Happy Monday Everyone! This week we pose two questions, “How will the evolution of online learning and MOOCs affect higher education?” and “How will certification look like for free online courses?”

We start off with a look at just how far online learning has come.  According to Tony Bates (see the first link below), online learning is now 18 years old. That’s old enough to vote — and even drink — in many places (Canada, all of South Korea & France, etc.).

As far as trends with online learning, MOOCs, and so forth, we might see a new birth of hybrid learning, new strategic approaches to learning from IHEs, and a great prognosis for open textbooks. And not for nothing, Bates wonders, however uncertainly, if 2013 will be the  year of the tablet. Of course, the evolution of online learning and the MOOC likely have far to go, and who knows what wonders await.

Outlook for Online Learning In 2013: Online Learning Comes of Age (Tony Bates)
Thanks OLDaily!

How Free Online Courses Are Changing the Traditional Liberal Arts Education (PBS)
A video from PBS’ NewsHour further points out how professors from top universities have gotten in on the free online courses game. Thanks, Wynn N.!

The End of University as We Know It (The American Interest)
Nathan Harden echoes this change and even puts a time-frame on its culmination (the next 50 years or sooner). He poses it as evidence of the ‘college bubble’ due to higher tuition costs. Thanks, David R.!

A Cost Analysis of Open Course Library (Student PIRGs)
An analysis from Student PIRGs shows how much cheaper it can be for an institution to offer courses based on open materials (like, maybe 90% cheaper in terms of materials costs). Thanks, OLDaily!

IU to Offer Free Information Visualization MOOC Designed to Illustrate Data (Indiana University)
Indiana University is diving into the MOOC game with a powerful and useful offering. The audience is graduate students, but anyone with 3-6 hours a week who is “interested in generating temporal, geospatial, topical or network analyses and visualizations from either personal or professional data” might want to enroll — starts Jan 22.

eCornell Offers MOOC that Steers Students to a Paid Follow-up (Chronicle)
Big Red would also like to weigh-in with its own MOOC contribution. Cornell’s got monetization down; this free course leads naturally to a paid follow-up which also confers a professional certificate.

Coursera Announces Details for Selling Certificates and Verifying Identities (Chronicle)
Furthering the idea of more meaningful recognition for passing free online courses, Coursera is embarking on a pilot project through which students can get certificates for their courses after paying a fee (covering the costs of verifying student identity and test integrity). Of note: Coursera will deploy ‘keystroke biometrics’ (the rhythm of how one types) in the verification process. Saylor.org hasn’t yet caught up with most biometric technologies, but — not for nothing — we do provide student credit options for several of our courses, and our certificates are always free.

Looking For People Who’ve Taken a MOOC (Lawrence Journal-World)
The world spins on, and while a few big names have dominated the story on MOOCs, other institutions are watching, waiting, and looking over their opportunities. KU is carefully watching the MOOC trend, wondering what it might mean for them…we expect a lot of schools are doing the same.

Have a great week! Some other news to ponder…

New Path Creates Interactive Learning Program for K-12 (THE Journal)

‘CFL-the Essential Handbook’ Launches (EIFL)

Parsing the Case Against College (Inside Higher Ed)

Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via photopin CC BY 2.0