Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Kizmet, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  2. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    yes, I've been looking at them this week too. There are a handful of new ones on edX
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    God I hate the name, though.
  4. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member


    Just calling it a certificate should be sufficient. From an employment perspective there is very little difference between a non-credit certificate and a grad cert. Outside of higher Ed a cert is generally just a cert regardless of the underlying credits.

    Mini-Masters, Mini-MBAs etc, as best I can tell, are just designed to trick HR screening software and entry level resume screeners. At first glance the word "masters" is going to pop.

    The only thing I could imagine ever being called a mini-Masters would be a Graduate certificate. Even then it's a fairly useless term.
  5. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    So, the distinction between a graduate certificate and a micro masters via edX is that the micro masters is free. It's also not being issued by a college, it's through a MOOC (of course a graduate certificate is graduate credit $ and offered through a college).

    The unique thing edX is doing, is that there are a handful of colleges (USA/International) that are putting these together for credit. MIT started the trend with their Supply Chain Management option. If I can over-generalize and lump them all together, you basically complete the MOOCs on edX for the specific college you're interested in and pay for the verified option - this will involve some kind of oversight including proctored exams. This will run you around $100-$300 for the class. When you complete the college's list of MOOCs (3-5 classes) you are awarded the Micro-Masters, but the *big deal* is that you now enroll at the college in the *real* master degree and the college guarantees you credit for the micro-masters you just finished. In the case of MIT, it's almost 1/2 the degree. Others are less generous. Most are F2F but at least one is distance learning (Thunderbird AZ). Costs for the REST of the degree are all over the spectrum, from MIT's second half being roughly $40k to your average graduate rate tuition you'd see anywhere.

    I think the idea is to allow people an opportunity to try out graduate courses from their home computer with no obligation. If it works out for them, then it's a HUGE deal for the cost savings, flexibility of working from home, and time saved. If not, ehh, no big deal- a few hundred bucks and a "maybe" resume boost. Seriously, I think these are great, and I'm patiently waiting for one that fits in with my skills so I can enroll.
  6. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I agree with everything you've said and I also feel that the "big deal" aspect is very helpful to students. I have an employee who has an undergrad in a non-CS subject but works in a data analytics role. He's been reluctant to start an MS in CS (in Data Analytics) because he's afraid he doesn't have a solid enough foundation. This allows him to try it out risk free and continue on if all goes well.

    I think that's fantastic.

    What I think isn't fantastic is calling it a "mini-Masters" for the same reason that I don't support people treating ABD like an actual degree. It isn't a degree. A certificate (even if a grad cert) isn't a "mini-masters" any more than ABD is a mini-doctorate.

    It's a certificate. In the case of a grad cert the credits will count toward a Masters. Cool! But that isn't a mini-Masters. That's partial credit toward a Masters with a non-degree credential being awarded partially through your program.

    Calling it a mini-Masters is just asking for abuse. It can still function exactly as you describe it with a different name.

    My only issue is with the name. I'd still be interested in such a program. But if I earned it I would likely display it on my resume as a certificate.
  7. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Crush the infamous thing!
  8. TomE

    TomE New Member

    I've been following the progress of these types of programs very closely over the last few years and am excited about the possibilities moving forward. However, if these credentials begin to be taken very seriously by employers, could universities be "digging their own graves"? If someone realizes they can save time and money by simply credentialing themselves with a 5-course program, why spend 4-6 years and tens of thousands of dollars on traditional degree program?
  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Aaand, as I believe the article points out, the person who goes about enrolling in the Masters program using this method side-steps the normal admissions process. People who might not be admitted to the Masters through the straight application-admission-enrollment process can kinda get in through the side door. This is a little like the way people are admitted to a HES degree program, you work your way in.
  10. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    For certain skills a micro-Masters/certificate/bunch of MOOCs is perfectly fine for an employer. Data Analysis is one of those areas. You aren't going to run out and grab a top Data guru job with them. But you might slip in as an analyst somewhere. A few years of actually doing analysis work and you'll get more, better paying and higher level jobs based upon your work experience.

    The majority of data analysts have educations outside of data analysis. So it's kind of the wild west. Then there are a lot of other areas where the skills acquired in the program aren't required for your job but they paint a really interesting picture that makes you more competitive.

