Nearly 75% who take online classes are outside US (Boston Globe)

Recently, MITx and HarvardX released de-identified learning data collected by edX. This article in the Boston Globe digs into the demographics of MOOC learners:

Of the 842,000 students who registered for the free online classes offered by the edX initiative in the 2012-2013 school year, just 28 percent were from the United States. About 13 percent were from India, followed by the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, and Spain.

The most typical edX student was a male with a bachelor’s degree who is 26 or older. But less than 1 in 3 students fit that profile, researchers found, suggesting there is a broad array of different types of students.

For example, one-third reported a high-school education or less, while 6 percent reported they were 50 or older. Continue reading at the Boston Globe.

If you’d like to see the edX data for yourself (and perhaps find an interesting trend), you can download it here.

Public Domain Jam! (Creative Commons blog)

The Wizard of Oz; Moby Dick; Alice in Wonderland. These characters (and many, many others) are in the public domain, and are free to be remixed and remade… into videogames. Creative Commons blogged about the Public Domain Jam, a cool videogame design contest with a $1000 prize for the best game released into the public domain:

If you’re a videogame designer and you have nothing to do over the next week (or if making cool games is more fun than your day job), why not spend the week developing a public domain game?

The idea of The Public Domain Jam is to encourage developers to create games based on public domain assets and stories, and optionally give the games themselves back to the public domain via the CC0 waiver. The game trailer encourages designers to think about the amazing wealth of public domain source material. Read more


The contest ends on Saturday, so hurry! And don’t forget to check out our list of game-related courses on OCW.

Harvard and MIT Release Visualization Tools for Trove of MOOC Data (Chronicle of Higher Ed)

World enrollment data for MITx courses.

World enrollment data for MITx courses.

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have released a set of open-source visualization tools for working with a rich trove of data from more than a million people registered for 17 of the two institutions’ massive open online courses, which are offered through their edX platform. Read more.

Innovation, Access, and Open Education: The Business & Policy Case for OER

Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons, is the best in the business at making the policy case for Open Educational Resources. Here he is in action (via OLDaily and Jason Rhode):

Innovation, Access, and Open Education: The Business & Policy Case for OER

February 6, 2014 By Jason Rhode @jrhode

UPCEA has made freely available the recording of Cable Green’s general session presentation titled, “Innovation, Access, and Open Education: The Business & Policy Case for OER” at the recent Summit for Online Leadership and Strategy. While the slides are available here, the recording is now available here.

General Session Presentation by Cable Green

To view the rest of the Summit For Online Leadership and Strategy‘s program you can purchase the Online Pass.

– See more at:

Give the Data to the People (NYTimes Opinion)

Give the Data to the People


LAST week, Johnson & Johnson announced that it was making all of its clinical trial data available to scientists around the world. It has hired my group, Yale University Open Data Access Project, or YODA, to fully oversee the release of the data. Everything in the company’s clinical research vaults, including unpublished raw data, will be available for independent review.

This is an extraordinary donation to society, and a reversal of the industry’s traditional tendency to treat data as an asset that would lose value if exposed to public scrutiny.

Today, more than half of the clinical trials in the United States, including many sponsored by academic and governmental institutions, are not published within two years of their completion. Often they are never published at all. The unreported results, not surprisingly, are often those in which a drug failed to perform better than a placebo. As a result, evidence-based medicine is, at best, based on only some of the evidence. One of the most troubling implications is that full information on a drug’s effects may never be discovered or released.

Even when studies are published, the actual data are usually not made available. End users of research — patients, doctors and policy makers — are implicitly told by a single group of researchers to “take our word for it.” They are often forced to accept the report without the prospect of other independent scientists’ reproducing the findings — a violation of a central tenet of the scientific method.

To be fair, the decision to share data is not easy. Companies worry that their competitors will benefit, that lawyers will take advantage, that incompetent scientists will misconstrue the data and come to mistaken conclusions. Researchers feel ownership of the data and may be reluctant to have others use it. So Johnson & Johnson, as well as companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Medtronic that have made more cautious moves toward transparency, deserve much credit. The more we share data, however, the more we find that many of these problems fail to materialize. Read more.

Tech expert predicts 2014 will be a good year for openness

In a Chronicle of Higher Education article out today, University of Hawaii interim president and former chief information officer David Lassner predicts 2014 will be a big year for openness in education:

David Lassner

LassnerInterim president and former chief information officer
University of Hawaii

Openness: Open software and content (open-source software, community-source software, open education resources) obviously save students and institutions money on licensing fees. Perhaps more important, they also promote collaboration and innovation by inviting users to improve, customize, and build on initial solutions. And the communities of interest around open software and content may well be the next hotbeds of innovation for institutions seeking new paths to address the challenges and opportunities of the new normal.

Analytics: Our opportunities for improvement are immense, and data provide a powerful lens to understand how we are doing internally and relative to our peers. This applies across all segments of what we do, from teaching and learning to administrative support. Performance metrics and dashboards are the beginning, but using data to understand deeper correlations and causality so we can shape change will be critical as we strive to advance our effectiveness.

Cloud: The original NSFNET, which provided access to national supercomputer assets, created an early higher-education cloud. And the value of the cloud for commodity services is already evidenced through our adoption of cloud-based email, calendaring, storage, communications, and similar utilities. Our next breakthrough will be in shared multitenant applications that not only reduce costs but also enable a faster pace of improvement in software quality and support analytic insights across institutions.  Read more.

Open access to scientific knowledge has reached its tipping point (

Open access to scientific knowledge has reached its tipping point

Posted 7 Oct 2013 by Devon Hanel

compete or collaborate?

A recent study funded by the European Commission and undertaken by analysts at Science-Metrix, a Montreal-based company that assesses science and technology organizations, has concluded that half of all published academic papers become freely available in no more than two years.

According to the study, the year 2011 is a milestone for open access. By this analysis, 50% of all scientific articles published in 2011 are currently available in some open access form or another, and the trend is toward more and more articles becoming open access.

The study says that the “free availability of a majority of articles has been reached in general science and technology, in biomedical research, biology, and mathematics, and statistics.”

According to the study’s lead author and Science-Metrix president Éric Archambault, these results indicate a “tipping point” in open access availability. No doubt this is major news for a publishing industry traditionally accustomed to regular subscription fees in exchange for scholarly research.

“The open access movement has reached a kind of critical mass,” says Archambault. “It’s only going to accelerate. There are a lot of people behind it: governments, academia, even publishers to an extent. It’s here, and it’s here to stay.”

In a world with increasingly easy access to information via the Internet, the old ways of subscription-based journals are on the way out. Just as the need to pay for volumes of an encyclopaedia has largely been replaced by the convenience of Wikipedia, so too will academic journals by their online counterparts—and with a greater demand for open access. Read more.