Rice to offer professional education courses for a fee on typically free MOOC platform

rice-edx-educationThanks to universities looking to diversify [and monetize] their online offerings, edX is starting to host for-credit, for-a-fee, and job market-targeted courses to recent graduates.

One of the first institutions to embark on this new level of course on edX, Rice University will offer three professional education courses in conjunction with the online education provider.

Subjects will include energy sustainability, laboratory safety and health care in the digital environment, and the courses will begin in 2015 or 2016.

Unlike free massive open online courses (MOOCs), participants will pay a fee to take these courses, build their professional knowledge and skills and earn certificates and/or continuing education credits. The courses are intended for recent graduates entering the workforce and current professionals seeking to advance their careers or transition into a new field.

“We realize that keeping up with continuing education can be a significant challenge for many professionals in the working world, and we hope that the convenience of our high-quality professional education courses will help meet the needs of people around the globe,” said Caroline Levander, vice president for strategic initiatives and digital education.

“We have initially focused on the needs of those working in the energy and health care sectors because these areas are so significant to Houston and real strengths at Rice,” Levander continued. “We look forward to growing our portfolio of professional education courses in the coming months.”

(Next page: A glimpse of what the courses will look like)

Basics of Energy Sustainability will explore the fundamentals of energy sustainability through the techno/economic frameworks and global markets to provide a comprehensive foundation for strategic business decisions. Topics will include the availability of a secure supply of energy, the affordable and competitive cost of energy and environmental responsibility in the production and consumption of energy. The course will begin in April 2015. The fee is is $495 and includes a RiceX professional education certificate.

LabSafety.1x will use an interactive online game called “Don’t Endanger the Owls” to reinforce the key concepts of safe laboratory practices in academic laboratories where hazardous materials are used. The module will help identify key areas that students need to work on and help them improve. It is intended to be a supplemental resource to help bolster laboratory safety training. The course will begin in May 2016. The cost for the gaming module is $49 per user. Rice is pursuing professional education credit for completion of this course.

Medicine in the Digital Age is designed to prepare leaders in health care and allied industries to accelerate digital innovation in their organizations and adapt to the unprecedented changes happening with the advancement of information and technology. Among the topics that will be addressed are the role of social media in health care communication, the uses of wearable technologies, the potential for big data to reshape health behaviors, the ethics of personalized medicine and the impact of these new developments on the doctor-patient relationship. Baylor College of Medicine will collaborate with Rice on this course, which Rice explains is thought to be the first of its kind to be offered between a major university and a U.S. medical school. The course will begin in May 2015. The fee is is $495 and includes a RiceX professional education certificate.

More courses will be added to Rice’s professional education portfolio in the coming year.

Rice became a member of edX in February 2013. In addition to offering free MOOCs on the edX platform, Rice recently added Advanced Placement MOOCs as part of the edX high school initiative to better prepare high school students for college.

To view Rice’s course offerings on edX, go to https://www.edx.org/school/ricex.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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eCampus News staff and wire reports

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