iSchool Partners with Coursera: Elevating Education for Students and Alumni
New Collaboration Enhances Learning with Industry-Recognized Credentials

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Students enrolled in the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at the San José State University School of Information have a new added-value opportunity to further elevate their educational experiences. The iSchool recently announced a partnership with Coursera, a global platform for online learning and career development, to ensure its graduates are well-prepared for the demands of the modern workforce.

“This partnership is another step in delivering on our commitment to providing high-quality education that leads to real-world success,” said Dr. Anthony Chow, iSchool director. Chow expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, emphasizing its alignment with the school’s core values. “Our new partnership with Coursera personifies our slogan: High Tech, High Touch, High Quality,” Chow said.

He elaborated: “It is high tech to partner with worldwide training provider Coursera, using their robust online training platform that manages industry-respected and recognized micro-credentials and certificates. Students do this on their own time from their own devices. It’s high touch in that we are thinking about how best to support our students and their future career success and have made a significant financial commitment, $150,000 over three years, to our students, so they have access to this platform 100% free. Finally, it is high quality in that we are delighted that students will have access to industry-recognized skills that are contemporary and integrate well with our degree programs that focus more on the theoretical foundations, concepts, and principles of the field. It is a win-win-win scenario: for us, for the students, and for their future employers.”

Prior to proceeding with the formal partnership, the iSchool offered a pilot trial of the Career Academy on Coursera to iSchool students and alumni in December 2023. The pilot program received overwhelming interest with 100% of learners agreeing that free access to pursue industry certified Coursera stackable micro-credentials and certification was important to them. Responses to the post-pilot survey of learners included comments that expressed gratitude for the opportunity and eagerness to learn. “This would really help supplement additional areas I’m interested in but not pursuing during my degree program,” commented a learner. 

“After a successful pilot, we’re excited to expand our partnership with San José State University to equip thousands of iSchool students with the in-demand skills and credentials needed to unlock opportunity and thrive in the modern workforce,” said Scot Chadwick, global head of Coursera for Campus.   

“Our students’ success is our success.” – Dr. Anthony Chow, iSchool Director

With Career Academy on Coursera, students will have access to over 45 industry micro-credentials, designed by the world’s top companies including Google, IBM, Microsoft, and AWS, to prepare students with no prior experience for in-demand digital jobs. Students can prepare for a wide range of in-demand career paths, such as Data Analyst, Project Manager, UX Designer, Cybersecurity Analyst, and Application Developer. Hands-on projects and interactive assessments allow students to apply their skills in real-world scenarios and practice using workplace tools. At the end of the program, they will also earn career-focused credentials to enhance their job qualifications.

“The job market is changing rapidly, and local employers are increasingly looking for candidates who have both a strong broad-based education and practical workplace skills to keep up with fast-evolving industry demands,” explained Chadwick.

Students began receiving instructions on how to enroll for free in the Career Academy on Coursera this past May, and the iSchool is working to expand the Coursera free licenses to include alumni this summer. Following the initial release, the first year will see the gradual and inclusive rollout extended to faculty and staff. By the second and third years, faculty and instructors will begin integrating Coursera’s courses into their curriculum, allowing students to earn micro-credentials and certificates from leading companies alongside their academic credits. This phased approach ensures a smooth transition and comprehensive integration of the new learning opportunities.

The integration of Coursera aims to bridge the gap between academic theory and practical skills. Chow highlighted that this partnership ensures the skills taught in iSchool degree programs are relevant and up-to-date with industry standards, which he believes will give iSchool students a competitive edge in the job market. According to recent Coursera research, 86 percent of U.S. students said that earning an industry micro-credential would help them stand out to employers and secure jobs when they graduate. And they are correct. Research showed, on average, U.S. employers are 75 percent more likely to hire a candidate who has earned both a degree and a certificate.

As future students consider which university they want to attend, the added value of Coursera courses makes the iSchool a compelling choice. “Prospective students have a lot of options to pursue their formal degrees at a wide variety of well-respected and high-quality universities,” Chow said. He enthused that students should choose the iSchool because “we are Silicon Valley’s School of Information and being innovative, leading edge, and helping shape the future of the field is expected. We are the largest MLIS provider in the nation and the world. Because so many students trust us with their education, we have significant resources. We can and will continue to invest in our students and alumni.”

iSchool students and alumni interested in taking full advantage of this free enrichment opportunity can find more information on the Coursera Career Academy web page.