MOOCs are moving beyond universities.
Coursera recently announced a partnership with the United States government, but it's not just the government teaming up with MOOC providers. MOOC partnerships outside of universities encompass museums, technology companies and even the World Bank. Their intended audience varies, but one group crops up often: teachers. Many of the programs are meant to educate educators.
Here are seven high-profile non-university organizations that are partnering with MOOCs:
This most recent partnership is meant to create “learning hubs” around the world where students can have Internet access to free courses, supplemented by in-person discussions. Much of the recent growth in visits to MOOC sites has been from abroad, with visits from India, for example, doubling over the last year or so. The notion that the developing world could skip over brick-and-mortar universities and head right to virtual ones is a powerful idea. If that happens, the U.S. government wants to be on the frontlines, using online education to expose a foreign audience to American ideas and education.
Last month, Coursera announced that it was joining with The World Bank to offer its courses on development and poverty alleviation. The partnership is aimed at giving policymakers and on-the-ground development experts "valuable practical" knowledge on strategies and challenges in development. The first offering is "Turn Down the Heat" and focuses on why global warming must be avoided.
The New York museum joined with Coursera to offer science courses for K-12 teachers. The partnership involves several other museums and schools of education, including the University of Virginia. The museum's offerings include courses on evolution and genetics.
The Commonwealth Education Trust invests in education and teacher training in the more than 50 countries across the Commonwealth. Its courses focus heavily on the nuts and bolts of teaching itself—such as curriculum, planning and student assessment—rather than on specific academic subjects
Udacity has joined with AT&T, Google and others to form the Open Education Alliance. The alliance is intended to give students the skills they need to pursue careers in technology, outside of the framework of a traditional university. Apart from Google and AT&T, partners include technology companies such as Autodesk, NVIDIA and Intuit, as well as Georgia Tech and education startup Khan Academy.
6. GOOGLE + EDX
Not-for-profit online learning initiative edX announced a partnership with Google to create and operate MOOC.org, a new site for non-xConsortium universities, institutions, businesses, governments and teachers to build and host their courses. Whereas other MOOC partnerships focus on specific audiences, this one aims to make MOOC development and learning open to practically anybody.
MOMA describes its mission as "helping you understand and enjoy the art of our time." Its MOOCs are designed to help teachers foster and transmit understanding and appreciation of art to their students. One of the courses, Art and Inquiry: Museum Teaching Strategies For Your Classroom, tries to bring teaching methods typically used in museums into classrooms. A follow-up course, Art & Activity: Interactive Strategies for Engaging with Art, aims to give teachers more hands-on activities.
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