MICRO MOOC: Earlier this week, in an effort to tackle the skills gap, Microsoft announced the Microsoft Professional Degree (MPD) program. The initial offering is a course pathway in data science through EdX, a nonprofit Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider. The curriculum targets professionals looking to sharpen their skills in data science, and Microsoft says it plans to offer programs in other fields. Anyone can sign up, take the courses, and earn a Microsoft Professional Degree, a “digitally sharable, résumé worthy credential,” according to the site.
During the beta period, anyone can audit the 10 available data science courses, but to receive verified certificates users must pay $25 for orientation and $49 for all others (except one course for $99).
Microsoft's most recent pathway into education comes after its acquisition of LinkedIn, and in turn Lynda.com, an online learning platform. It’s not the first large tech company to offer employer-sponsored degrees in this style: Google partnered with Udacity to offer nanodegrees last year.