Millennial expectations and new skills needed in today’s workforce were causing a shift to on-demand and online education for some time. Now, with the need to social distance and transform, school leaders are taking advantage of this moment. They’re launching innovative programs designed for online and hybrid learning environments.
“We’re seeing this as an opportunity to really start building our digital infrastructure for more and more of our own vocational trainings to be virtual, use virtual and online formats whether real-time, hybrid or asynchronous, and we’re working with our campuses around this idea,” said Nakisha “Nikki” Evans, Director of the Office of Workforce Partnerships, City University of New York (CUNY).
“This has forced us to reevaluate how much virtual content we’re actually making available, but the reality of the matter is that outside of COVID a lot of people have reasons why an in-class situation may not work for them. With a very diverse group of folks who are now unemployed, the reality is people may not have time or be underemployed and can benefit from virtual instruction.”
Coursera is one platform leading the pack and serving as a trusted partner to bring these virtual programs to life. Since launching in the fall of 2019, Coursera for Campus now serves 3,700 campuses worldwide, including 2.4 million campus learners.
We hosted Coursera for a virtual event, Reinventing Traditional Pathways to Education, where we spotlighted both the work Evans is doing at CUNY, as well as that of The University of Oklahoma. Their leaders are committed to designing programs to prepare students to enter the workforce with tangible skills gained remotely.
The event, which can be viewed on-demand, was moderated by JP Moran, Global Head of Channels & Coursera for Campus Americas. It provided a deep dive into Oklahoma’s Work Sooner program and CUNY’s 90-Day Upskilling Challenge. Viewers will explore how these two innovative programs went from ideas to widespread visions to then come to fruition. They’ll also be privy to how these schools are measuring success with indicators such as enrollments, completions and data points.
Dr. Martha Banz, Dean and Associate Provost, Extended Campus, The University of Oklahoma will talk through their Work Sooner program and Evans will explore how students are benefitting from CUNY’s Upskilling Initiative. Hear about the programs and tactics being implemented to cope with learning during the pandemic creatively.
“As the University of Oklahoma, we’re trying to connect the reskilling and upskilling for targeted skill sets that will help them career wise to get in a more stable position, but also to help them raise the sights of what’s possible and help to begin to envision a different future for themselves and their families, Banz said. “Part of what we’re trying to do is to have a program that recognizes where they are and gives them a scaffolding for being able to move out of underemployment onto a career ladder that will be better for them and their families long-term. At the same time, we’re also trying to provide opportunity for those who are already employed, but need to reskill and tool up in slightly different ways that will enhance their marketability.”
Viewers will learn how Coursera for Campus is enabling universities like CUNY and Oklahoma to introduce world-class, job-relevant online education to teach learners the skills of the future, and how their universities can make use of these tools and innovative ideas as well. They’ll also explore how to ensure different accessibility needs of learners can be met effectively.