The Year of the Microcredential


If 2012 was “The Year of the MOOC”, 2017 is “The Year of the Microcredential”, says edSurge.

A growing number of elite colleges now offer short-form graduate and certificate programs that can be taken online for a fraction of the price of a traditional master’s.

These offerings expand access to graduate education, help workers update their skills and allow colleges to find new sources of revenue as well as save marketing money when advertising their in-person graduate programs.

  • edX lists 40 MicroMasters programs from 24 colleges and universities. [The first course, created by MIT about Supply Chain brought in more than $4 million in revenue, according to Anant Agarwal, CEO of EdX.]
  • Coursera added 50 new “specializations” (series of courses that grant noncredit certificates to students and can’t be transferred for college credit) in the past year.
  • Udacity uses “nanodegrees” ($200 per month) to attract students. They also offer a premium service, for $299 a month, that includes some individualized help and mentorship. Udacity promises a money-back guarantee for those who successfully complete a nanodegree and don’t find a job within six months.