IDB's MOOC Strategy Attracts Over 360,000 Students on

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)’s MOOC strategy in online learning, branded as IDBx, is paying off.

Since it started 20 months ago, IDBx has attracted over 306,000 participants on, officials reported to IBL.

The series of MOOCs developed by IDB on the edX platform are aligned with its commitment to achieve results and increase integrity, transparency and accountability on the public sector in Latin America. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the IDB provides loans, grants, technical assistance and does research and training. Its shareholders are 48 member countries, including 26 borrowing member countries.

In addition to MOOCs, IDB maintains a Moodle platform hosting many courses targeting students in Latin America.

The 2016 Open edX Conference at Stanford Will Gather Around 200 Developers

stanford edx
The 2016 Open edX Conference, scheduled for June 14 – 15 at Stanford University, will gather over two-hundred top developers, educators and technologists from all over the world.

The main speakers will be Jono Bacon, a leading community manager, and Mitchell L. Stevens, educator and professor at Stanford University, where he also serves as the founding Director of the Center for Advanced Research through Online Learning and co-director of the Lytics Lab.

The conference will be opened by Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX, who will talk about the state of the edX and Open edX community. Several keynotes, talks, panels and lighting talks will complete the two-day program. [IBL will give one of the lighting talks on “education marketing”].

Another two days of workshops and tutorials will follow on June 16 and 17 for a more specialized audience.

During the event, organizers will announce that the 2017 Open edX Conference will be celebrated in Madrid, Spain, on May 24-25, organized by the UC3M University.

The University of Michigan Develops a Comprehensive MOOC Plan on

The University of Michigan (U-M) has announced three certificate programs, comprising 15 courses, on user experience research and human-computer interaction, user experience design and corporate financial analysis.

These courses on (priced between $49 and $99 per unit) are launched under the XSeries group, and they come in addition to the existing four free MOOCs on edX (priced at $49 if you take a verified certificate).

It is remarkable that U-M, through its Office of Digital Education & Innovation, plans to release 100 MOOCs by December and 100 more in 2017, according to Campus Technology.

Michigan also uses Coursera to host its MOOCs. However, the school has noted that a major appeal of the edX platform is its open source nature.



PUC University of Chile Succeeds in Reaching Elementary and Secondary Students through their Open edX Courses






By Michael Amigot / IBL 

Chilean PUC University’s MOOCs, hosted on their ING Open edX platform, have become an effective educational tool for elementary and secondary students. Almost 65 percent of students have enrolled from this level, while 22 percent have been from higher education, according to a university’s report submitted to IBL News.

Enrollments across five courses (one on chemistry and four in pre-calculus –all of them in Spanish) reached 8,275 students from October 2015 to February 2016. One course –“Pre-Cálculo: Progresiones y Sumatorias”– got 5,385 enrollments. Learners came from 37 different countries, while 90 percent were from Chile.


Meanwhile, PUC (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile) revealed a different demographic and student composition of their six courses on Coursera. These courses, much more elaborate and intended for higher education audiences, attracted 53,995 enrollments with 2,335 completions. More than 33 percent of all students had Master’s and PhD degrees, and 30 were higher ed learners. In this case, there were more Mexican students than Chilean.



Ranking of the Most Popular Courses on Coursera and


The most successful online courses are related to technology or other Computer Science-based skills, followed by career advancement (“Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills”, for example) and personal enrichment subjects. Missing are Liberal Arts classes (History, Art, Literature…).

These tendencies are also reflected in the world of paid online degrees, as shown by US News and World Report’s ranking. has put together a list of the most popular courses right now on and

1. Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects University of California, San Diego
2. Mastering Data Analysis in Excel Duke University
3. Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) University of Michigan
4. Machine Learning Stanford University
5. R Programming Johns Hopkins University
6. The Data Scientist’s Toolbox Johns Hopkins University
7. Tibetan Buddhist Meditation and the Modern World University of Virginia
8. An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 1) Rice University
9. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and ‘Skills University of Michigan
10. Introduction to Financial Accounting University of Pennsylvania
11. Introduction to Public Speaking University of Washington
12. Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems: Part 1 University of Maryland, College Park
13. Introduction to Marketing University of Pennsylvania
14. Grammar and Punctuation University of California, Irvine
15. Introduction to Corporate Finance University of Pennsylvania
16. Principles of Valuation: Time Value of Money University of Michigan
17. Chinese for Beginners Peking University
18. Introduction to Programming with MATLAB Vanderbilt University
19. Project Management: The Basics for Success University of California, Irvine
20. Introduction to Big Data University of California, San Diego
1. CS50 Harvard University
2. Introduction to Programming With Python Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3. Introduction to Linux Jerry Cooperstein
4. HTML5 World Wide Web Consortium
5. The Science of Happiness University of California, Berkeley

