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Step right up and get hired

| March 14, 2016 | 0 Comments

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continue to flood the American higher education system. As the trend explodes, so does a debate over quality vs quantity. Can MOOCs really be called ‘higher education’ in the traditional sense of the word?

In 2015, LinkedIn bought, which offers more than 5 000 online courses and 250 000 video tutorials on business, technology and creative skills. Another popular choice for students is, where you can claim a place in the top-selling course called ‘Double your confidence and self-esteem’. Udemy – home to over 30 000 courses in 80 languages – reported annual revenue growth of 200% in 2015.

Website, purportedly worth over US$1 billion, provides 3 700 information technology (IT) courses. And then there’s, which provides courses and ‘nanodegrees’ in data science, web development, software engineering and android development.

These MOOCs, and the millions of Americans signing up for their courses, are listening to big business. Employers claim they need to hire people with technical and hard skills in developing technological industries. Udacity, for example, partners with Google to ensure graduate placement.

Traditional colleges and universities are decreasingly offering what a 21st economy demands, say MOOCs and their partners. Ivy League institutions are still seething over a statement made late last year by a senior executive at Google. He said that many university degree programmes and the qualifications they produce are “worthless as a criteria for hiring”.

Now, a new generation of MOOCs is emerging – and with them, a new kind of jargon.

Website, for example, is an “employerfacing pre-hire training intermediary”. Similarly, via, you can: “Choose a skill you wish to develop; learn concepts, design, strategies, software and tools taught by industry professionals and companies; do projects; collaborate in teams to do hands-on projects for companies; showcase your skills and personality to prospective employers; interact with company mentors to network and build rapport; wow them and GET HIRED [sic].”

Category: Autumn 2016

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