Friday, April 22, 2016

'Stackable' Credential Options Rise in Online Education - Jordan Friedman, US News

In some programs, learners can earn several smaller credentials for an immediate career boost and build their way up to a degree. "Employers are showing trends of paying more attention to those levels of education and completion," says Deborah Seymour, chief academic innovation officer at the American Council on Education​, an organization representing more than 1,700 college and university presidents, in reference to microcredentials. Seymour says the trend of stackable credentials is still in its early stages, especially in online education, but believes it will continue to catch on and remain an option for online learners in the future. The University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign, in collaboration with the MOOC provider Coursera, recently launched a stackable online MOOC-based Master of Computer Science in Data Science program. Students can, for instance, first earn a MOOC specialization ​certificate in data mining or cloud computing, and then choose whether to go on to finish the full master's degree. Overall, the degree costs​ less than $20,000.

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