Coursera, the online education platforms, announced the development of six new online degrees with top universities around the world that will bring the number of programs offered on its platform to ten. Coursera and its university partners are working together to reimagine degrees to meet the needs of a workforce that will increasingly require more ways to attain education throughout a career.
By the year 2020, it’s estimated that 65% of all jobs will require postsecondary education and training according to the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. At the same time, the cost of degrees has skyrocketed, making them even more unattainable for people who cannot afford to leave the workforce to pursue a degree. As a result, some leading universities are looking for new flexible and affordable ways to offer their degrees.
“We are realizing that the vast reach of MOOCs makes them a powerful gateway to degrees,” said Jeff Maggioncalda, Coursera’s CEO. “We are working with our university partners to build degrees on top of our open online learning platform that are high quality, modular, affordable, and scalable.”
The new programs — all expected to launch later this year or in 2019* — are as follows in alphabetical order:
- Arizona State University’s Master of Computer Science, open for applications now, will help students build mastery in career relevant fields like machine learning, cyber security, and big data. ASU has been ranked the #1 school for Innovation over the last three years by US News & World Report.
- Imperial College London’s Global Master of Public Health will offer aspiring and advancing practitioners and clinicians a comprehensive grounding in the field of public health, with a focus on topics such as epidemiology, global health challenges, and the role of innovation in health improvement. It will include a supervised research or applied practice project in global public health. Imperial College London is ranked the #8 university in the world by QS World University Rankings.
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Master of Computer Science, ranked #5 by US News & World Report, will expand on the success of the Illinois Master of Computer Science in Data Science on Coursera, adding the full force of the Illinois Computer Science department’s expertise in areas such as software engineering, parallel computing, and high performance computing.
- University of London’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science will be the first ever undergraduate degree offered on Coursera. Drawing from more than 150 years of experience in distance learning, University of London and its member institution Goldsmiths, University of London will give students online support from tutors and course leaders as they develop core programming skills through creative, design-based projects featuring cutting-edge topics like machine learning, virtual reality, and game development.
- University of Michigan’s Master of Applied Data Science will be an applied program developed by world-class faculty to enable people from a wide range of backgrounds to capitalize on today’s data revolution. Offered by the School of Information — ranked #1 in Information Systems by US News & World Report — this degree will empower people with skills in programming, statistics, information visualization, and machine learning. The University of Michigan was a founding partner of Coursera in 2012.
- University of Michigan’s Master of Public Health, from the #4 school of public health in the nation according to US News & World Report, will provide learners with the skills to analyze, communicate, and lay the groundwork for a healthier tomorrow. Michigan’s program emphasizes application of research methods and public health principles to improve population health. Top faculty will offer accredited training in a variety of public health disciplines for deep foundational understanding. Learners will have the opportunity to select from a wide range of specializations including population health, program planning and evaluation, health analytics, genomics and precision health.
Degrees through Coursera are more affordable compared to traditional options and can be completed entirely online. Coursera has built out a robust platform of features and technology integrations to create a highly engaging learning experience including live video sessions with professors, Slack integration for communication with peers and mentors, and remotely proctored exams. Over 70 percent of degree students use Coursera’s mobile app to do everything from watching lecture videos to submitting assignments. Unlike other online degree platforms, all degrees on Coursera are made up in part by open online courses that result in certificates demonstrating mastery in a particular job skill.
“We need to design degrees that provide modular credentials to students at all stages of the learning process,” said Nikhil Sinha, Chief Content Officer of Coursera. “Over 50% of students who apply for degrees on Coursera first enroll in one of the open online courses from our university partners. They love that they can explore the open courses first and then decide whether to go on to get a full degree while earning valuable credentials along the way.”
The University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, which announced its Master of Computer Science today, already offers three degrees on Coursera: a Master of Computer Science in Data Science, a Master of Science in Accountancy, and a Master of Business Administration that had its first class graduate in December 2017. HEC Paris also launched the Online Master’s in Innovation and Entrepreneurship on Coursera last year.
“I’ve wanted to get my MBA, but doing it the traditional way just wasn’t possible,” said Cheryl Schaefer, a student in the University of Illinois MBA on Coursera. “My experience has been hands down phenomenal. The quality of education has been without comparison.”