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Ivy League Schools Offering Free Online Courses

Back to school isn't just for kids. With professors from Ivy League universities like Stanford, M.I.T. and Harvard offering online classes for free, millions of people from around the world are taking advantage of them.
Back to school isn't just for kids. With professors from Ivy League universities like Stanford, M.I.T. and Harvard offering online classes for free, millions of people from around the world are taking advantage of these Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOC's.

But when a class can have tens of thousands of students, the completion and success rate can be low.   One education site hopes to change that with some team spirit.
 
Clint Korver has been teaching entrepreneurship at Stanford University for four years, but now thanks to the web, his classes aren't confined to one room and they can enroll 17,000 students or more.
"I've got students from all around the world," Korver points out.
 
Korver is part of a growing number of professors at respected universities teaching massive open online courses, or MOOCs, which students can take on the internet, often for free.

"So a lot of online education you're seeing the video of the professor, you're taking multiple choice tests…. That's the most boring parts of the educational experience," Korver believes.
 
So Korver decided to work with Novo-Ed, an online education platform that emphasizes student collaboration and teamwork.

Amin Saberi, Novo-Ed's co-founder and CEO, says that's the key to student success.
"If you look at Massive Open Online Courses, the completion rate is typically low, in single digits," says Saberi. "On NovoEd, the completion rates are significantly higher, typically two times or three times the normal."
 
Students select their courses, watch recorded classes and team up on group projects
 
Stanford has spawned several other MOOC providers that have attracted millions of users, including the popular Coursera and Udacity.
 
But these courses haven't always made the grade.  San Jose State University suspended its collaboration with Udacity after more than half the students failed the online classes.
 
"Democratizing access is not equivalent to democratizing success," Saberi says.
 
That's something Novo-Ed hopes to change with its team spirit approach.

For their team projects, students can meet in person, use email or collaborate on Skype or Google hangouts. Their work is graded by a computer, fellow students or a teaching team.

Once they complete the class, students receive certificates that can added to their resumes and online profiles.


(Sumi Das, CNET.com for CBS News)

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