Certification options from Coursera and the California Community Colleges
MOOCs are often used for vocational training rather than a traditional college degree and Coursera has launched six "Coursera Specializations" for vocational training.
A Coursera Specialization requires completion of a group of related courses followed by a capstone project. A Specializations consists of several online courses, developed at universities, leading up to a real capstone project/case study developed by a company in the relevant industry.
For example, the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and Instagram have collaborated on an interaction design Specialization. UCSD will provide six MOOC-format courses and the capstone project will come from Instagram.
Students can still take the courses for free, but they will not receive a certification of completion and will not be allowed to do the capstone project. Students wishing to complete the capstone and receive a certificate of completion will pay a tuition of $343.
|A sample Specialization completion certificate|
Another approach to vocational education is being taken by the California Community Colleges, which are proposing fifteen vocationally-oriented bachelors degrees. For comparison with Coursera, consider this proposal for an interaction design degree from Santa Monica College (SMC).
|The SMC interaction design curriculum|
The SMC program would take longer to complete and would cost more in terms of tuition and opportunity cost, but it covers more ground and is taught face-to-face.
These are interesting, innovative times for vocational education. Hiring practices and societal values will eventually determine the winners, but for now, how would you advise a young person who wanted to become an interaction designer?