Upcoming Webinar: The Future of MOOCs

BookSmallWe’re bringing together experts from the recently published book, Massive Open Online Courses: The MOOC Revolution for a webinar on Tuesday, February 10 from 10 – 11 a.m.

The panel, moderated by Paul Kim, CTO & assistant dean of Graduate School of Education at Stanford University, will offer an open discussion on the sustainability of the MOOC movement, emerging trends in learning, the potential of MOOCs for development, and how companies are beginning to connect. Are MOOCs a flash in the pan or a form of learning here to stay?

Panelists include:

  • Amin Saberi, CEO & Co-founder, NovoEd
  • David Frye, Associate Director of the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation
  • Jeff Haywood, Vice Principal Knowledge Management, CIO, University of Edinburgh
  • Shannon Hughes, Senior Director of Marketing, Udemy
  • Victor Hu, Global Head of Education Technology & Services Investment Banking, Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Make sure to register here. Look forward to having you join the discussion!

2014 Social Innovation Grantees

It’s been an exciting year at Udemy — we’ve launched our Social Innovation Program and given out $25,000 in grants to support nonprofits creating Udemy courses! Below you’ll find a summary of the year’s grantees and the courses that you can expect in the coming months. Udemy is excited to partner with these great organizations to help scale education around the world.

 

December Grantees

The Eurasia Foundation is a Washington DC-based group that runs programs equipping citizens to define and achieve outcomes of enduring benefit to their communities. While building the leadership skills of women and young people, they help small business become more successful, local government more responsive and civic organizations more effective and resilient.

The Course: First Steps to Entrepreneurship: From Business Ideas to Actionable Plans

Course Launch Date: March 2015

This Persian-language course will be created for aspiring Iranian women entrepreneurs. It will walk students through the process of turning business ideas into feasible road maps that fit their needs and objectives. The students learn how to leverage their means (interests, skills and relationships) to achieve their entrepreneurial goals. The course encourages creative problem solving and analytical thinking because each entrepreneur’s journey is unique and the entrepreneur should be equipped with these skills to navigate the venture toward success. The course is designed to take into account the unique challenges and opportunities of Iranian female entrepreneurs.

YOUCAN is a Canadian non-profit organization specializing in youth-led methods for non-violent conflict resolution. YOUCAN is run by young people, from our youth board of directors from across Canada, to our volunteer youth teams.  Their mission is to equip youth to engage and inspire others to peacefully resolve conflicts and develop healthy relationships in their communities.

The Course: Restorative Practices: Peace-building in Schools

Course Launch Date: March 2015

This course is designed to help teachers integrate restorative practices into how they approach and resolve conflict in their school community. It also gives teachers the tools they need to train their students in restorative practices so they are better equipped to peacefully resolve conflicts, and develop healthy relationships.

 

November Grantees

Kiva is non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Kiva U envisions a world where all students and educators are empowered with the tools and opportunities to become informed, inspired, and mobilized global citizens.

The Course: Taking Action in a Complex World: Kiva U and Microfinance

Course Launch: March 2015

Students will reflect on action they have taken/can take in their communities and  explore actions taken globally to address poverty alleviation. Students will identify the complexities in taking action on issues of importance and apply this lesson to their own lives.

Upwardly Global is a national US-based nonprofit with the mission of eliminating employment barriers for skilled immigrants and refugees and integrating this population into the professional U.S. workforce. Today there are more than 1.8 million immigrants in the U.S. who are college-educated but are unemployed or significantly underemployed. In their home countries they were engineers, doctors, scientists, accountants, and nonprofit professionals. In the U.S. they become cashiers, nannies, and cab drivers, if employed at all. To solve this problem Upwardly Global creates employer partnerships, provides customized training and support for these new Americans. The outcome is global talent for employers, culturally competent service providers for diverse communities, and family sustaining incomes for those who were previously unemployed or underemployed.

The Course: Leadership Strategies for Immigrants in the U.S. Workplace

Course Launch: March 2015

This course will help students assess their unique leadership skills and challenges, exploring and setting leadership & career development goals. This course will help participants develop strategies to work with different types of colleagues and supervisors. It will also focus on understand the importance of personal branding, internal networking (including Employee Resource Groups), and professional development.

 

October Grantees

National Environmental Education Fund (NEEF) is the nation’s leading organization in lifelong environmental learning, connecting people to knowledge they use to improve the quality of their lives and the health of the planet. We achieve this by providing knowledge to trusted professionals and other leaders who, with their credibility, amplify messages to national audiences to solve everyday environmental problems.

