MOOC Accreditation: Tech Giants will define the game.

During the past weeks we were involved in a lot of discussion related to the accreditation of MOOCs. In Europe, the universities and policy makers are looking for solutions to give students (ECTS) credits for a MOOC that they have taken. However, they maybe fighting the wrong fight: MOOC providers like Udacity and Coursera team up with a number of large companies who take their MOOCs serious as credentials. This seems like the classical business innovation model in the internet: cut out the middle men! More information on this topic can be found here. (link to the Chronicle of Higher...

University by Industry

On December 31st, I received a mail from Sebastian Thrun, the founder of Udacity. He explained that Udacity has the vision to create a new type of a university, a university by industry, a university built by Silicon Valley. One that: teaches the skills that industry employers need today. delivers credentials endorsed by employers. provides education at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional schools. Sounds like a mission to which all universities should subscribe? Udacity partners with industry giants: AT&T, Google, Cloudera, Facebook, Salesforce, and others. Together, the created a new type of credentials: nano degrees.  ...

The Future of Higher Education sounds like Music.

In the beginning of the 20th century, the music industry was perceived as a typical “performing arts” industry: to see an opera, you went to the opera house; to hear a jazz band, you went to a jazz club. However, the invention of the phonograph quickly led to the development of recorded productions, which suddenly made music available on-demand. The growth of the Internet has dramatically changed the way we listen to music. Innovative distribution channels such as the iTunes Genius feature and Spotify have emerged from this new opportunity: it is now possible to listen to your favorite music at any given time and place. In just one century, the music industry has evolved into an on-demand model with complete personalization. Is the same about to happen with education in Flanders? Higher education in Flanders is currently a “performing” industry: students meet at fixed times in overcrowded auditoriums to listen to professors who tell the same (boring or interesting) stories each year, over and over again. This “teacher-centric” approach has clearly reached its limits and is now turning into a “recorded production model” through the use of innovative technologies. The emergence (and success) of e-learning initiatives and online learning platforms such as “massive open online courses” (MOOCs) are good examples. The first challenge (or should we say opportunity?) we need to tackle, is the need for an infrastructure to efficiently produce and distribute courses, and more importantly, excite and motivate students. Furthermore, the role of each actor will thoroughly change: professors are not only required to teach, they are also responsible for creating their own courses – and...
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