Columbia University Explains Why MOOCs Are Valuable


Columbia University’s Center for Teaching & Learning’s Director, Maurice Matiz, explained during the third Open edX Meetup in New York, on January 7, why MOOCs are worth it. These are the reasons:

  • Showcase our faculty and our programs
  • Attract applicants to our on-campus, distance education, and certificate programs
  • Improve how we teach on campus
     – Leverage technological/pedagogical advances for our resident students and tuition-paying students in distance and hybrid education programs
     – Publish excellence
     – Teach the world; share knowledge freely
  • Foster lifelong learning programs for alumni
  • Fundraising opportunities

Currently, Columbia University, which posts MOOCs on (seven published courses and five more in production) and Coursera (11 courses) has a dedicated team of over thirty people. All of the MOOCs are released as open content under the Creative Commons license.

Download Maurice Matiz’s presentation

Wharton Shows How to Generate Revenues and Branding on MOOCs: $5M in 2015


Early MOOCs were entirely free, including statements of completion. But now they can be a substantial source of revenue.

Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, has understood this reality better than anyone and has established itself as a leading, global purveyor of MOOCs, showing one of the highest enrollments of any business school in the world.

In 2015 it got $5 million in revenue, mostly through Coursera, according to Fortune magazine. Two-thirds of its learners are outside North America, with heavy representation from India, China, Russia, and Latin America.

  • Over 300,000 people have taken Wharton’s “Intro to Marketing” course, one of the top 10 business MOOCs on Coursera, since 2013. Nearly 100,000 more have completed its second MOOC on “Consumer Analytics”.
  • The eight-week-long executive education MOOC called the “Strategic Value of Customer Relationship”, priced at $3,700, will be offered for a fifth time this spring. 20 to 30 students have enrolled each time.
  • Since 2012, some 2.7 million people have enrolled in Wharton’s 18 MOOCs; 54,000 verified certificates have been awarded since 2012 and 32,000 verified certificates in specialization courses since April of this year. Each certificate is $95. The school’s specializations in business fundamentals and business analytics, composed of four courses plus a capstone project, cost $595 each.
  • Over the next 12 months, Wharton plans to launch at least two dozen new online offerings, including its first three SPOCs on digital marketing, gamification, and advanced product design. They will all be offered on at significantly higher price points than the $95 certificates for its single MOOC courses on Coursera.

    For example, the “Global Strategy” course, originally distributed on Coursera, has been moved to the edX platform. Now it will cost $149.

    Prices could be raised further in the future. “After all, a used corporate finance textbook on Amazon goes for $200”, says Wharton.

    Wharton also will bump up the number of specializations from two to five through July of next year. The school is hoping that its MOOC revenues will double next year, to at least $10 million.

“The big bet is being placed by Wharton’s new Dean, Geoffrey Garrett, who views the initiative as a way to further extend the school’s brand around the world; reach users who would never be able to get to the school’s Philadelphia campus; get faculty more comfortable using technology to teach; and transform how faculty and students engage in the classroom,” writes Fortune. 

  • “More than 10% of our faculty have now had experience building and running online classes”, Geoffrey Garret says. That translates into more than 30 professors who have been involved in Wharton’s MOOC efforts.”
  • “Content Wharton has been developing can be a viable alternative to non-degree education, long the province of the school’s on-campus executive education programming.”
  • “If it helps a person advance his or her career, it’s a bottom-up credential. Non-degree education will increase pretty dramatically for those who find that the tuition and opportunity costs of either a degree or traditional executive education don’t make sense.”

Wharton has taken important lessons:

  • Students want learning squished down into four weeks. “Today, we’re being more customer-centric and asking what people need.”
  • Students prefer so-called asynchronous online learning that they can tap into at any time, no matter where they are in the world. “The market doesn’t require synchronous learning. If you re in Beijing and I’m in Philadelphia, there is no good time to get together.”
  • MOOCs are about learning, not about teaching. “You don’t invest money to make faculty think they are Oprah Winfrey in the 21st Century.”
  • “It is dumb to have a faculty member stand up in front of a class and deliver a lecture today. (…) MOOCs are raising the bar for face-to-face education. (…) We want class to be more interactive, team oriented and focused on problem solving. We tend to be in the learning-by-studying moment, but I think we are going to have to balance that with learning-by-doing.”

Fortune Magazine: “What’s Behind Wharton’s Massive Bet on Online Learning”

Stanford University Shows Its Disappointment with MOOCs

Mitchell Stevens, left, Candace Thille and John Mitchell, spoke about Online Education at the Faculty Senate.

