MOOC中国接受《环球时报》英文版专访:MOOC证书对求职有用吗?

MOOCer2014年8月1日 23:34
环球时报采访MOOC中国

7月中旬《环球时报》英文版采访了我们MOOC中国,主题是探讨MOOC证书在当下社会招聘和就业环境中的现实意义和未来展望。现将全文转载如下:(英文不好的小伙伴可直接看最下面节选的中文原稿

《Back to school online》

By Li Lin Source:Global Times Published: 2014-7-17 18:28:01
原文出处:http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/871111.shtml

More job seekers beefing up resumes with MOOC certificates to woo employers

Zhao Lei, 22, never expected he would be offered his dream internship through a chance encounter with a stranger, but his lucky day came while studying at a Shanghai library where he met a young man who shared the same interests.

“We both began talking about functional programming and [programming language] Scala,” recalled Zhao. As their conversation continued, both found out they were fans of massive open online courses, or MOOCs. As the latest form of interactive education, MOOCs offer free access to some of the world’s most exclusive and elite universities.

As Zhao told his new friend about his 14 MOOC certificates in programming and other fields in information technology (IT), the stranger showed interest and shared his own admiration for the MOOC movement. He then made a surprising revelation by confessing he owned an IT company, adding he would be delighted to offer Zhao an internship.

The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) movement has grown in the business world, but many employers only value MOOC certificates as beneficial for job seekers applying for entry-level positions. Photo: IC

Impressing the boss

According to a survey released in January by Duke University and nonprofit research organization RTI International, many employers in the US are still unfamiliar with MOOCs. Those who know of the courses generally view them as useful for recruiting, hiring and training employees, the survey found.
The survey questioned 400 North Carolina employers and human resources professionals from 103 organizations. Although only 31 percent of respondents had heard of MOOCs at the time of the survey, most were receptive to the possible use of MOOCs in recruiting and hiring decisions after learning what they were all about. They were especially positive toward their potential use in professional development training.

MOOCs fever has been rapidly spreading in China over the past five years. According to Li Ping, administrator of mooc.cn, a website founded in 2013 as a platform for about 180 MOOCs from Coursera and edX, the website registers more than 2,000 new users daily.

Lin Qing, founder of IT company Shanghai Starworking Network Technology, was the man who chatted with Zhao on his lucky day at the library. He became one of the first Chinese MOOC users in 2012 when he signed up for a class on Scala.

“I took a few lessons and found it was a wonderful place to enhance my personal ability, but I didn’t stick it out to get a certificate. I’m my own boss, after all, and there’s no need to prove myself,” joked Lin. “But for job seekers, I think MOOC certificates are proof of their learning ability and attitude.”

Lin’s company was founded in 2001 as a small startup focusing on developing business management software. Starting his company from scratch in Shanghai, a city with fierce business competition, Lin said his company initially lacked the reputation and economic ability to hire top talents.

As a result, Lin values ability and personality in his potential employees more than their educational background. “With so many MOOC certificates in his hand, I thought [Zhao] must have a great self-learning ability and enthusiasm towards the industry,” said Lin. “Even if one has never been in university or only has MOOC certificates in IT-related courses, I will give them a chance to work at my company.”

But MOOC certificates are of little importance for senior positions, most of which still depend on applicants’ traditional educational background and work experience.

Dong Min, co-founder of IT headhunting and consultancy company Offercome, told Metropolitan that few candidates she deals with bother listing MOOC certificates on their resumes.

“Maybe MOOC certificates are favored by employers who want to recruit employees for entry-level positions, but our clients predominantly need executive-level staff. They usually set strict criteria by listing a university degree and more professional qualifications as prerequisites,” she said.

Some job seekers list MOOC certificates on their resume to demonstrate their professional ability and commitment in completing courses offered by top universities around the world. Photos: CFP, IC

Stronger and more flexible

Huang Mou, product manager of MOOC College on popular science website Guokr, wrote an article for 36kr.com, a website dedicated to Internet startups, which claimed MOOCs’ two main aims are to enhance the competitiveness of graduating students and provide a pathway for people to work in an industry outside their major or expertise.

Li Tianyu, 28, is a graduate student majoring in financial engineering at Baruch College under City University of New York. He has accumulated 22 MOOC certificates in financial- and IT-related courses on Coursera and Udacity.

Li Tianyu lists his certificates on his resume and profile on professional social networking website LinkedIn as he achieves them in the belief he can attract more like-minded friends and perhaps impress a future employer.

