What We Learned at the 4th Annual Coursera Partners Conference
Lower barriers for faculty innovation. Instead of asking faculty to come up with a dramatically different, large project, several universities have found that starting with smaller, simpler projects is an easier path to broader change
A group of staff, faculty and students from Duke University attended the 2016 CourseraPartners Conference held March 20-22 in The Hague, Netherlands. The conference brought together university officials, faculty members, instructional designers, program managers, technology specialists, and teaching support staff from Coursera’s partner organizations around the world to discuss MOOCs, online and blended pedagogy, and emerging trends in higher education.
Since their return, the attendees from Duke have shared notes and ideas from the many sessions attended. Here are some of the most interesting takeaways:
Feedback from U. Illinois and GA Tech on Online Degree Programs. Leaders from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Georgia Tech discussed what they’ve learned since launching relatively inexpensive online degree programs in partnership with Coursera and Udacity, respectively.
MOOCs as national workforce education. Singapore and Malaysia have started programs offering subsidies to people for taking and completing MOOCs.
Mobile keeps growing. Over 50% of Coursera users across the world use mobile at least part of the time for their courses. 24% of users access their course materials only on mobile devices. Coursera believes mobile learners will benefit from the ability to view and engage content repeatedly and to start and stop their work on a course as needed.
Career-oriented learning. Coursera plans to link careers to relevant course content through a new career planning and course discovery interface. In a speech, Coursera founder Daphne Koller predicted that in 10 years, the majority of professional graduate education will be online and more affordable.
Coursera for businesses. Conference attendees heard from a panel of corporate leaders from Amazon Web Services, Axis Bank, and State Street Global Advisors. They said big businesses want professional development and credential options from elite institutions for large groups of mid-level employees who would not typically pursue residential executive education.
Increased MOOC participation in Latin America. Coursera efforts to make pushes in Latin America have appeared to be effective in boosting participation.
Lower barriers for faculty innovation. Instead of asking faculty to come up with a dramatically different, large project, several universities have found that starting with smaller, simpler projects is an easier path to broader change.
Teaching global learners. Non-native English speakers prefer when English-speaking instructors speak slowly and do not have a foreign accent, and when course examples are relevant to local issues.