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Providers of Free MOOCs Now Charge Employers For Access To Student Data 40

An anonymous reader writes "Coursera announced its 'career services' feature yesterday for students who opt in. The company that works with elite colleges to offer free courses is sharing more than just academic scores — showing potential employers evidence of 'soft skills,' like how helpful students were in class discussion forums. 'Udacity, another company that provides free online courses, offers a similar service. ... Udacity's founder, Sebastian Thrun, said in an interview that 350 partner companies had signed up for its job program. While Mr. Thrun would not say how much employers pay, he characterized the fee as "significantly less than you'd pay for a headhunter, but significantly more than what you'd pay for access to LinkedIn," a popular social network for job hunters.'"
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Providers of Free MOOCs Now Charge Employers For Access To Student Data

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  • IOW... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Just like everyone else, they can't come up with a better business model than selling personal data.

  • A bit of privacy is sacrificed here, but I think it would be worth it in the long run: free education and possible job prospects? Sounds good, and it's a good way for MOOCs to make some money. The article said there would soon be charges for certificates, though the course will remain free. I can't see anyone paying for a certificate of completion for a non-accredited course. Is there any benefit to these certificates? Overall though, I love MOOCs.
    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      I can't see anyone paying for a certificate of completion for a non-accredited course. Is there any benefit to these certificates?

      In the IT world there's a whole universe of people doing just that in meat-space. Pay $2000 to sit in your "global knowledge" class. Also the testing side, pay $250 to some testing service, walk away with 1/4 a CCNP or whatever, repeat a couple times, etc. I did all that, collected cisco certs like toilet paper.

    • by Heed00 ( 1473203 )
      I think the model will be moving quite rapidly towards optional invigilated final exams in meatspace where identities can be verified. In those cases, the certificate could become accredited by the institutions, count towards degree requirements or have another form of recognition by another respected body. This leaves the open free knowledge aspect of MOOCs intact for those unwilling or unable to pay and adds the option for some form of more official and weighty recognition for those willing to pay a sma
    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      No fuck this.. Encouraging 'soft' (another buzzword for sociability) skills to the deficit of actual job skillsets and their objective measurement is nuts. While being able to communicate is important, there's already too much of this slimy 'shmoozing' bullshit in corporate politics that does little but obfuscate uncomfortable truth for the sake of insecure employees/management. We shouldn't put carrots on sticks that lead students towards this counterproductive behavior. School should be as close to a me

      • by hazem ( 472289 )

        I dont see the problem. These classes are free for students and they get as much as they want out of it in terms of what they learn.

        The class providers are partnering with businesses to give access to student performance as they seek out potential hires. Among that data is the test and homework performance. But there's also other data about how much the student is involved in the forums, etc.

        Nobody is saying the employers must use that data or even take it into account. It's their choice to get what the

    • Those Who Would Sacrifice Privacy For MOOCs Deserve Neither.

      Your tradeoff is misplaced. The mere fact that you think such a tradeoff is even acceptable shows how far off the path of liberty you already are.

      I'm all for MOOCs done right. That is, free education for the masses. We have the technology and knowledge to do this, gratis. The same way we do open source, gratis. Everybody chips in a little here, a little there, and copies get widely distributed for free, with no strings attached except encourage

      • Sorry for the late reply. That would also be a good plan, but I don't see how the current one is "off the path of liberty." It's no different than using Facebook for free in exchange for sending data to third parties, except that in this scenario you potentially have a job. Neither situation is ideal, but I fail to see how it's really harmful? Also, Coursera seems to be mostly "mass video lectures" and a few peer graded, short essays--not at all equivalent to a full course, in my opinion--but Udacity from
        • The underlying problem is that some methods scale better than others.

          If you have a centralized platform for serving data with tight control, this is expensive, and the operating costs will be proportional to the number of users. Thus when the number of users doubles, the total costs will more or less double. As a consequence, the service cannot be offered for free, some rate of income must balance the rate of expenses. This necessarily leads to subscription and/or exploitation of some sort or other.

          If y

  • Acronym usage (Score:5, Informative)

    by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:25PM (#42196343)
    I was unfamiliar with the acronym "MOOC". From the summary I concluded it was some kind of online course, but was unable to discern what the rest of the acronym stood for. However, Google is your friend (well, not really but I will save that for a rant another day) and I was able to discover that MOOC stands for "Massive Open Online Course". From what I can see that makes "Free MOOCs" a redundant phrase that belongs in the same bin with "ATM Machines" and "PIN Numbers".
    • by dr_dank ( 472072 )

      I thought a MOOC was the guy who hung out with Thundarr the Barbarian.

    • Well, only if it's a Free FMOOC.
    • by bjwest ( 14070 )

      Why is "Free MOOC" a redundant phrase? Open doesn’t necessarily have to mean free. It could mean open to anyone regardless of previous educational experience - meaning no prerequisite course (or proof thereof) required.

      • Did you look at the definition given for MOOC? According to Wikipedia, "Open access. MOOC participants do not need to be a registered student in a school to "take" a MOOC, and are not required to pay a fee."
        • by bjwest ( 14070 )

          A requirement for a MOOC may be that they must be free, but the "definition" of the acronym is 'Massive Open Online Course'. Saying "free MOOC", or stating that a MOOC is free is quite different from saying "ATM machine" or "PIN number", where the redundancy is actually one of the words in the acronym being repeated.

          I will admit I didn't look up the requirements for a MOOC, but, although I wasn't making an argument only asking a question, I will stand by my argument that there is no redundancy in the phras

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:50PM (#42196705)

    skills versus a "degree." is a issue in Education.

    Degrees are tied to systems of the past and are in big fixed blocks of time.

    Not all skills fit that well into a degree setting and other stuff needs more hands on learning that is a very poor fit in to a degree class setting.

    • education is not going to solve these problems. There is limited evidence that online education is even as good as more traditional approaches to education, which are riddled with problems (beyond just what you point out).

      What we really need is to change the culture that surrounds education. We need to stop making degrees the goal of education, and start making expanding a person's mind and skillset the goal.
      • by Guppy06 ( 410832 )

        We need to stop making degrees the goal of education, and start making expanding a person's mind and skillset the goal.

        The goal is to put food on one's table and a roof over one's head. "Expanding one's mind" is much higher on Ye Olde Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

        You worry about "expanding your mind" after you claw yourself out of underemployment, when (if) you can afford it. The degree demonstrably helps get you there.

      • Well we can start by taking the ITT's, devry's , ECT and removing the degree's from them.

        And let them become trun tech / trades schools with having them be pined down by having to be part of the degree system.

        Offer a gen edu / basic level college GED system.

        Have a 1 year gen edu post HS degree at the Community College level. Some Community Colleges also offer tech school classes that any one can drop in.

  • Good. I hope everyone benefits from this feature. MOOC has been a boon for me, and I suspect, for others as well.

    One remarkable thing that recently came out of Coursera is Rice University's CodeSkulptor []. With CodeSkulptor, I can write interactive games in Python (with additional help from CodeSkulptor's library functions).

    You can do all that if you take the course "An Introduction to Interaction Programming in Python" []. It's a lot of fun.

  • The answer to "Who invaded Spain in the 8th century?" is supposed to be the MOORs, not the MOOCs.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.