TESU to provide credits for edX.org’s MicroBachelors Programs

Thomas Edison State University said on Thursday it will begin providing college credits for the new MicroBachelors Programs created by edX.org, a platform for learning.

The Trenton-based educational institution said the programs will be the first credit-backed stackable credential and provide a pathway to a full bachelor’s degree.

MicroBachelors was designed for adults without college degrees who want to advance their careers, particularly those who can’t afford a traditional bachelor’s degree and take time away from work, TESU said.

“Thomas Edison State University was founded to create innovative ways to deliver flexible, high-quality collegiate learning. We are proud to collaborate with edX to continue this tradition and play a key role in expanding access to high-quality undergraduate education for nontraditional students and workers with edX’s MicroBachelors programs,” Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president, Thomas Edison State University, said. “By recognizing MicroBachelors programs for credit, we are creating yet another diverse and alternative method to gain access to a relevant and affordable undergraduate education.”

The program is priced between $500 and $1,500 (average $166 per credit) and can be completed entirely online, allowing for students to complete coursework in their own time. Once credits are earned, learners can elect to apply credit from one of edX’s university credit partners toward a full Bachelor’s degree.

IBM is one company seeing value in these new programs.

“Technologies such as AI are increasingly changing the workforce, so the nature of education will have to evolve accordingly,” Guillermo Miranda, vice president and head of IBM Corporate Social Responsibility, said. “To give people the right skills and credentials for in-demand positions, and to meet employees where they are, stakeholders now need to offer a spectrum of resources for online and in-person instruction, as well as immersive, experiential learning. MicroBachelors programs are innovative as they can play a valuable role in these offerings.”

Development of the programs was funded by Boeing, Lumina Foundation, SunTrust Foundation, Walmart, Jeremy M. and Joyce E. Wertheimer Foundation, and Yidan Prize Foundation.

“edX was founded on the mission to increase access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere and MicroBachelors programs are the next step forward in fulfilling that mission,” edX founder and CEO Anant Agarwal said. “These programs are a significant step towards making a key academic milestone — the Bachelor’s degree — accessible and doing so in a way that positively impacts the members of our workforce most at risk to be displaced by automation and other changes in the workplace. We are thrilled to be able to collaborate with our academic and industry partners to offer these programs that enable continuous, lifelong learning and promise immediately applicable skills and knowledge with a valuable credit-backed credential.”