Online education platform Coursera has partnered with universities from around the world to offer six news online degree programmes, including the four it already offers on its platform.
"We are realizing that the vast reach of MOOCs makes them a powerful gateway to degrees," said Coursera's CEO Jeff Maggioncalda. "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."
According to Georgetown Public Policy Institute, by the year 2020, it's estimated that 65 per cent of all the jobs will require post-secondary education and training. Also as universities become more expensive, making them unattainable for people, who can't leave their jobs to pursue education, universities are looking at flexible and affordable way to offer their programmes to more number of students.
Coursera and its university partners are working together to re-imagine degrees to meet the needs of a workforce that will increasingly require more ways to attain education throughout a career.
The new programs are expected to launch later this year or in 2019.
Most of the programmes are in new emerging fields of computer science, big data etc., such as Arizona State University's Master of Computer Science, Imperial College London's Global Master of Public Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Master of Computer Science, University of London's Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, University of Michigan's Master of Applied Data Science, University of Michigan's Master of Public Health.
Degrees through Coursera are more affordable compared to traditional options and can be completed entirely online without the need to move to a different country.
For online learning, Coursera has built out a technology integrations such as live video sessions with professors, Slack integration for communication with peers and mentors, and remotely proctored exams.
Coursera also has a short open online course that the students can take before committing to the degree programme, as it helps them decide whether to go on for a particular full degree or not.
"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 per cent of students who apply for degrees on Coursera first enrol in one of the open online courses from our university partners."
The University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign 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.