Accredible MOOCs

MOOCs may be making a big splash in the media and around faculty lunch tables on college campuses, but some things haven't changed in higher education that will need to change if MOOCs are to make any lasting impact. One of those things is certification.

You pay tuition. You take a course. You do the work successfully. You get a a letter grade. You get credit towards a degree.

That's how it works. But there have always been people who have said that a grade doesn’t really tell anyone else what you’ve actually learned. Who has said that? Students. Faculty. And the really important voice is that of employers. They want to know what you can do with the knowledge you’ve supposedly gained.

I don't know that Accredible, a startup, will be the solution, but it takes an interesting approach. It's a way to take MOOC certificates and make them more "credible" and trustworthy by attaching the actual coursework you’ve done to them.

You make your certificate for an online
course you are taking and attach proof of your learning (notes, assignments, videos of yourself explaining key concepts, quiz results etc.).

View their live demo

Google Course Builder

I have suspected for awhile that Google is interested into moving deeper into education. I don't mean Google Apps for Education. I think they are interested in providing a way to deliver online courses - a learning management system that ties into other Google apps and tools.

Course Builder is an early foray for Google into online education. It was used to build their Power Searching with Google online course. In that course, Dan Russell took "students" through locating information and solving
search problems. Google’s Course Builder
toolkit was developed by Peter Norvig. He is the person who taught the original
open Artificial Intelligence class at Stanford with Sebastian Thrun that helped popularize MOOCs. The frameworks and templates that Russell used for his
courses were then open-sourced by Google.

Course Builder
contains software and instructions for presenting your course material. It can be connected to other Google products to create a course community and to assess the effectiveness of your course.

Course Builder requires technical
skills that are more like a webmaster than an instructor. You would need some background in HTML and JavaScript.
But from the reviews that I have seen online, some designers/developers say that Course Builder is more user-friendly than other open source tools, such as those from edX. (Similar course-building tools from Coursera and Udacity get good reviews but are not yet widely available.)

Right now, Course Builder is not suitable for teachers to use without technical help. And Google is not the place to go to host your course or MOOC. But, I suspect that may not be the case in a few years. Offers Its First MOOC

Moodle, the open source learning management system, has been used for MOOCs, including some of the original MOOC courses, like Connectivism and Connective Knowledge. That course was started in 2008 at the University of Manitoba and run by Stephen Downes (National Research Council of Canada) and George Siemens (Athabasca University).

Now, "Moodle for Teachers: An Introduction" will be's first MOOC. It is a 4 week introductory course for those who are new to using Moodle to teach. They recommend that you spend 8-12 hours per week participating in the course. Registration opens on 19 August 2013 and the course starts on 1 September 2013. There are no fees for taking the course and successful participants will be awarded a Mozilla Open Badges course completion badge that they can add to their Open Badges backpack.

Moodle partners (who use the free Moodle software but offer services for a fee) have offered Moodle Course Creator Certification courses for fees running from $200-$800 for at least five years (AKA Moodle Teacher Certificate), so it will be interesting to see if Moodle's free offering can replace those.

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