edX: Programming language Scratch isn’t just for kids anymore

Scratch is a programming language built to help children learn basic programming skills. But now edX, the MOOC (for Massive Open Online Course) backed by top colleges including MIT, Harvard and Caltech, will offer a free Scratch course for anyone “regardless of age or digital skill.”

Registration is open now for Programming in Scratch” which kicks off February 2. The course will be taught by Colleen Lewis, professor of computer science at Harvey Mudd College, a tech powerhouse and another edX partner school.

Scratch seems to be gaining momentum as a vehicle for teaching kids to create their own animations and computer cames — MIT Media Lab offers an iPad app for that purpose, for example.

This story was updated at 10:09 a.m. PST to reflect that enrollment is now open.

Stanford class on mining massive datasets is now on Coursera

“Mining Massive Datasets,” a Stanford course taught by a trio of instructors including Kosmix and Junglee founder, and former Amazon technology director, Anand Rajaraman, will be available on Coursera beginning Sept. 29. In a blog post, Rajaraman said the online version will include the same content as the Stanford one, and will introduce students to core big data algorithms and concepts, such as MapReduce, graph processing and recommendation systems. Coursera is already home to a number of popular big data courses and well-known instructors, most famously Andrew Ng’s machine learning course.

Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng to head up Baidu’s AI team

Coursera co-founder and Stanford researcher Andrew Ng is leaving his day-to-day role at Coursera and joining Chinese search engine provider Baidu as its chief scientist. Ng is among a handful of high-profile artificial intelligence researcher to be hired by web companies int he past year.

Better data means better education, online and in the lecture hall

Collecting student data digitally isn’t solely something for massive open online courses. Even university professors and their students can benefit from transforming the lecture experience into one designed to go anywhere and collect data all along the way.

Harvard and MIT make a compelling case for MOOCs

A new study of data from massive open online courses offered by Harvard and MIT professors paints a different — and welcome — picture of the state of online education. Completition rates might be low, the authors argue, but that’s a misleading stat.