In a previous blog post about Coursera we covered the rapid increase in enrollments online MOOCs have been receiving. The model of cheap or free education for everyone paired with top quality course content has driven knowledge hungry students from all backgrounds into this space.
One of the main issues still remains though. How do you create a long-term business strategy that provides return on investment when your primary model is that the course content remains free? This is a good time to mention Coursera and Udacity have managed to raise millions of dollars in venture capital.
Coursera announced on Tuesday that they would now offer students the opportunity to receive verified certificates of completion for taking their courses. This is a step towards allowing students to get credit for taking courses, and also opens up an additional revenue stream for Coursera. Don’t be surprised to see other MOOCs follow in these footsteps
The certificates will range in cost from $30-100 and will be issued through Coursera’s “Signature Track” program.
Signature Track offers:
• Identity Verification. Create a special profile to link your coursework to your real identity using your photo ID and unique typing pattern.
• Verified Certificates. Earn official recognition from Universities and Coursera for your accomplishment with a verifiable electronic certificate.
• Certifiable Course Records. Share your electronic course records with employers, educational institutions, or anyone else through a unique, secure URL.
With approximately 70,000 new students each week, if even a small number elect to pay $30-100 for a certificate Coursera stands to benefit. Whether students elect to pay these fees will likely come down to economic factors for each student and how much the student values being able to transfer their “credit” for taking the course. There’s already talk of large companies using MOOCs as a recruiting pool and tapping into the best and brightest students for a fee. We expect to see MOOCs turn into a hiring and recruiting funnel for large companies seeking talented employees. Being able to prove and transfer your credit for these courses will be invaluable for future job seekers or current employees looking to capitalize on professional development.
While we at MyLearnigID think that giving the students the opportunity to receive “identity verified” certificates is great, we feel this can easily be faked. Keystrokes can change from laptop to desktop to ergonomic keyboard and simply providing a photo ID is a low barrier to match against. We look forward to future developments in this area.
Would you pay a small fee to receive a certificate of completion if the course was otherwise “free?”