Definitely, MOOCs have not fixed education and the promise of a big change has not been accomplished.

Back in 2012, Stanford University proclaimed the MOOC revolution and now in 2015 declares its disappointment.

Stanford’s professors and co-directors of the Lytics Lab John Mitchell, Candace Thile and Mitchell Stevens (in the picture) have shared what they learned on a revealing article on Inside of Higher Ed online magazine.

We summarized their main ideas:

  • Back in 2012, massive open online courses entered public consciousness accompanied by grand promises of revolution. MOOC mania brought lots of hype. By 2013 a new campus operation was created at Stanford to support online instruction. It helped our faculty produce 171 online offerings, including 51 free public MOOCs offered repeatedly, reaching nearly two million learners. 
  • MOOCs are not college courses. They are a new instructional genre — somewhere between a digital textbook and a successful college course. Although they can provide much richer learning experiences than a printed book alone, current MOOCs pale in any comparison with face-to-face instruction by a thoughtfully invested human instructor.
  • No education policy that has current MOOCs replacing quality classroom instruction should be taken seriously. That said, most MOOCs provide free or low-cost learning opportunities, so it makes good sense to view them as positive enhancements to the overall education ecosystem. 
  • MOOCs are no panacea for educational inequality. Ample research now makes clear that the preponderance of MOOC users worldwide are college-educated men in highly industrialized countries. Recorded video instruction based on classes at highly selective colleges cannot easily serve broader audiences of less prepared learners.
  • Simply transferring lectures online will not provide effective learning on a massive scale. MOOCs are not Socratic wonders. The learning process is much more complicated than merely sitting in front of a computer screen. Successful online resources have been developed and rigorously evaluated, but they require careful learning design and engineering to engage students in meaningful activity.
  • MOOCs have raised awareness about how online learning technology might be used to support the science of learning. Every keystroke people make when they interact with an online instructional offering leaves a data trace that can be gleaned to support learning research. 
  • What no technology can solve is a failing business model for U.S. higher education. MOOCs have not fixed higher education, but they are poignant reminders of the urgent problems of college cost and access.


Inside Higher Ed: What We’ve Learned From MOOCs

The Third New York Open edX Meetup Will Take Place this January 7th


The third New York Open edX Meetup will take place this January 7th at McKinsey Academy’s WeWork in downtown Manhattan.

More than 90 people have confirmed their attendance for the meetup since it was announced four days ago.

Meanwhile, the number of people who belong to this group has surpassed 450. This is the largest community of Open edX-ers.

Columbia University, edX, McKinsey Academy, IBL Studios and Open Online Academy‘s representatives will talk about the state of Open edX and explain how this open-source technology is helping universities and businesses to implement MOOC-style courses, intended for blended, continuous education, professional development, alumni engagement, lead generation and for-credit programs.

“What makes the Open edX platform unique” is the theme of this meetup.

The panelists will be the following:

Maurice Matiz, Executive Director Columbia Center for Media Teaching and Learning, Columbia University

Joel Barciauskas, Engineering Manager at edX

Jennifer Gormley, Senior Director, Product and Marketing at McKinsey Academy

Michael Amigot, Founder at IBL Studios (Open edX)

Ivan Shumkov, Founder at Open Online Academy (

This event will take place after the success of the Open edX Universities Symposium in DC, organized by the same team.

This short, welcoming event –free of sales pitches– will include brief talks, along with a round-table discussion and networking.

This event will be live broadcasted and open to outside participation. All of the talks will be filmed and distributed  throughout the Open edX community.

Our third Open edX meetup will be sponsored by McKinsey Academy, WeWork and IBL.

Access is free, although seats are limited. Beer and pizza will be served.

Post: Open edX’s Platform Global Success

edX Removes Free Certificates and Adds Verified and XSeries Credentials – Udacity Leads the Way

edX has discontinued the free honor code certificates, although the old ones will remain valid. Instead, learners will be able to audit courses without a fee and have the option to apply for financial assistance to help cover 90% of  the cost of verified certificates.

New courses on now offer two types of certificates: Verified and XSeries.

“It seems that the top two MOOC providers in the world, Coursera and edX, are going along a similar path as they too strive to achieve sustainability. Both have made announcements to the effect that they will remove a key component of the MOOC experience,writes Dhawal Shah in this week.

Before edX and Coursera, Udacity pioneered this formula by stopping free certificates, making graded assignments a paid feature and creating their own type of credential (Nanodegree). This way Udacity reached profitability.

In this fight to generate revenue, some universities are doing well.