More Competition for Online Certificate Students

Carl Straumsheim, Ignatia Webs, Jan 22, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Original title (before being probizwashed(*)): "After failed talks academic partnerships and coursera both introduce online course [specializations]". Notwithstanding the messy way in which these were created (there's no honour among education providers) the concept of the 'specialization' is interesting and could pose a longer-term challenge to the traditional form of credential. "In Academic Partnerships' idea of Specializations, students can earn a Specialization over nine months by collecting three certificates, each of which is awarded to the student for taking three one-month courses." Basically, we're in an alternative credentialing land rush. Most colleges and universities don't even realize this is happening. When they next look at the landscape, they will find that their unique value proposition has disappeared. (*) New word invented here: 'probizwashed' - story or headline that reflects badly on business ethics rewritten to describe the same practice as extolling the virtues of competition and capitalism.

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