By Steve Kolowich
Can taking a MOOC help a student land a better job? Proponents of the massive open online courses hope so. Each of the major MOOC providers—Coursera, edX, and Udacity—has expressed interest in helping connect employers to well-qualified job applicants who succeed in their online courses. But now, after a failed experiment, edX says it is giving up on job-placement services.
That was among several developments described last month to members of edX’s consortium in a private meeting during which a possible expansion of the group and of the edX business model were also discussed. The Chronicle obtained slides from the presentation from a non-edX source.
In a pilot job-placement program, edX recruited 868 high-performing students from two computer-science MOOCs at the University of California at Berkeley. Based on their apparent strengths, edX tried matching them to a handful of technology companies, including Google, Amazon, and SAP. The vast majority of the students were from outside the United States, and many were working professionals.
But it didn’t pan out. Of those 868 students, only three landed job interviews. None was hired. The results of the pilot, which ran about a year ago, were not publicized, but some details were presented at the members’ meeting last month.
The MOOC provider has a number of theories about why the experiment went so poorly. One is that human-resources departments at the companies still look for traditional college experience when vetting job candidates.
“Existing HR departments want to go for traditional degree programs and filter out nontraditional candidates,” reads one slide from the presentation. Anant Agarwal, edX’s president, said in an interview on Friday that the companies already had many of the successful MOOC students in their recruitment databases.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/edx-drops-plans-to-connect-mooc-students-with-employers/48987 ]