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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, HEC Paris Launch Master’s Degrees on Coursera

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and HEC Paris on Wednesday launched two online master’s degree programs to bring in more talent into two in-demand fields: accounting and entrepreneurship.

The institutions teamed up with online learning company Coursera to deliver the programs:

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See how the College of Business at UIUC handles video production for massive open online courses and more here on Campus Technology.

First, the iMSA is UIUC’s third master’s degree offered with Coursera after its business and data science degrees launched last year. The program will build expertise in the fundamentals of accounting, including financial reporting, audit and control, and federal taxation, while helping students to develop industry skills like communication and data visualization.

“We’re looking to bring more talent into the field by improving accessibility to top-notch quality education and star faculty,” said W. Brooke Elliott, an accountancy head designate in the College of Business at Illinois and an Ernst & Young distinguished professor in accounting, in a prepared statement. “We’re lowering barriers to entry for talented people to become leaders in the accounting profession.”

The iMSA program will be hands-on and practice-oriented, according to Coursera, with live sessions led by UIUC faculty, practitioners from top accounting firms and students. Students can virtually attend office hours and access community events that feature guest lecturers — like the traditional M.S. accounting degree program offers. The iMSA’s five core and three elective courses can be completed in less than four semesters (18 months) or as many as eight semesters (36 months), according to Coursera.

Next, HEC launched its first fully online international degree program to expand access to global audiences. In the OMIE program, students will spend six months working in a team on a project — from inception to bringing the idea to life. They will receive mentorship from business experts and entrepreneurs who train them to manage rapid growth, reduce risk factors with decision-making, and more. OMIE is designed for current and future business leaders who want to drive innovation in their industries, explained Peter Todd, dean of HEC Paris, in a statement.

“Through innovative, fully online and interactive courses, participants will leave the program ready to launch their own venture or to innovate within their existing organizations,” said Todd. “This is a unique opportunity to earn an HEC Master’s degree and join the exclusive HEC Alumni network.”

Coursera’s master’s degrees offer an alternative to traditional degrees, which are usually all-or-nothing endeavors. The iMSA and OMIE programs are structured in a stackable format, so students can try out the curriculum first by participating in open enrollment courses on Coursera. Then, after they are admitted, students can use credits they have earned in the open courses toward the degree.

The two latest offerings will be as selective as the institutions’ other degrees, according to Coursera. They are also affordable without compromising academic rigor or instructional quality.

Nikhil Sinha, chief business officer at Coursera, wrote in the blog post announcement that a master’s degree is critical to making significant career changes. “Coursera and our partners are committed to making these high-value credentials more accessible to learners around the world.”

Coursera has more than 25 million registered learners, and offers more than 2,000 courses and 180 specializations. To learn more, visit the Coursera site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at sravipati@1105media.com.

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