The point of Coursera (to me) isn't to pad my resume, it's to learn from courses not always offered at my university.
Also - cases will be handled on an individual basis - I guess it's not a standard sized class. There is a few hundred people signed up at least. Putting up a free course in functional programming seems like a lot of work. On top of that, trying to find people who are cheating and handling them more or less individually is a bit of a time waste in my opinion.
While I'm quick to condemn certification, I can see the other side of this argument as well. To a lot of people, Coursera represents the opportunity to overhaul a broken education system. In order for true change, Coursera must not only demonstrate that it can educate people, but that it can do so credibly and consistently.
However, I do take most certifications as mild negative signs. E.g., SCJP, CSM, PMP. A lot of for-profit certifications are worthless. A notable exception are some of the Cisco certs, which really put people through their paces. Which makes sense, as Cisco benefits more from having expensive Cisco products work well than from certification revenue.
It'll be interesting to see what bucket Coursera certs fall into. They need to jump on the cheating thing right quick, though.
I took the first AI class last Fall, and if you've never been exposed to the material, it was a very good survey of Artificial Intelligence.
I'm not sure about the actual comparative amounts, but Cisco makes a lot of money off of certifications. Of course, in the long run making them actually represent something is best for both sides of the business.
80% of Cisco's revenue is hardware. And even the service side is something close to $2 billion. I suspect the amount of money they make off of certifications is a tiny slice of that. Even if there are 10k CCIEs each paying $1500 for a yearly test, that's only $15 million, which is nothing to Cisco.
> Of course, in the long run making them actually represent something is best for both sides of the business.
That's not true for many certifiers. Take a look at the CSM certificate. It is meaningless, but popular and therefore profitable.
Cheating degrades the quality of education at any level. Cheaters are trying to get accreditation when they shouldn't. While Cheating is all over in education (we had a couple of cases at my school), it is obviously going to be more prominent in a place like Coursera, where cheating is easier and looking for cheaters is harder.
One thing they could do is create an algorithm that checks answers much like what they do for journals, but again that's an extra load they "shouldn't" have on their employees.
Not in the least! You can argue that it degrades the prestige or something like that, but the education remains the same.
The university has the onus to hire credible teachers, and to maintain a high reputation. You're paying for the standards they apply. Some universities aren't worth their weight and some are. The information that they have is out there. This has not changed. Textbooks have been arround for a while. Additionally professional teachers have the ability to communicate the material affectively.
Online classes can't guarantee a level of understanding of the material. Additionally online classes will never be able to guarantee that the person who signed up for the class is the actual one that gets the credit.
It wouldn't work at Coursera's scale and for a price point they can afford.
A: "Oh hey I know how to program Scala"
B: "Ok program Scala..."
A: "Well I only got the cert, I don't actually know."
B: "Sorry I guess you're not qualified then. Why don't you learn?"
Yeah that sounds like a great interview. How long do you let them go, half an hour, a day? Do you think you can adequately judge someones abilities like this?
I mean, if there are 5000 students in the course, for even odds of it happening, 0.5 = (1 - n) ^ 5000 -> n = 0.0139% chance per student, which seems like an awfully saintly ratio to assume.
Won't they be making the problem worse by drawing borderline cheaters' attention to it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect)?
Present market value of a common certification - ~$100k.
Which aspect would you attempt to build a business around?
This kind of thinking really bothers me. They've gone to some pains to ensure their certification has some level of meaning, and now they want to chuck it all out the window based on the actions of a tiny minority.
Collective punishment is usually the product of lazy thinking.
I suppose I've always been of the opinion that they should offer the courses in a fashion similar to that of Khan Academy. I don't expect a certificate when I complete a section there as I'm there for the purpose of educating myself, not for accrediting myself. I think it's hard for Coursera to fulfill accreditation, but wish them the best if it's what they want to try for.
If learning is truly your motive and you are unable to do the assignments, well just don't do them. Why even go as far as cheating.
Certification is second after ability, as it is in most arts and activities, except scams, such as SAP, Oracle, Cisco or other pay-walled artificial hierarchies.
To put it differently - certification is for those, who are unable to prove/show his abilities second time.)