AI and VET: MOOC update

I have spent a little time this morning looking at who participated in the MOOC we ran November and December last year on Artifical Intelligence and Vocational Education and Training. The MOOC was part of the Taccle AI project, funded under the Erasmus+ programme, which has just come to an end.

There were 246 enrolled participants in the German speaking MOOC and 154 in the English language version.

As might be expected most of the participants in the German language MOOC were from German speaking countries. 204 were from Germany and 29 from Switzerland. There were three participants each from Spain, Serbia, and Italy and 2 each from Greece and China. Although many were from education, especially vocational education and training schools, there were also participants from universities, companies, job centres and local and national government organisations.

Participants in the English language MOOC were from far more diverse and from countries around the world: in total 46 different countries! These were Germany, Australia, Romania, India, Uganda, Spain, Greece, Poland, Belgium, UK, France, Ghana, Albania, Mexico, Pakistan, Namibia, Jordan, Italy, Columbia, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Ethiopia, Egypt, Qatar, China, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Portugal, Bangladesh, Guinea, Nigeria, United States, Malaysia, Switzerland, Netherlands, Ireland, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, New Zealand, Lithuania, Japan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka.

The MOOC is currently being translated in to Russian. If anyone else is interested in translating the MOOC or in reusing parts of it, just get in touch (I would be especially interested if anyone wanted to work with me in translating the contents to Spanish). Everything (r nearly everything, is under a Creative Commons license.

And if you missed out last year, we are planning to reopen the MOOC platform in February.

FutureLearn team up with Microsoft for online AI course

As many of you will know, FutureLearn is the UK Open Universities MOOC arm, run in conjunction with an international consortium of universities. But, I guess like everyone else, FutureLearn is under pressure to make some money. Their first go was offering paid for certificates for course completion. Another attempt has been to persuade people to sign up for an annual subscription, keeping courses open for a year if they pay.

The latest is to partner with industries for courses providing micro accreditation, in some cases industry recognised. So in December Future Learning is launching “Artificial Intelligence on Microsoft Azure: Machine Learning and Python Basics‘, created by CloudSwft and inc conjunction with Microsoft. “On this microcredential”, they say ” you’ll address this challenge by developing key AI skills that can serve as the first steps towards becoming an AI engineer, business analyst, or AI professional.” And, “Yes. If you successfully complete this microcredential, you’ll receive a voucher to sit a separate exam to earn the Microsoft Azure AI Fundamentals (AI-900) and Microsoft Azure AI Engineer Associate (AI-100) certification.”

Why would FutureLearn be giving away vouchers for sitting Microsoft exams. It could be because the 15 week course costs 584 Euros to enroll.  Much as I like microcredentially, this seems a long way from FutureLearn’s past MOOCs free for participation. And if as the course information claims, “artificial intelligence skills are frequently listed among the most in-demand workplace skills in the current and future job market, as organisations seek to harness AI to revolutionise their operations” and “employers are faced with a shortfall of qualified candidates” surely this is an area where public education and trainings services should be providing online course, rather than restricting access to those who can afford to pay for learning new skills.


European Union, AI and data strategy

geralt (CC0), Pixabay Miapetra Kumpula-Natri is the rapporteur for the industry committe for European Parliament’s own-initiative  on data strategy and  a standing rapporteur on the World Trade Organization e-commerce negotiations in the European Parliament’s international trade committee. Writing in Social…