Monday Morning Digest: Holy MOOCs!

Here are some of the top headlines from last week:

Coursera announces that about a dozen major research universities will be joining their cause of offering open online courses (MOOCs). The folks behind Coursera are very interested with what can be done with certification instead of offering degrees. This article examines the pros and cons of MOOCs and how students learn online.

This article takes a look at the higher education bubble and how people are starting to view going to college differently because of the cost and lack of jobs and the increase of people with a degree. “Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that as many as one out of three college graduates today are in jobs that previously or historically have been filled by people with lesser educations or none. The U.S. now has 115,000 janitors with college degrees, along with 83,000 bartenders, 80,000 heavy-duty truck drivers, and 323,000 waiters and waitresses.”

This article focuses on the Coursera’s new partnerships and highlights how the MOOCs are reaching more students at a lower cost. While professors are nervous about open online education, Coursera does not consider itself an alternative to attending a university.

To help compensate for students lacking college education, the manufacturing industry’s workforce training has developed a system of stackable certificates. This promising alternative credentialing option has fostered a relationship between employers and colleges. This article examines a few of those relationships – and the pros and cons of this new credentialing system.

The University of Washington is planning “enhanced” massive open online courses (MOOCs) via its partnership with Coursera. These new versions will more closely resemble traditional online courses with more assessments, direct interaction with instructors, and the opportunity to earn a certificate, which will be awarded for a small fee

This post announces the winners of the “Why Open Education Matters” video contest sponsored by Creative Commons, the U.S. Department of Education, and Open Society Foundation.

Following last week’s announcement that Coursera would be partnering with a dozen additional universities, this article examines how the for-profit might bring in revenue on its free courses model.

Many critics of the Massive Online Open Courses state that an indication of their success (or lack thereof) is the dropout rate. This article argues against those critics, stating that the dropout levels are encouraging: they show that, not only are there hundreds of thousands of aspirational learners, but that these MOOCs are not easy enough for any one person to complete.

The image “Newspapers B&W (4)”  came from Flickr user NS Newsflash and is licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY license.

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