Qatar Foundation universities take a step towards online courses – Doha News

To date, Qatari learners on Coursera have reached 100,000. Now the company is looking to increase the number even more.

Massive online course provider Coursera, based in the United States, is “in talks” with the Qatar Foundation (QF) to integrate its platform to help students gain wider access to online content.

The company’s CEO, Jeff Maggioncalda, revealed to The peninsula that discussions are ongoing with the eight QF universities regarding the possibility of introducing the platform to “virtually bring universities and industry together”.

“The vision is to connect students to jobs, that’s what’s going to be exciting about integrating the Coursera platform into universities. It’s not just about building skills, but connecting students to good entry-level jobs for employers in the region,” he added.

Despite the announcement, nothing concrete has yet been between the two parties.

The CEO also praised Qatar for its investments in education, saying the country has invested heavily to “bring early childhood education and some of the most innovative higher education to this region.”

According to him, e-learning is the future of higher education, and Qatar can embrace such an educational revolution.

Although e-learning is not a newly introduced concept, the idea has definitely undergone further reform since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. Its obvious advantages, such as increased flexibility, greater convenience and l access to cutting-edge learning methodologies and technologies, puts all concerns about its effectiveness to rest.

At least ten companies in Qatar are currently using Coursera, which helps improve the skills of staff members, including Al Jazeera Media, Qatar Investment Group and Ooredoo. Additionally, over 100,000 Qatari students are enrolled in Coursera, most of whom are around 35 years old.

According to the official, the top three courses Qataris enroll in are Wellness Science from Yale University, English for Career Development from the University of Pennsylvania, and Data Foundations from Google.

“These are all pretty much business-oriented courses, I think business people in Qatar use Coursera the most,” Maggioncalda said, adding that the student growth rate is 28% per year, which which is higher than the world average.

One of the many reasons the company is looking to introduce online courses to universities is to prove the importance of blended learning. Such opportunities would allow students to receive an abundance of course options that may not be available on campus.

“That’s why we talk to the Qatar Foundation. Many universities today are integrating online learning into the on-campus experience – so you get both; students on campus can also complete online projects even as part of their residential experience. So I think the mix, the hybrid type of education will be very valuable for many students,” he told The Peninsula.

Maggioncalda said that although the decision to include Qatari universities in the Coursera platform has not yet been made, they look forward to cooperating with regional colleges and universities.

“At the moment, we are dealing with the consumer, the 100,000 Qataris directly registered on our site. We work with 10 companies, and I think the next step is to work with universities. This is something we hope to be able to announce very soon.