As we wrote back in April, there’s no doubt that the Internet is revolutionizing education, as more and more companies continue to emerge and alter the way we learn. We’ve kept a close eye on edX, Khan Academy, Academic Earth, P2PU, Skillshare and Codecademy, and rounding out that list is Coursera, one of the youngest of the bunch, which recently raised $16 million to launch with 37 undergraduate and graduate-level courses.
Now, since starting off with the likes of Princeton and Stanford, Coursera is announcing 12 new university partnerships, $3.7M in equity investments from Caltech, Penn and existing investors, and a total of 1.5M student users from 190 different countries.
More specifically, here’s a list of the company’s 12 new partnering universities, following Coursera’s original four launch partners (Stanford, Princeton, University of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania):
University of Washington
University of Edinburgh
University of Toronto
EPFL – Lausanne (Switzerland)
Johns Hopkins University (School of Public Health)
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
University of Virginia
If you’re interested, these courses are free and here’s a list of all the new classes available:
People sometimes say that the United Nations doesn’t do enough to solve the big problems of the world. I’ve never really agreed with that point of view, but if anyone is looking for evidence of the UN’s impact, a good place to start is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
They were agreed to in 2000 by all 193 UN member countries and 23 international organizations. Creating that kind of consensus is—by itself—a significant achievement.
The great thing about the MDGs is that they provide clear targets and indicators of progress in key areas, including:
Ending poverty and hunger
Child and maternal health
Although a number of countries won’t be able to achieve all of the goals by the target date of 2015, the MDGs have been helpful in getting everyone to really think about their part, the progress they’re making, and what they can learn from others. The goals have focused political attention in developing countries, encouraged UN groups to work together, and inspired wealthy and fast-growing donor countries to coordinate their efforts.
I love this piece from Scientific American, written in the format of a teaching lesson, instructing you how to perform a science experiment: How Fast Can You React?
Think fast! Have you ever noticed that when someone unexpectedly tosses a softball at you, you need a little time before you can move to catch it (or duck)? That’s because when your eyes see an incoming signal such as a softball, your brain needs to first process what’s happening—and thenyou can take action. In this activity, you can measure just how long it takes for you to react, and compare reaction times with your friends and family.
Materials · Ruler (inches or metric) · Paper · Pencil · Chart (below)
Google has launched a free tutorial website, Search Education, which will help students learn how to better use Google Search for learning and academic research. The site is aimed at both at teachers and at individual users.
The company knows that while its many tools can be useful, not everyone understands how to use them. Student Education seeks to solve this by providing live training that anyone can access as well as lesson plans that teachers can use to teach their students about Google’s many services. There are even “A Google A Day” challenges that can be used to reinforce search skills in students.
Teachers will be pleased to find that the lessons plans are comprehensive. They include beginner, intermediate and advanced versions covering five different topics:
Picking the right search terms
Understanding search results
Narrowing a search to get the best results
Searching for evidence for research tasks
Evaluating credibility of sources
There are also ten challenges, each of which covers a specific academic topic (such as history, biology and even math).
This large format full-color map features the World Heritage sites and brief explanations of the World Heritage Convention and the World Heritage conservation programmes, as well as superb photos of World Heritages sites with explanatory captions.
Classes typically last for five to ten weeks, and during that time students commit to watching the lectures, and completing interactive quizzes and assignments, which are auto-graded or graded by peers. Upon completion, the student receives a statement of accomplishment, a letter from the professor, and a score, but the course doesn’t count for any actual credit with that specific institution. The site also features a Q&A forum where students can ask questions about the course material and get answers from fellow students.
In subjects ranging from human behavior to linguistics, Stanford lectures…have been downloaded a whopping 50 million times.
The milestone, reached March 14, comes nearly seven years after Stanford became the first university to offer public access to campus lectures, concerts and courses through iTunes U.
“It shows there is a huge appetite for high-quality educational content,” said Brent Izutsu, the senior program manager for Stanford on iTunes U. “And that will only grow as more people look online to supplement their education.”
The most popular offerings are in engineering, where students can learn to build an iOS app or study quantum physics under one of the fathers of string theory, Leonard Susskind.
Open University is the first in Europe to reach more than one million active subscriptions through the iTunes U app since it launched back on 19 January. The University’s 52 courses add to the University’s extensive material on iTunes U which has now seen more than 50 million international downloads, with over 40,000 new downloads each day.
Our most popular course on the iTunes U iPad app The New Entrepreneurs has over 100,000 active subscribers, with another six of our courses having over 50,000 subscribers each. Last week we released a new course Moons: An Introduction which incorporates the University’s first Multi-Touch iBook Moon Rocks: An Introduction to the Geology of the Moon, created using Apple’s iBooks Author.