At Coursera, we want to help you get recognized for your achievements in online learning, whether it is earned in a degree program or in a single online course. For this reason, we launched Signature Track in January of this year, which gives students the opportunity to earn Verified Certificates in recognition of their hard work and successful completion of some of Coursera’s rigorous course offerings.
Today, Signature Track has reached a milestone 25,000 sign ups and $1 million in revenue, and in light of this, we’d like to share more about this program and the achievements of the students.
As a young start-up, we are humbled to have reached this milestone within nine months of launching Signature Track. More importantly, the success of the Signature Track program validates the potential for students to benefit from what is becoming a brand new currency for lifelong learning achievement. Signature Track has been sought out from students in the US, Brazil, China, India and all over the world, who have opted in to pursue a Verified Certificate. These Certificates are building a reputation as an accessible credential for adults to demonstrate their proficiency in a range of skills and disciplines.
So, what value does a Verified Certificate hold?
Verification: Signature Track is the first program of its kind on a MOOC platform that links your online coursework to your real identity. By matching your photo and creating a biometric profile of your unique typing patterns, Coursera lets you easily participate wherever you may be in the world.
Breadth: We’ve been thrilled to see the popularity of Verified Certificates across a diverse range of subjects. Some of our most popular Signature Track courses have been “Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python” from Rice University, “Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention” from UCSF, “Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence” from Case Western, and “Gamification” from University of Pennsylvania.
If your time at school or university went by too fast, Verified Certificates now open up the chance to continue to formally build your education throughout your lifetime. Use them to explore new career paths or to acquire the most up-to-date skills to help boost your qualifications.
Accessibility: The low barrier to entry and affordable cost of signing up for Signature Track allows anyone with an internet connection the opportunity to earn recognition for learning something new. Fully online courses can fit into even the busiest person’s schedule.
Students who are unable to pay for Signature Track can even apply for Financial Aid. So far, 2,500 people have submitted applications and been granted the opportunity to participate in Signature Track for no fee. For example, we granted Financial Aid to Mukhtar from Nigeria when he shared the following story with us - “My parents are getting old and kind of struggling to make a living, so they can’t afford to spend money to help me with my education. I hope my getting a certificate in this course can help me in my job search endeavor.” For Mukhtar and so many others all over the world who show incredible eagerness to learn and grow in spite of financial constraints, our Financial Aid program offers a bridge to gaining greater value out of a course on Coursera.
Motivation: Perhaps the most impressive statistic about Signature Track is that participants are substantially more likely than the average Coursera student to complete a course. While there is some element of self-selection, preliminary data indicates that enrollment in Signature Track is associated with higher rate of completion among students with equivalent levels of self-reported motivation.
So what are Coursera students doing with Verified Certificates? Over 70% of the students earning them already have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Many are interested in Verified Certificates to dive into a particular subject that is directly applicable to their careers or personal interests. One entrepreneur in the University of Pennsylvania’s Gamification course wrote, “The Verified Certificate boosts my credibility in my new role as CTO of a startup. We use gamification in our products for employee growth.” Another student shared that his Verified Certificate “shows my employer that I’ve been dedicating myself to personal growth.” Hundreds more students have shared that they are putting Verified Certificates on their resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles.
Students that choose not to sign up for Signature Track will always have the option to enroll for free and learn the complete course material. By developing Verified Certificates, our mission is to offer students the opportunity to make a greater commitment to their courses and to earn a credential that helps them reach their career and personal goals at all stages of life.