MicroBachelors: the new edX credentials

Student on an alternative credentials course

Alternative credentials offered by edX cover 25 to 50% of a bachelor or master's degree program.

The non-profit educational platform founded by Harvard and MIT, edX, maintains its objective of reinventing higher education; they aim to reduce the cost of education, make it modular, flexible and create a new generation of life-long students. At a recent education conference, Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, unveiled the development of a new online program: MicroBachelors degree.

Although the MicroBachelors degree programs are not launched yet, they will use the same model as MicroMasters courses; programs that cover 25 to 50 % of a university degree. It is a career-focused program, it is flexible, it offers a pathway to credit (it will count toward a degree determined by each university), and it is entirely free unless the student wants a credential –available for less than a 1000 dollars.

A case study of alternative credentials brought to the university is the "Supply Chain Management (SCM)" master's degree imparted by MIT. His educational plan began on the edX platform with the MicroMasters SCM program, which included five courses for thirteen weeks and a final exam. Later, 40 graduates from different parts of the world attended the MIT campus in Cambridge to complete their course.

The number of employers accepting alternative credentials is growing steadily and the number of institutions granting financial aid to obtain them increases. On the other hand, universities and non-profit organizations are partnering to benefit the educational experience of students; Many universities are sharing modules of their programs to create more solid educational plans.

Anant agarwal, edX CEO. Photo: edX Social Media.

Anant agarwal, edX CEO. Photo: edX Social Media.

edX vision of the future of higher education

In a presentation at the "Rethink Education Summit" organized by the US Department of Education, in the city of Washington DC, Anant Agarwal communicated edX's vision of the future of higher education.

  • Higher education will be modular. Students will be able to build their educational experience as best suits them; they will integrate educational modules from different subjects and different universities (as if they were stacking Lego blocks).
  • Omnichannel education. It will integrate all available communication channels. Education will have online and face-to-face courses.
  • Education throughout life. Education will be an endless experience in which they will acquire appropriate skills for specific jobs.

The offer of alternative credentials is flourishing. The MicroBachelor titles will be an attractive option for high school students who decide to start their higher education studies online; Then they can choose to continue their career in a university campus or some other educational platform.