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Coursera launches second full degree with U of Illinois

This is Coursera's second full master's programme with the University of Illinois.

“I think you will see that the online master’s programmes that we offer will come to be a really significant factor in professional education"

The MCS-DS is the second degree offered by the university through Coursera, after its online MBA launched in January, and will cost under $20,000 in total.

“Many of our universities are coming forward with proposals to do degree programmes”

The launch of its second full time degree marks the continued move towards monetised content for Coursera. In 2014 it introduced Specializations, courses costing around $300-$350 which allow students to earn a certificate upon completion.

The MCS-DS will be a “stackable” degree, consisting of multiple Specializations, along with some extra content that will be available only to degree learners.

This will enable students to sample the course by taking one of the Specializations in data mining or cloud computing, before committing to the full degree programme.

“This degree offers people a unique opportunity to choose exactly how much learning they need at different stages in their careers,” commented Daphne Koller, president and co-founder of the university, who added that the course enables students to gain some of the “most high-demand career skills” worldwide.

Coursera’s CEO, Rick Levin, said that fee-paying degree courses present a significant opportunity for growth for the platform and its institutional partners.

“I think you will see that the online master’s programmes that we offer will come to be a really significant factor in professional education, because it’ll expand greatly the pool of students able to earn advanced degrees,” he predicted.

“Right now, our specialisations are beginning to earn significant revenue for our university partners, but they’re still offered at a very low price,” he told The PIE News. “Degree programmes will be offered at a significantly higher price than that, but still much lower than on-site, residential programmes.”

The potential revenue to be made on online degree courses make them an attractive investment for universities, he noted.

“Many of our universities are coming forward with proposals to do degree programmes, recognising that this will be not only a valuable service for the world, but also a significant generator of revenue,” he said.

Applications for admission for the new master’s programme are now open, and the first cohort of 150 students will begin classes in August.

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