Sunday, March 8, 2015

MOOCs certifications are going cuckoo?

By Ramón Talavera Franco
When MOOCs started the only certification users received was a certificate of participation. Probably the low completion rate of the thousand of students registered in a MOOC encouraged MOOC providers to issue a more valued credential to motivate people to finish the courses. Hence, they started to issue certificates of completion, and shortly after, MOOC providers decided to create stronger certifications focused on the needs of the job market. Some examples are:

1) Nanodegrees from Udacity. In one of my previous blogs, I explained:

Nanodegree is a new job-focused credential that Udacity––in partnership with AT&T––will offer starting fall 2014. The first nanodegrees are focused on gaining entry-level software skills. The courses will be completed in 6-12 months and it is expected that students invest 10 hours per week. The cost is $200.00 US per month.

2) Honor code certificates, verified certificates, and XSeries certificates from edX. According to edX website:

An Honor Code Certificate of Achievement certifies that you have successfully completed a course, but does not verify your identity. Honor Code certificates are currently free.

An edX verified certificate shows that you have successfully completed your edX course and verifies your identity through your photo and ID. Verified certificates are available for a fee that varies by course.

Some schools offer an XSeries Certificate when you complete and pass a series of courses in a specific subject. The requirements vary for each institution, but generally you must take and pass a series of courses as outlined by the school and receive a Certificate of Achievement in those courses. For example, you can earn an Aerodynamics XSeries Certificate from MITx once you successfully complete 16.101x Introduction to Aerodynamics and 16.110x Flight Vehicle Aerodynamics.

3) Itinerary, from UNIMOOC (totally in Spanish and focused in entrepreneurship)

This certificate is in partnership with UNESCO and Lanzadera. To get this certification students have to study specific units from different courses rather than taking one course only. Once they gain the knowledge from those units they get an “Itinerary accreditation” that is recognized by UNESCO and Lanzadera,

4) Specialization Certificates and“Microdegrees” from Coursera. According to Coursera’s webpage:

A Specialization Certificate is an electronic document issued by the participating school and Coursera that demonstrates you’ve successfully completed a group of related courses (plus a Capstone Project) in a specific subject.

Specializations help you master new skills with the best of university teaching and the real-time market perspective of top industry partners such as Google and Instagram.

To make MOOCs even more attractive, MOOC providers such as edX and Coursera partnered with Linkedin to facilitate people to upload their certificates in their Linkedin profile. By doing this, it is expected to help companies identify the right candidates for a job opening according to the skills gained through a MOOC. Despite that this is a good strategy to link future employees’ knowledge and skills with job opportunities, not many people have uploaded their certificates--maybe because they ignore that they can do it.

MOOC providers know that the boom for this new educational approach is still to come. Therefore, they know that they need to issue credentials, strong credentials to encourage students to take their courses and to gain respect in the job market . In the mean time, the list of new credentials seems to fit job market’s specific needs. As MOOC providers expand, there is not doubt that they will need to develop their own credentials to attract users. Is this the beginning of a bunch of disconnected certificates or the raising of a new MOOC certification model?

1 comment:

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