Last week Coursera announced Global Skills Initiative (GSI), a program to build stronger partnerships between industry and education. BNY Mellon, Cisco, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Splunk, and UBS, have joined the program and will each work with one of Coursera’s university partners to produce online courses in fields like data science, computer programming, and finance.
Last year, in How Does Coursera Make Money? we mentioned that “Coursera is experimenting with a number of different ways to bring corporations in its folds.“. The GSI seems to be an outcome of these experiments. Coursera had previously partnered with a number of companies like Google, Instagram, 500 Startups, Shazam, others for the capstone project. Udacity was one of the first to go down this path when it partnered with AT&T, Google, Autodesk, Nvidia, etc to create online courses that help people advance their careers. Unlike Udacity, which creates its own content, Coursera is bringing together industry and academia to create online courses and content.
The outcome of GSI is going to be Specializations. Companies and Universities will collaborate together to create specializations in high demand content areas. Companies contribute funding for production costs in addition to applied projects, guest lectures, case studies, and other materials that incorporate industry expertise into the course content. Companies will also get “full-feature access to all sponsored courses for your current employees“.