New Regents’ Agreement to Boost WorkSooner


New Regents’ Agreement to Boost WorkSooner

The University of Oklahoma, along with the OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies’ WorkSooner program, joined 14 other colleges and universities in Oklahoma on Sept. 9 as the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved a statewide contract with Coursera, one of the largest online learning platforms in the world.

The agreement provides participating colleges and universities access to Coursera for Campus ─ a comprehensive catalog of thousands of job-relevant courses across business, technology and data science ─ to provide students, faculty, staff members and employers across the state more opportunities for workforce and professional development.

“Our partnership with Coursera ties directly to recommendations from the State Regents’ 2018 Task Force on the Future of Higher Education, which endorse comprehensive collaborations with the business sector to establish industry-recognized badges and micro-credentials that align with pathways to certificates and degrees,” Chancellor Glen D. Johnson said. “Oklahoma colleges and universities will be able to provide more opportunities for students, job seekers and currently employed individuals to complete their degrees and earn certified credentials for high-demand jobs.”

“Oklahoma colleges and universities will be able to provide more opportunities for students, job seekers and currently employed individuals to complete their degrees and earn certified credentials for high-demand jobs.”

Oklahoma is the first state in the country to launch a Coursera for Campus partnership with such wide-reaching impact, following the lead of WorkSooner, which signed the state’s first partnership agreement with Coursera in October 2020 through the OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies.

“WorkSooner started with a three-person team, spearheaded the program to a subscription plan and branded it to where it has landed today, in the hands of corporations, tribes, high schools and a national partnership,” said Melissa Archer, WorkSooner director.

Archer said the agreement significantly increases WorkSooner’s ability to offer short-duration, online courses that provide micro-credentialing and specializations to a broader base of people, in addition to making scholarship opportunities possible.

The Coursera for Campus platform offers job-relevant online education to learners to earn industry-recognized credentials through access to Coursera’s catalog of more than 4,900 high-quality online courses from over 200 university and industry educators, including the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Google and IBM.

“Our program is set up as a subscription plan model,” Archer said. “If a learner enrolls and pays $149 per month, they are allowed to take as many courses and specialized programs as they are motivated to complete within one month. If they need more time to complete a course, they can purchase another month.

“The subscription model has been a big win for WorkSooner, and the support services our program offers is the ‘WorkSooner Difference.’ We provide learners guidance and resources, check-ins, resume review, mock interviews and connections to companies who hire learners who are specialized in high demand fields.”

Learners who complete a program through WorkSooner will receive an OU branded certificate, Coursera certificate and a specialized professional services course certificate, for example, IBM and Google.

Visit the WorkSooner website to learn more about the flexible, online courses and specializations the program offers. For more information about additional educational opportunities for working adults, visit the OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies website.

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Myk Mahaffey

Michael Mahaffey holds degrees in journalism and psychology. He is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience writing for print and digital publications, including award-winning coverage of the rodeo industry. In his spare time, he writes fiction, in addition to tinkering with graphic design and photography.