The Course: Extreme Weather 101

Course Launch: February 2015

This course will equip individuals, families, and communities with the information they need to understand the links between climate change and extreme weather, anticipate extreme weather events, and take steps to prepare in order to protect life and property. NEEF will work with NOAA and interagency collaborators to draw upon information, data, and tools from the Third National Climate Assessment, climate.gov, and elsewhere. This course was recently included as part of the White House Office of Science and Technology’s Fact Sheet: Lifting America’s Game in Climate Education, Literacy and Training.

Art in Action is a Bay Area-based nonprofit focused on building skills, while igniting students’ thinking and creativity by providing engaging visual arts programs through which they learn art history, appreciation, and skills. Art in Action makes the joys of art accessible to all students – particularly students who might not otherwise have access to the types of experiences and opportunities the arts elicit.

The Course: STEAM through Art in Action: Project based learning for young students via Henri Rousseau

Course Launch: February 2015

This course will provide training and insights to teachers and parent volunteers on how to use Art in Action’s visual art lesson inspired by Henri Rousseau to teach STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) concepts like botany, zoology, math and design to kindergarten through second grade students.

 

September Grantees

Oregon Environmental Council is a nonprofit, non-partisan, membership-based organization. They work to protect the health of every Oregonian, working for clean air and water, a healthy climate, an unpolluted landscape and sustainable food and farms.

The Course: Healthy Homes: Environmental News You Can Use

This course is designed to be easy to understand for any student, parent, teacher or caregiver who wants to know how to create a healthy space to live, work and learn. It’s also great for anyone who suffers asthma, headaches, or other sensitivities to chemicals and wants simple and affordable tips to reduce toxics in your life. Find out why untested and hazardous chemicals came into our lives; how we are exposed to these chemicals; what hazards these chemicals might pose to our health; and who is responsible for reducing toxics and protecting health.

Pebbles for Hope, is a nonprofit committed to helping premature babies around the world survive and thrive. By leveraging the power of media, technology and community to provide education and training to parents, birth attendants, and community health workers, they are working to give premature babies born in low-resource areas an increased chance at survival and the opportunity to lead a healthy life.

The Course: Thrive Guide: Nutrition

Course Launch Date: January 2015

This course will provide mothers and caregivers of premature infants in low-resource areas with  the information they need to properly care for their babies. The course will focus on nutrition and will cover topics such as breastfeeding, introduction of solid foods, vitamin supplementation, overcoming feeding challenges and Kangaroo Care as a means to stimulate milk production.

 

August Grantees

Four Block Veteran Career Development is a nonprofit organization committed to providing career development and transition support services to returning veterans and their families. The Course: Military Transition & Veteran Career Development, The Right Veteran, The Right Career

The course provides transitioning Post 9/11 veterans with the essential tools needed to jumpstart civilian careers. The goal of the course is to empower veterans to obtain competitive internships and full-time positions that match their interests, attributes and strengths.

Parents for Public Schools assists families and works to ensure quality public schools for all children in San Francisco. They help parents at each stage of the journey, from introducing them to the enrollment lottery process, to developing parent leaders in the schools and at the district, to improving systems at the district level and much more.

The Course: Parents as Partners in Creating Excellent California Public: The Ins and Outs of School Governance and How Schools are Funded

Course Launch Date: January 2015

The course will be available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Studies have shown that schools with parents who are involved in decision-making and advocacy have higher levels of student achievement and greater public support. In the course PPSSF will teach parents how to get involved in what can often be a confusing system  in order to support their student’s success.

 

Udemy is excited to partner with these great organizations to help scale great education around the world.

After Veterans Day, Need Ongoing Support for Veteran Career Development

On November 11th we celebrated the 21.8 million veterans living in the United States with department store sales, free coffees, parades and moments of silence. But it’s important that we ask ourselves, how are we supporting and celebrating veterans the other 364 days a year?

With a US Veteran unemployment rate higher than the national average by several percentage points, we must continue to work for equal opportunities for our servicemen and women. There are a host of reasons for this gap — but we must ask, given that our veterans have completed elite training and development, why do unemployment numbers remain so high and what can we do to help?

A recent study from CompTIA found that 27% of active duty military members anticipated it might be difficult to transition their skills to civilian occupations. That number jumped to 47% when you asked veterans who had made the transition if they had difficulty in the switch. The Gallup Wellbeing Index in 2013 indicated that young men in particular struggle after discharge from the military.

Clearly easing this transition point remains essential. Groups like the Four Block Foundation are chipping away at this problem.  Their education program, available through in-person 8-week seminars and free online on Udemy, is designed to give veterans the essential tools needed to jumpstart civilian careers. The goal of the course is to empower veterans to obtain competitive internships and full-time positions that match their interests, attributes and strengths.

Once vets have found employment, there exists the question of how to move ahead and gain new skills. A 2013 report from the Veterans Administration highlighted the need for employers who recruit veterans to devote resources to employee retention through ongoing development and support. The best practices included mentorship, team-building, and continuous learning opportunities.

