More Competition For Online Certificate Students

Career College Central summary:

  • An online course provider will this spring introduce bundles of courses created by top-tier universities that can be completed for certificates. That description fits both Academic Partnerships and Coursera, and both programs are called “Specializations."
  • The similarities are more than mere coincidence, as? the two companies have since last summer discussed a partnership proposed by Academic Partnerships for its platform to use Coursera's university course offerings. Yet Coursera's Specializations, announced Tuesday morning, took Academic Partnerships CEO Randy Best by surprise. When the parties spoke last week, Best said Coursera “expressed that they were going to defer for now the idea of Specializations."
  • Academic Partnerships, which helps institutions take their degree programs online, had intended to announce its own Specializations after the Globalization of Higher Education conference in March, after spending 18 months and $20 million to lay the groundwork. Instead, Best learned of Coursera's announcement from a source at 1:50 a.m. Tuesday morning. The news spurred Academic Partnerships to issue a news release Tuesday afternoon, unveiling its Specializations two months earlier than planned.
  • Coursera's co-founder, Daphne Koller, on Tuesday confirmed that the talks with Academic Partnerships took place but stalled. While the partnership has stalled, each company will proceed with its own version of Specializations. For Coursera, that means continuing education, aimed at English speakers, that awards certificates meant to complement postsecondary degrees; for Academic Partnerships, a chance for universities to translate their content for students who don't speak English and reach a global market of students.

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