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Higher education disruption continues: Stanford takes lead with more 'interactive' MOOC platform

Posting in Education
One of the criticisms of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has been that they are essentially pre-packaged courses blasted out in firehose-style to worldwide audiences. Now, a more hybrid version of MOOC is emerging that links online presentations with more interactive learning. A partnership between 16 leading universities seeks to elevate MOOC learning to a more real-time, collaborative experience.

The latest MOOC platform, NovoEd, announced agreements with 16 institutions, through which NovoEd will provide the platform, tools, and services that enable partners to offer both massive online open courses (MOOCs) and smaller private courses in social, collaborative and connected environments.

NovoEd’s list of partners now includes Stanford, Princeton, University of Michigan, University of Virginia Darden School of Business, Babson Global, the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, among others. NovoEd was founded by Stanford professor Amin Saberi, who is currently on leave of absence from the university.

NovoEd's proponents say its focus is to integrate participating schools' interactive learning models into its online social learning environment, which can then be adopted by others. The platform differs from other MOOC providers in that it has built an interactive platform that feeds real-time analytics to instructors, enabling them to adjust and adapt the course as it progresses. One of the criticisms of original MOOCs is that since the courses were pre-programmed, if a large number of students encountered difficulties during a session, they essentially got mired while the instructor kept moving onto new material. In addition, NovoEd says it has built greater real-time interactivity between students, enabling greater collaboration and sharing of notes and opinions.

Currently, most of NovoEd's courses are being offered by Stanford professors. The MOOC platform's initial offering are strong in the entrepreneurial learning space, with courses covering the following areas:

Technology Entrepreneurship (Stanford University, free)
Design Thinking Action Lab (Stanford University, free)
Creativity: Music to My Ears (Stanford University, free)
Raising Startup Capital (Kaufman Fellows Academy, $149)
Venture Deals (Kaufman Fellows Academy, $249)

(Thumbnail photo: Stanford University Office of Media Relations.)

— By on February 19, 2014, 9:45 AM PST

Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure