Career & Education

UCC to offer courses through leading online educator Coursera

Sunday, July 02, 2017

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The University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) has announced that it has established a partnership with Coursera, the world's leading online, on-demand video education provider, to provide professional-development training programmes to thousands of potential learners in Jamaica and across the Caribbean.

The partnership, which UCC has described as significant, resulted from discussions that began at Coursera's headquarters in Silicon Valley, California, last year during a visit organised by a World Bank official.

UCC explained that the partnership will allow students to use its ONLINE learning portal to access a variety of specialised business and related programmes offered by top universities and instructors in the US and other countries who are linked to Coursera's platform.

“Highly interactive video recorded lectures will be offered to learners who will be able to pursue their courses on demand from anywhere and at their own pace,” the university told the Jamaica Observer. “Learners will be able to access their courses not just from their computers or tablets, but from their smart phones as well as from logging on to an Apple TV which they can purchase,” it added.

It said that up to 1,000 courses will be made available, to include:

• Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business, from the University of Maryland

• Introduction to Corporate Finance, from Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania

• How to Validate Your Start-up Idea, from the University of Wales

• Sales Strategies: Mastering the Selling Process, from the University of Chicago.

• Introduction to Computer Programming, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

• Human Computer Interaction, from Stanford University

Courses can be completed within four to eight weeks and each successful participant will receive certificates of achievement from both the relevant US university offering the course as well as UCC at a quarterly presentation ceremony. UCC will also award college credits, which participants can use to matriculate into one of its undergraduate degree programmes. In addition, Coursera will incorporate its top courses into UCC's undergraduate blended or hybrid degree programmes, commencing with the Bachelor of Science in Innovation and Entrepreneurship in September 2017.

Dr Winston Adams, Group Executive Chairman of the UCC Group, said the partnership with Coursera would “support UCC in achieving its mission to rapidly increase access to high- quality learning opportunities for adult learners in Jamaica and across the Caribbean in a more convenient manner than the traditional face-to-face modality”.

He noted also that this was part of UCC's disruptive innovation strategy which seeks to further equip participants with the relevant knowledge and skills to pursue business opportunities in a global environment, while learning at their own pace.

“We see huge and growing demand for credentials that can be gained on learners' own time and that demonstrate skills desirable in the job market,” said Rebecca Taber, Director of Government and Non-profit Partnerships at Coursera Inc.

“We are (therefore) thrilled to partner with UCC to make these kinds of opportunities more accessible to people throughout the Caribbean.”

Coursera has developed 180 plus career-relevant specialisations with its top partner universities, primarily in the areas of business, computer science and data science. The online education platform has some 26 million-plus learners taking over 2,000 courses from 150 plus top university partners.

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