In order to support our veterans in their pursuit of a diverse range of career goals, Udemy will provide money and a discount for any vet or active-duty service member who wants to take online courses. We hope that this program is a small part of a greater whole, moving towards a veteran unemployment rate dramatically below the national average.

How TED-style conferences miss the point: the Social Good Summit

by Meg Evans, Manager of Social Innovation

Graça Machel, Melinda Gates. Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, Michael Dell, Edward Norton, Kathy Calvin, Helen Clark, Jill Bolte Taylor, Bill McKibben – this week’s Social Good Summit was a veritable who’s who of the world’s do-gooders. Sitting in the darkened auditorium at the 92nd St. Y, as a philanthropy professional, the level of detailed, tactical discussion on stage was heartening. It wasn’t just a “let’s change the world!” call to action, but rather a discussion of the micro, along with the macro, challenges to addressing the most vexing social problems.

After each panel or speaker, I couldn’t help but want to get up and take action – enraged by persisting issues of child marriage or fired up about the value of giving women financial control. Yet, when I stood up in the dark room, it was usually to sneak out quietly to grab a snack, apologizing in hushed tones as I climbed over lit laptop screens with active Twitter feeds.

Once outside of the auditorium, the small green room buzzed with journalists getting ready to interview the next celebrity to come off stage. Without name tags, mingling felt like a rude interruption to conversations in progress, made more difficult by the cramped space. I, like most others there I think, stuck to conversations and coffees with those folks I already knew. Each panel transitioned seamlessly to the next with no breaks in the 6-hour agenda – as such, talking to your neighbor felt disrespectful to the panelists.

In short, the conference set-up left out arguably the most important of the social good puzzle – connection.   I furiously tweeted, tagging everything with #2030NOW – trying to see who else was in attendance, trying to start Twitter conversations, and trying to make connections via Topi (the conference app). In short, in a hyper-connected digital world, I failed to really connect with anyone.

The Social Good Summit is certainly not alone. It’s common practice to emulate the popular TED-style events — quick presentations anchored by a memorable story and rife with tweet-able sound bites. But what about making actual change through meaningful conversations and partnerships? I know that there are other conferences with more time for mingling and meet and greets and I wouldn’t expect to have a lengthy conversation with Idris Elba, but when you have a room full of attendees invested in this work why not provide the space for them to talk with each other?

I came to the Summit seeking potential partners to launch a broad initiative centered on skills-based education in the developing world. Jane Wurwand, the CEO of Dermalogica mentioned this point. Michael Roth, President of Wesleyan, discussed how education was the chief tool of empowerment (although we might disagree on the value of vocational training).  I’m sure there were others in the room passionate about the same issues. But how do we go about following up to make meaningful change? While we’re all in the same room, let’s have conversations longer than 140 characters.

If you want to get together for a 140+ character conversation, feel free to email me – meg@udemy.com.

Udemy’s Social Innovation program supports nonprofits, social entrepreneurs and change makers around the world with two core components (1) monetary grants to help social-change agents create their own online Udemy courses and (2) affordable access to Udemy courses and solutions, enabling organizations to tap the deep breadth of expertise available in Udemy’s global skills marketplace.

Announcing our inaugural grantees: Parents for Public Schools San Francisco and the Four Block Foundation

We are excited today to announce the first winners of Udemy’s Social Innovation Grant program. Parents for Public Schools in San Francisco and the Four Block Foundation in New York will be creating online Udemy courses to make a social impact and further their work.

Four Block Veteran Career Development is a nonprofit organization committed to providing career development and transition support services to returning veterans and their families. They will use the grant to bring their in-person curriculum online, with a course called “Military Transition & Veteran Career Development, The Right Veteran, The Right Career.”

The course will provide transitioning Post 9/11 veterans with the essential tools needed to jumpstart civilian careers. The goal of the course is to empower veterans to obtain competitive internships and full-time positions that match their interests, attributes and strengths. They have been getting requests to start the program in cities around the country and are excited about using an online course to reach these men and women.

Parents for Public Schools assists families and works to ensure quality public schools for all children in San Francisco. They help parents at each stage of the journey, from introducing them to the enrollment lottery process, to developing parent leaders in the schools and at the district, to improving systems at the district level and much more.

They will use the grant to create a course, “Parents as Partners in Creating Excellent California Public: The Ins and Outs of School Governance and How Schools are Funded.” The course will be available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Studies have shown that schools with parents who are involved in decision-making and advocacy have higher levels of student achievement and greater public support. In the course PPSSF will teach parents how to get involved in what can often be a confusing system  in order to support their student’s success.

Udemy is excited to partner with these great organizations to help scale great education around the world.