By Steve Kolowich
Coursera will soon offer credentials for more than just individual MOOCs. The company, which provides hosting and support for massive open online courses, announced on Tuesday that it planned to give certificates to students who take sequences of MOOCs from its university partners.
“You might think of it as a real-world ‘major’ with immediate applications to career advancement and life skills,” the company said in a blog post.
The new program, called Specializations, will include certificates in data science, mobile-app development, and cybersecurity. Each sequence will comprise three to nine MOOCs, plus a capstone project in which students will be asked to apply their skills, by building an app, coding a secure web page, or producing a 5,000-word essay.
Two sequences, each comprising three MOOCs, are now open for enrollment: one on building apps for the Android operating system, from Vanderbilt University and the University of Maryland at College Park, and one on reasoning and data analysis, from Duke University. Eight other certificate-bearing MOOC sequences will become available “over the next few months,” according to Coursera.
With MOOCs having made almost no impact on traditional degree programs, the ability of providers such as Coursera to help people use higher education in their careers could depend on whether the providers can develop alternative credentials that become legitimate currency in the job market.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/coursera-will-offer-certificates-for-sequences-of-moocs/49581 ]