The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Matching Online Courses to Real Skills

Some critics have blasted colleges and universities for failing to ensure students are taking subjects that prepare them adequately for jobs after graduation. Coursera has kicked off a new program intended to align college coursework with the skills needed by major companies around the world.

Dubbed the Global Skills Initiative, the program pairs Microsoft, Cisco, UBS, Qualcomm, BNY Mellon, and Splunk with one of the 120 schools that provide online courses through Coursera. Together they will develop online course content specifically designed for each corporate partner’s field of specialty.

“The Global Skills Initiative brings together the knowledge of industry leaders and the world-class teaching and academic research of top universities to create highly applicable curricular material,” said Coursera CEO Rick Levin in a press release. Some of the partner companies may also use the collaborations to create internal training programs for existing staff.

The schools and companies will identify specific skill sets, especially those in high demand. The university creates the course, with funding from the corporation, which also furnishes industry expertise in the form of case studies, applied projects, and guest lectures. For example, Qualcomm is working with the University of California, San Diego, on course content related to the “Internet of things,” a concept focused on building computerized connectivity into ordinary objects such as household appliances.

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