MOOCs to Compete with Traditional Colleges

The Kahn Academy has pioneered the use of online video tools in continuing education. Inspired by its example, a number of online programs are now available, offering alternative paths to certification to those who either do not want to go to a traditional brick-and-mortar college or who cannot afford to do so. With educational costs getting higher every year, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are trying to establish themselves as a source of credentials
that employers will accept.

These courses have been launched by a range of companies. Startups like Udacity are offering widely attended engineering courses, sometimes  partnering with Stanford University. Existing companies like Microsoft already have their own certification programs. The not-for-profit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has created a digital badge system for non-traditional learners to demonstrate new skill development. Traditional universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are getting into the act as well with MITx.

MITx and Udacity courses are free, but students still have to pay to take the certification tests. It will take time for these certifications to be as widely respected as traditional degrees. The reputation of these programs will rest on the quality of their graduates when they reach the workplace.

The Kahn Academy has pioneered the use of online video tools in continuing education. Inspired by its example, a number of online programs are now available, offering alternative paths to certification to those who either do not want to go to a traditional brick-and-mortar college or who cannot afford to do so. With educational costs getting higher every year, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are trying to establish themselves as a source of credentials
that employers will accept.

These courses have been launched by a range of companies. Startups like Udacity are offering widely attended engineering courses, sometimes  partnering with Stanford University. Existing companies like Microsoft already have their own certification programs. The not-for-profit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has created a digital badge system for non-traditional learners to demonstrate new skill development. Traditional universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are getting into the act as well with MITx.

MITx and Udacity courses are free, but students still have to pay to take the certification tests. It will take time for these certifications to be as widely respected as traditional degrees. The reputation of these programs will rest on the quality of their graduates when they reach the workplace.

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