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) –that feature a series of short, video segments in which an instructor describes a particular concept or skills, then gives exercises, quizzes and exams– are a radical learning and marketing tool, that require little start up cost.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has created Forum Academy , a new learning platform based in Open edX technology that provides audience with the opportunity to participate in a discussion addressing global, regional and industry challenges through courses.
“The Forum Academy is poised to satisfy the need for up-to-date strategic knowledge demanded by professionals who need to keep abreast of fast-changing landscapes across regions and business sectors,” explains edX.
These courses in Forum Academy will allow leaders to access the knowledge of a dynamic, global network of experts. The first course, “Global Technology Leadership”, includes leaders from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Michigan, and Tom Preston-Werner, CEO and Co-Founder of GitHub.
This is what happens when MOOCs, marketing and mass media collide:
AMC, the cable television channel, is using a MOOC to promote a popular series, “The Walking Dead” .
The channel has partnered with the University of California, Irvine (IC Irvine), and four Ph.Ds to teach the course, titled “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead.” According the official registration page, the course explores the spread of disease, social structures, and the role of the government in public health, among other themes.
Just take a look at the coursware to see that is not a crazy stupid course:
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—is survival just about being alive?
Social order and structures—from the farm and the prison to Woodbury
Social identity, roles, and stereotyping—as shown through leaders like Rick and the Governor
The role of public health in society—from the CDC to local community organizations
The spread of infectious disease and population modeling—swarm!
The role of energy and momentum in damage control—how can you best protect yourself?
Nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world—are squirrels really good for you?
Managing stress in disaster situations—what’s the long-term effect of always sleeping with one eye open?
The course has engaging lectures, interviews, articles and academic resources. It uses key scenes from the show to illustrate course learning. Students are able to participate in large and small group discussions and test their learning with quizzes. I
Instructors use video lectures, discussion forums and social media to provide learning materials throughout the eight-week course.
The platform used for this MOOC is Canvas LMS.
Experts agree that this partnership between higher education and Hollywood is groundbreaking and provides interesting insight into the future of marketing, education and educational content.