By Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO Coursera
The profound impact of COVID-19 has forced us to rethink many aspects of our lives. Overnight, the global education system had to find ways to mitigate the impact of more than 1.5 billion students seeing their campuses closed. Since then, it has been heartwarming to witness the heroic efforts of institutions around the world to restore teaching and learning using technology, innovation, and collaboration. We are also grateful for the global response to our Coronavirus Response Initiative that has enabled nearly 2,700 colleges and universities around the world to minimize student disruption using Coursera for Campus.
Over the past few weeks, our partner community has had a lot to deal with. Yet, their unwavering commitment to launch high-quality content — particularly at a time when learners around the world are relying on online learning to continue their progress — inspires us all. Today, we are excited to announce two new degrees, eight MasterTrack™ Certificates, 100 guided projects, and a number of new product innovations to support learners and partners during this time and beyond.
New online degrees from top universities
We continue to expand our offering of top-tier degrees to serve learners with the most transformative credential for career mobility. At a time of economic uncertainty and social distancing, learners will find tremendous value in high-quality, affordable degrees from top institutions delivered fully online. The two new online programs are:
- Master of Science in Population and Health Sciences from the University of Michigan — This public health degree from the No.1 public research university in the US will enable students from around the world to research today’s toughest public health challenges while mastering concepts like data analysis and epidemiological methods through a multidisciplinary curriculum. Applications for the fall 2020 cohort will open at the end of April.
“Now more than ever we need population health scientists, and our new online Master of Science degree will help us reach and educate passionate learners across the globe.”– Sharon L.R. Kardia, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Education and Director of Online Programs at the University of Michigan
- Master of Data Analytics Intelligence* from Universidad de los Andes (Uniandes) — Designed for non-STEM professionals with basic programming knowledge, this Spanish-language degree will train students to become data-driven leaders and decision makers. The curriculum will offer a blend of mathematical modeling, organizational management, and IT. The first cohort is expected to launch by August 2021.
“The current pandemic proves how important meaningful data is in today’s interconnected world. This degree will provide students with the analytical methods and tools needed to interpret large amounts of data to make informed decisions on time.”– Alfonso Reyes, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Uniandes.
New MasterTrack™ Certificates provide a pathway to a full degree
For learners who may not be able to commit to a full degree program, especially during this challenging time, MasterTrack™ Certificates on Coursera split Master’s programs into modules so learners can affordably earn a university-issued career credential online within a few months. If a learner is accepted to the full Master’s program, this certificate and accompanying credits typically count toward their degree. Today, we’re announcing eight new MasterTrack™ Certificates from top universities, doubling our portfolio of MasterTracks on the platform:
- AI and Machine Learning from Arizona State University — Learners will build foundational AI skills including statistical machine learning, deep learning, and supervised and unsupervised learning to advance their career in the field.
- Cybersecurity from Arizona State University — This program will focus on essential skills in cybersecurity through the lens of cryptography, software security, network security, and more.
- Software Engineering from Arizona State University — Learners will work on real-world projects to apply skills in software development, engineering, computing, and project leadership.
The three MasterTrack™ Certificates above will provide students with ASU credits and can be used toward ASU’s online Master of Computer Science degree if accepted to the program.
- Blockchain Applications from Duke University — Learners will explore how blockchain is revolutionizing financial transactions and develop their own practical applications. Completers of this MasterTrack™ Certificate will be able to accelerate their application to Duke’s Master of Engineering in Financial Technology and will be eligible for a degree scholarship if accepted to the full degree program.
- Principles of Agile and Automated Software Engineering from Uniandes — This Spanish-language MasterTrack™ Certificate program will focus on agile software development, workflows, software architecture and design, automated testing, and continuous integration. The program will serve as a pathway to Uniandes’s fully online Master of Software Engineering.
- Social Work: Practice, Policy, and Research from the University of Michigan — Learners will explore fundamental concepts of social work and social justice through an advanced series of courses from the No. 1 ranked school of social work in the US. This MasterTrack™ Certificate will serve as a pathway to the University of Michigan’s Master of Social Work.
- Sustainability and Development from University of Michigan — This program will address sustainability and development challenges and empower learners to develop solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental problems. This MasterTrack™ Certificate will serve as a pathway to the University of Michigan’s Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability.
- UX Design from University of Minnesota — Learners will master the art and science of conducting, implementing, and evaluating user experience design and research. This MasterTrack™ Certificate will serve as a pathway to the on-campus Human Factors and Ergonomics Graduate Program and the Graphic Design Graduate Track at the University of Minnesota.
Guided projects offer hands-on learning opportunities
As the pandemic continues to disrupt on-campus education, students and institutions have been forced to quickly move online. This lack of face-to-face instruction and limited or no access to on-campus labs has resulted in an even more immediate need for hands-on learning in an online environment. Research shows that project-based learning can help learners develop contextually relevant skills, and guided instruction can mimic one-to-one tutoring sessions.
We’re launching 100 new guided projects that enable learners to gain job-relevant skills in less than two hours without requiring any software installation. A side-by-side interface allows learners to watch visual instructions on one side of the screen while following along on the other side of the screen. Learners can practice high-demand skills with data science tools like TensorFlow, scikit-learn, Plotly, and more. As we continue to build our portfolio, we plan to add guided projects in areas like computer science, business, and personal development. Global companies like Novartis and academic institutions like Manipal Education are already using guided projects to help their learners develop skills of the future.
Platform innovations to serve our learners and educators
We’ve seen an unprecedented demand on our platform from learners across the globe — enrollments from learners new to Coursera are up 15x when comparing the past 30 days with the same period one year ago. We are accelerating our platform innovations to serve rapidly evolving learner and educator needs, and are excited to announce a number of new tools and features. Most notably, learners can now develop and track new skills with features like goal setting, smart review material, and skill tracking.
Similarly, we are rolling out a number of new tools to help instructors swiftly create and manage content on our platform. Live2Coursera enables instructors to integrate Zoom lecture recordings into private or open courses as they ramp up efforts to produce online content. Our Coronavirus Response Initiative provides impacted universities with free access to our course catalog through Coursera for Campus, but finding the most relevant online courses was still a manual process for faculty and staff. Last week, we launched CourseMatch: a machine learning solution that automatically matches a university’s on-campus courses to courses in our catalog, helping universities go online faster. To enable grading at scale as more instructors teach online, our machine-assisted peer review solution, which will be released later in 2020, uses a machine learning model to automatically assess peer review submissions.
Learn more about our product innovation efforts in a post by Shravan Goli, our Chief Product Officer.
As education and learning move more rapidly online, it’s more important than ever to continue serving learners with high-impact content and a superior platform experience. We’re honored to work alongside our partners to be a valuable resource for learners and institutions everywhere during this tough time.
* The online Master of Data Analytics Intelligence from Universidad de los Andes is subject to approval from the Colombian Ministry of Education8