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the First MOOC-Based Degree Taught in Spanish

Uniandes Campus (Bogota, Colombia)

Coursera is working with the University of Los Andes (Colombia), or Uniandes for short, to develop an online master’s degree in software engineering. Applications are set to open in Summer 2020, and the program is set to start the following year.

Uniandes is a top-10 ranked university in Latin America, according to THE and QS. The institution already offers 29 courses and 3 specializations on Coursera. All are taught in Spanish, and so will the university’s upcoming online degree.

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world in terms of native speakers:

Language Native Speakers
Mandarin 918 million
Spanish 460 million
English 379 million

 

It’s also the second most spoken language in the US. Over 41 million people speak Spanish at home in the US — close to 13% of the country’s population.

Coursera currently offers over 350 courses in Spanish. However, this offering is limited to unaccredited qualifications. All of Coursera’s online degrees are taught in English, and so are those of its closest competitors, edX and FutureLearn.

Coursera and Uniandes upcoming master’s degree will break this pattern. The degree will be taught entirely in Spanish, making a credit-bearing, MOOC-based qualification accessible for the first time beyond the English-speaking world.

The online degree program has courses and a structure similar to Uniandes’ on-campus master’s degree in software engineering. The curriculum explores three knowledge areas:

  • Basics — which include the fundamentals of software engineering, web development, and mobile app development.
  • Agile — which includes the agile development process, software architecture, and cloud computing.
  • DevOps — which includes software project management, user experience design, and software product line development.

In addition, students can pick courses among a series of electives to deepen their knowledge in specific areas. These electives include software development automation, data analysis and visualization, and machine learning.

In terms of specific technologies, students develop in languages such as Python, Java, and Javascript, and use frameworks such as Angular and React. The program promises to embrace a hands-on approach where students are asked to contribute to real-world software projects.

Students have to take 18 courses in total to graduate. Each course has a duration of eight weeks. So the degree should take between 1.5 and 3 years to complete, depending on how many courses a student takes simultaneously.

Although some programming experience is preferred, the program welcomes students that don’t have a computer science background. Uniandes is developing a series of introductory MOOCs to allow prospective students to remediate potential knowledge gaps.

The cost of the online degree hasn’t been announced yet. However, the equivalent on-campus degree costs close to 48,000,000 Colombian pesos ($14,000 US dollars). And in an article about the degree, Jeff Maggioncalda, Coursera’s CEO, stated that: