Coursera, the online education company, announced on Wednesday that it was expanding a program that awards special certificates to students who pass multiple MOOCs.
The company unveiled the program, called Specializations, earlier this year. The idea was to create certificates that, while not supplanting traditional degrees, carry more weight than a certificate of completion from a single massive open online course.
The program, which requires learners to take Coursera’s fee-based “Signature Track” courses, apparently has been a success: The company is adding 18 new Specializations—mostly practical, in-demand fields like project management, cloud computing, and data mining. Students who complete the sequences can expect to pay $100 to $300, depending on the number of courses, according to a spokeswoman.
Colleges so far have succeeded in preventing free online courses from disrupting their tuition-based degree programs, but MOOC providers are still hopeful that they can create alternative credentials that have currency with workers and employers.