Reinventing the College Degree: A Future with Modular Credentials

Rapidly changing technology is impacting the workforce and the economy, highlighting the need to be continually learning and refreshing skills in order to stay relevant. Additionally, the jobs of the future will require a set of skills from a variety of subject areas. “We have to rethink our education system,” writes Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX, on a column in Quartz.

A summary of Mr. Agarwal’s ideas:

  • Lego-like modular education will allow students to personalize their career, combining humanities with tech skills. “In this future, imagine that instead of graduating with a single degree from one university, you will design your own personalized degree from many online or residential programs. Smaller, modular chunks of education will reign, and our learning experience will become incredibly flexible and customizable.”

  • MOOCs at scale, with personalized pacing and open admissions, will be part of these modular degrees. “We envision a global credit-exchange network that will enable students to create their own customizable degrees, comprised of several credentials from a variety of higher education institutions. This is already starting to happen as MOOC providers and their institutional partners offer more programs and credentials that are valuable as standalone certificates, and that are credit-eligible at participating colleges.”

  • Modular credentials will be ideal for working professionals who want to update their skillset to suit the shifting job market, better preparing students and adults alike for an excitingly unpredictable future.”