Coursera announced last month the launch of Specializations, sequenced courses designed to help students achieve deeper levels of mastery as well as the credentials to demonstrate that mastery.
At about $200 per sequence, Specializations also provides an alternative revenue stream for Coursera and its partners, which may be why the announcement featured in news outlets like Inc.com and Forbes.
I just signed up with Coursera a couple of weeks ago to take my first ever MOOC, a content strategy course offered through Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
If I opt in, and finish the six-week course, including a final assignment, I receive a Signature Track credential for about $40.
Departing from the more aspirational mission of “education for everyone” that sparked the MOOC revolution, Coursera’s new venture seems to appeal most to working people looking for a way to hone their knowledge and skills to compete more successfully in today’s job market.
And that’s great. If Coursera et al can deliver what folks need to make even a small difference in their lives and do it for a reasonable cost, I’m all in.
I still see MOOCs falling short of their potential. And a lot of that has to do with that tired and un-trendy word: pedagogy.
There is simply nothing terribly compelling about the MOOC I’m currently enrolled in. And I suspect that my experience in this MOOC is not unique.
Here’s what happens:
- I watch a video of people talking.
- A slide pops up telling me, in two sentences, what I just heard.
- I am presented with a “learning question” and I choose from two options: the right answer or the wrong answer.
- A short “Bring it Back to Work” summary of the topic emphasizes the lesson one more time.
- If I choose to, I can participate in threaded discussions, promoting comments, and threads I find valuable.