    So, if an HR professional gets a data analysis mini-Masters it might very well help especially if they are applying for a job with a company that prides itself on being data driven.

    So employers already take this sort of education very seriously.

    What employers don't, historically, do is accept non-degree education in lieu of required degrees. So no, you're mini-Masters won't meet the "Masters" requirement at a job if you only possess a bachelor's. But if you have an MBA, a Masters in HR, a Masters in anything and have the mini-masters you might find yourself actually eligible for a job you otherwise wouldn't be qualified for.

    Companies take PMP seriously as well. That doesn't mean that you can get a job with a PMP and no bachelor's if the job has a bachelor's requirement.

    So I don't think it is going to cause universities to dig their own graves. But I think it could potentially hurt heavily specialized degree programs. The question potential employees will have to begin asking is:

    "If the job requires a bachelor's. I can either earn a bachelor's in [x] or earn a bachelor's in sociology, tack on a certificate/mini-masters, and get the same job, why don't I study sociology instead and actually enjoy my coursework?"

    This could mean shedding some of the oddly narrow bachelor's programs out there.

    But only time will tell if the M.S. in Analytics even sticks as a required or preferred qualification. It's so new that many companies still require/prefer mathematics/stat. And if companies begin seeing that hteir data people are mostly educated by udacity then udacity is going to become more valuable than data analytics masters programs (particularly the lower tier programs that spend nearly 1/3 of the coursework on introductory material).

    Ultimately we have a skill void in our workforce. Masters degrees were assumed to impart a certain level of skill. But schools are clamoring for admissions. Rather than adding foundations courses to the total credits, like many MBA programs, some Masters programs aim to take a person from greenhorn to journeyman all in a 30 credit span. It doesn't really work. The result is a bunch of grads who don't even qualify for entry level jobs while someone who rocked a handful of MOOCs actually has the skills to hit the ground running.

    Skills trump degrees. Always have and likely always will. The most solid combination is to have degrees and skills.
  11. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    "Take your Credential to the Next Level
    If a student applies to the Master of Computer Science program at Columbia and is accepted, the MicroMasters Credential will count toward 25% of the coursework required for graduation in the on-campus program."

    It seems good deal with someone intends to continue for Master of Science in Computer Science at Columbia University.
  12. makana793

    makana793 New Member

    Would the mini-MBA's fall within this category? I've been toying with the idea of taking one of those since I don't have a business related undergraduate degree. However, not sure if these types of programs are geared more towards industry related professionals as well as those with the right backgrounds.
  13. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Uh-huh. Never thought I'd read that here! :smile:
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2016
  14. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    :laugh2: "only asking for abuse" Neuhaus, you crack me up!
  15. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    That's how I read it too. I <3 loopholes.

    I forgot to add, that it only takes a few hours before the next question will appear- which is "how can I get this on my transcript?" And I'm curious about that too. I won't be flying to Hong Kong, but the Thunderbird program is online, so perhaps 1 or 2 "real" classes will generate a graduate transcript of 18 credits. NOW that's worth something to me as a teacher.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2016
  16. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    The courses that are part of the MicroMasters can be taken for free, but you won't end up with the MicroMasters certificate. In order to get the credential, you have to pay for verified certificates for each course.
  17. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  18. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Here's edx's launch post (sept 20):
    MicroMasters Programs: a New Credential to Advance Your Career and Accelerate Your Master

    and from Bloomberg 2 days ago:
    New at MIT: Learn First, Pay Later (or Never) - Bloomberg

    Highlight- "MIT, the originator of the MicroMasters, launched its pilot program in supply chain management earlier this year. It involves five courses lasting 10 weeks each, requiring eight to 10 hours of work per week per course. The school says 27,000 students enrolled, of whom 3,500 are working toward a certificate. By contrast, only 40 students are admitted each year to MIT's traditional, 10-month master's degree in supply chain management."
  19. AJ_Atlanta

    AJ_Atlanta New Member

    I love the idea, but the problem in my opinion is that none of these feed into any distance learning masters program.

    Feels like a missed opportunity for many of these schools
  20. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Danger, Will Robinson! (Robot B-9 - Lost in Space) :shock: A micro-master's could lead to a nano-doctorate ... or worse, a pico-fellowship! :laugh:


    Get more Robot B-9 here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot_B-9
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2017

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