Amy Ahearn

Stop Asking About Completion Rates: Better Questions to Ask About MOOCs in 2019

“What’s the completion rate for your online courses?”As an instructional designer who has been building MOOCs for the past five years, I’ve been asked this question more times than I count. It’s depressing shorthand for skepticism about online education in general.

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Can We Design Online Learning Platforms That Feel More Intimate Than Massive?

Teachers spend hours designing and setting up their classrooms. They arrange cozy reading nooks and construct colorful bulletin boards. They know that when it comes to learning and productivity, space matters.

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?Why an iTunes Model for Online Learning Is Bad for Educators

In 2017, Stephen DeRue, dean of University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, wrote a Forbes column arguing that, in order to make higher education more affordable, we needed to move towards an “iTunes model for education.”

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?Beyond Design Thinking: Why Education Entrepreneurs Need to Think in Systems

For the last few years, design thinking has been in vogue. I’ve worked for three years as a member of the team designing and running +Acumen courses. In 2013, we launched an “Introduction to Human-Centered Design course” with IDEO.org which has since enrolled over 100,000 people.

?We Don’t Need More Alternatives to College

When MissionU emerged on the scene last year branding itself as an alternative to college, it ruffled feathers in higher education. The startup’s marketing pitch rightly pointed out that college debt was ballooning in the United States and that universities were failing to prepare the majority of Americans for the workforce.

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?A Starter Kit for Instructional Designers

A 2016 report funded by the Gates Foundation found that in the U.S. alone, there are 13,000 instructional designers. Yet, when I graduated from college in 2008, I didn’t know this field existed. Surely a lot has changed!

Crowdfunding Meets Webinar: How One Organization Uses Slack to Tackle Global Challenges

As anyone who reads the news can tell you, the world is facing an increasingly complex host of social, civic and environmental challenges that will require people from a wide range of backgrounds to collaborate with each other on. Now that we’ve assembled international crowds of motivated, smart people online in MOOCs, it’s time to think about harnessing their collective intelligence to tackle these urgent cross-boundary issues.

7 Ways for Learning Designers to Build Habit-Forming Experiences

“Self-paced.” “Mobile.” “On-the-go.” Edtech companies use these buzzwords to describe the next generation of learning tools. We assume that granting learners access to education technology outside the classroom to be used on their own time is unequivocally positive.

Building Effective Edtech Business Models to Reach the Global Poor

Battushig Myanganbayar grew up in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. As a senior in high school he persuaded his parents to upgrade their internet speed so that he could stream online course videos from MIT. He managed to earn a perfect score in the edX Circuits and Electronics course and gain admittance to MIT. In 2013, he was heralded as “the boy genius of Ulan Bator” by the New York Times.

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Should Your Online Course Sound Like “Serial”?

Krista Tippett knows how to connect with audiences. She hosts a radio show that airs on more than 400 stations across the country. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in 2014. And her show “
On Being” consistently lands in the Top 100 on the iTunes podcast charts.

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