MOOCs – a look back at the key stories of 2016 By Carolyn McIntyre, CEO & Founder of MoocLab.club It’s hard to believe that we are already nearly at the end of another year, and as the curtain closes on 2016, I’m sure you, like me, are wondering what excitements the New Year holds for us. But this is also a time for reflecting on the events, accomplishments and milestones of the last 12 months. And it’s been quite a year in MOOC World with significant changes, new introductions and milestones over this past year, so let’s take a few minutes to look back on the key MOOC moments of 2016. See transcript below January January 2016 – MoocLab unveils the first League Tables of Online Course Providers, showcasing the best Online Course Providers to help students interested in online education compare platforms offering both academic and skill-based online courses. January 2016 – Udacity launches the Nanodegree Plus program offering graduates a job guarantee within 6 months of graduating. January 2016 – Coursera introduces paid grading: learners have to pay a fee to have their assignments graded, a service which was previously free. January 2016 – The Economist Launches Online Course Platform Learning.ly offering free and low-cost online professional development courses curated by the staff of The Economist and taught by experts from different fields. February February 2016 – FutureLearn reaches 3 million learners just over two years since the MOOC platform began running their first courses March March 2016 - The University of Illinois partners with Coursera to launch the first fully-accredited MOOC-based professional Master of Computer Science in Data Science costing $19,200 for the complete 32 hour degree. March 2016 - A New York court case saw a young defendant on trial for drug related offences avoiding jail by being ordered to complete free online business courses on ALISON - an online learning platform based in Galway, Ireland, that provides free certified courses in workplace skills. April April 2016 – OpenClassrooms, a French MOOC platform that specialises in teaching people how to code, announces its plan to bridge the tech skills gap in the UK. April 2016 – Udacity announces its entry into China, hoping to tap into the rising demands for talent among the country's tech companies by making all its courses available to Chinese learners via a new Chinese-language website. April 2016 – A consortium of Italian universities launch EduOpen, a new Italian government-funded MOOC provider involving 17 universities aiming to become THE Italian MOOC platform, but also to be open to other EU and worldwide experiences. May May 2016 – UK-based MOOC platform FutureLearn launches “FutureLearn Programs” allowing learners to gain degree course credit, professional qualifications and CPD accreditation through MOOCs. May 2016 – Alison, a free online course provider that specializes in workplace skills, reaches a milestone of 1 million learners in India. June June 2016 – Launch of Kadenze, a low-cost MOOC platform focusing on creative arts courses. June 2016 – Coursera begins piloting a selection of paid-only courses in which all content is available only to learners who have purchased the course. June 2016 - The University of Michigan hosts the first online live MOOC graduation ceremony for graduates of its Python Specialization program on Coursera. July July 2016 – Coursera launch a new technology platform allowing them to run more courses more frequently with a new “on-demand” course format. July 2016 – Microsoft announces the launch of a Microsoft Professional Degree (MPD) program - a course pathway in data science through EdX covering the requisite core skills. July 2016 – UK-based MOOC platform, FutureLearn, exceeds 4 million learners with close to 400 courses, making it the world’s third biggest MOOC platform. August August 2016 - German online education platform iversity is saved from bankruptcy after securing new investment from Holtzbrinck Digital, the Internet investment arm of the education-focused Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. August 2016 – Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller announces her departure from the MOOC platform to take on the role of Chief Computing Officer with Calico, an Alphabet company focused on understanding the process of aging and on developing interventions that enable people to live longer, healthier lives. August 2016 – The Indian Government launches SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) – an Indian government-run MOOC platform. August 2016 – The Open University Business School (OUBS) is the first business school in Europe to offer credits for its courses through MOOCs on the FutureLearn social learning platform. The courses give learners the opportunity to earn 30 credits towards a BA Business Studies or 15 credits towards an MBA. August 2016 – Coursera launches “Coursera for Business”, an enterprise platform for workforce development geared to help leading companies around the world address the rapidly evolving training and development needs of their employees. September September 2016 - Coursera starts advertising its professional development courses on US TV networks. September 2016 - EdX and Top Universities Launch MicroMasters Programs: New Master’s-level credentials to advance careers in the most in-demand fields. September 2016 –Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers the first instructor graded essays in their MOOC, “Introduction to Philosophy: God, Knowledge and Consciousness” on the edX platform. October October 2016 – Australian MOOC platform, OpenLearning, launches Learn.com.au, a new online education platform created in collaboration with Hunter TAFE which allows you to learn for free and only pay if you want to gain an Australian accredited qualification through their partners. October 2016 – Microsoft in collaboration with edX member universities opens new professional learning courses to help school leaders enhance classroom learning and outcomes. November November 2016 - Coursera introduces a subscription-based payment model for their Specialization programs which means learners are required to purchase access to all content in a Specialization on a month-by-month or annual basis, rather than paying a set amount per Specialization. November 2016 - Udacity launches a new homepage and starts airing TV adverts promoting their new Nanodegrees with a focus on “Jobs for tomorrow”. November 2016 – European edtech platform, OpenClassrooms, launches “the first internationally accredited completely-online bachelor’s degree”. The online path will allow students to get a bachelor’s degree in Frontend Web Development in as little as 12 months, with one-to-one support of mentors via videochat. November 2016 – The University of Oxford announces the upcoming launch of its first MOOC, “From Poverty to Prosperity: Understanding Economic Development” due to start in February 2017. November 2016 – Udacity introduces Udacity Blitz, a service directly connecting companies with top Nanodegree program alumni who develop and fully manage custom software projects. November 2016 - FutureLearn reaches 5 million registered learners having just reached its 3rd birthday. December December 2016 - MOOC aggregator site Class Central announce their 5th birthday and becoming the “the most popular search engine for online courses and MOOCs”. December 2016 - Microsoft releases 6 free Azure training courses: MOOCs designed to help partners respond to the surging demand for IT professionals with the right technical skills to capitalize on the cloud opportunity. December 2016 - Udacity announces 10,000 new Android developer scholarships specifically for EU residents who want to become Android developers and funded by Google. December 2016 - Futurelearn partners with Deakin University to offer a range of fully online postgraduate degrees. You can keep up to date with all the latest MOOC events and stories with MoocLab’s live Web Feeds featuring posts streamed live from all the top MOOC Blogs across the Web.