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Coursera Dabbles in Cohort-Based Learning with University Certificates

Coursera’s newest microcredential includes live online classes, office hours with instructors, and projects.

Cohort-Based Courses or CBC are a new buzzword that certain EdTech startups and their investors are trying to push. Now the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) has reached bigger providers like Skillshare and Coursera who are experimenting with this format.

Proponents of CBC claim that this is a new kind of format, but online courses with fixed start/end dates and live sessions have been around at least since I started Class Central a decade ago.

Universities have been offering these courses for a long time under the banner of Professional or Executive Education. They generally cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per course and involve live sessions with the instructor.

The current trend of CBCs extends the opportunity to “influencers” to monetize their audience through online courses.

Recently, we also jumped on the “Cohorts” bandwagon when we rebranded our Study Group experiments to Class Central Cohorts. Our approach is to leverage the vast ecosystem of open courses and build a social learning layer on top of it.

Our Cohorts can be led by a learner, by the instructor, or by another expert. And they’re free. Check our Spring 2022 line up here.

Coursera University Certificates

Recently, as I was working on the end-of-year analysis, I noticed that Coursera had launched University Certificates, which are cohort-based and include live classes, office hours with instructors, and projects.

Note that unlike Coursera’s other microcredentials, University Certificates are issued exclusively by the university: their certificate of completion doesn’t mention Coursera, only the university. For instance, University Certificates offered by IIT Bombay look like this:

IIT Bombay “Digital Transformation” University Certificate

Currently there are 16 such certificates, ranging from $1,200 to $3000. Only three come from US universities: Dartmouth, Duke, and ASU. The rest come from India: IIT Bombay, IIM Kozhikode, IIT Roorkee, and IIM Calcutta.

As far as I can tell, most of them (if not all) have yet to go live. They’re scheduled to start in 2022.

Certificate University Length Price
Digital Transformation Dartmouth 6 months $2,220
Product Management IIM Kozhikode 6 months $1,500
Digital Transformation IIT Bombay 4 months $1,770
Power Electronics and Motors for Electric Vehicles (EVs) IIT Bombay 4.5 month $1,416
Data-Driven Decision Making IIM Kozhikode 6 months $1,500
Strategic Management IIM Kozhikode 6 months $1,500
Business Management IIM Kozhikode 8–9 months $2,500
Marketing Strategy IIM Kozhikode 6 months $1,500
Post Graduate Certificate in VLSI Design IIT Roorkee 6 months $1,500
Post Graduate Certificate in 5G Technology and IoT IIT Roorkee 6 months $1,200
Post Graduate Certificate in Data Science & Machine Learning IIT Roorkee 6 months $1,500
Post Graduate Certificate in Advanced Machine Learning & AI IIT Roorkee 6 months $1,500
Management Science IIM Calcutta 6 months NA
Supply Chain Analytics IIM Calcutta 6 months NA
Blockchain Applications Duke 3–4 months $3,000
English Proficiency for Graduate Studies ASU 2 months $1,500

Skillshare Chroma Courses

Skillshare Chroma Course

In late October, Skillshare announced Chroma Courses, their attempt at Cohorts. So far three of them have been announced. They are all 4 weeks long, cost $499, start on January 3rd, and are limited to 50 seats. Here are the Chroma Courses available so far:

  • Develop Your Signature Photo Style With Brandon Woelfel
  • Build Your Brand & Business with Jeff Staple
  • Make & Sell Watercolor Art With Cat Coquillette
Dhawal Shah Profile Image

Dhawal Shah

Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.

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