“Most of my MOOC certificates are related to my major, which is a comprehensive major requiring students to be familiar with finance, mathematics and programming,” said Li Tianyu.

Recently, he has been channeling his efforts into a Functional Programming Principles in Scala course recommended to him by a friend working in Silicon Valley.

“It is fun, even though it’s a little difficult for me. A lot of scientific companies are using this, so I want to master it,” said Li Tianyu, who previously studied 10 MOOCs simultaneously.

Li Dong, 24, graduated from the Nanjing College of Information Technology in Jiangsu Province a few years ago as a visual communication art and design major, but now he is seeking a career pivot into the IT industry. His last job was in computerized numerical control, but now he wants to work in website development.

“My dream job is in artificial intelligence or an embedded system,” said Li Dong, who is currently registered in several MOOCs through a website affiliated with Netease that provides MOOCs from 39 Chinese universities.

“Although the courses I’m studying now are all very basic, they are necessary to my future development and career,” he said.

No comparison to classrooms

Like other past forms of online education, MOOCs have attracted criticism over their content and pedagogical value. Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, said online education represents “retrogress, not progress.”

“We have been encouraging new forms of education, which feature discussion and interaction, which are different from the traditional cramming method of learning,” said Xiong. “MOOCs are the same as other forms of online education. There is limited interaction between students and teachers, which is a major weakness.”

Xiong also noted that traditional attitudes toward education in China, such as valuing one’s ability based solely on their degrees or qualifications from traditional educational institutions, poses the main obstacle to MOOCs.

“MOOC certificates are considered ‘informal’ to some employers, so I think the goal of people getting MOOC certificates should be about enhancing their ability rather than adding glory to their resume and diploma,” Xiong said.

Li Ping said in the terms of professionalism, MOOCs are unlikely to ever replace traditional education providers, such as colleges and universities. A four-year university course still carries the most weight in employers’ eyes, he said.

“However, MOOCs can allow a person to have a good understanding of an unfamiliar major in only several weeks,” added Li Ping. “Aside from introductory courses, MOOCs also offer profound and professional courses. But it is essentially a provider of ‘knowledge points’ rather than acting as a ‘knowledge system.'”

For MOOC learners, perhaps the biggest reward of their courses is the certificate that comes upon graduation, especially if it is from a prestigious university.

“Tsinghua University used to offer a MOOC called Financial Analyses and Decisions, which issued certificates to graduates,” said Li Ping. “Many graduates considered the certificates as precious, with some traveling to Beijing from other provinces to receive them.”

Future hopes

On the acceptability of MOOC certificates, Li Ping hopes course producers as well as the whole education sector should focus more on improving efficiency, assessment accuracy and professional authority, which will naturally lift the reputation and value of education to all.

Coursera has begun offering paid certificates. Although courses are free, graduates must pay up to $100 for some courses if they want to receive their certificate.

Regardless of whether employers accept MOOC certificates or not, Li Ping said their value is gradually increasing as proven by the growing popularity of paid MOOC courses in the US.

“When MOOC certificates become a part of every job seeker’s resume, employers will pay more attention to them,” added Li Ping.

As for the future of MOOCs in China, Li Ping estimated it will take at least another five years before the courses go from being a novelty to employers to something that separates a job seeker from their competition.

Posted in: Metro Beijing

MOOC中国接受环球时报采访的中文稿

环球时报:请简介一下MOOC在中国的发展情况?有相关数据吗?以MOOC中国为例,课程开设数,注册用户数,证书颁发数的具体增长数值?
MOOC中国:MOOC这种新的在线教育模式应该是2013年至2014年在国内兴起的,这归功于教育部近两年的政策推动、各种大学名校和网易等互联网企业的共同参与。目前已经成功运行的MOOC平台中,由大学自办的有清华大学“学堂在线”,上海交大“好大学在线”,这些网站都能够提供证书,其中“学堂在线”有一门较著名的课程《心理学概论》目前报名人数已达4.4万人左右,可见受欢迎程度;另外一门很火的课程是《财务分析与决策》报名人数接近3.5万。这门课刚在今年6月底结课,当时还在清华大学组织了线下活动,现场颁发由授课老师签名的纸质证书,全国各地的众多学习者都亲自赶来领证。2014年行业内比较重大的事件是“中国大学MOOC平台”的成立,这是一个具有教育部背景的联盟平台,由高教出版社和网易合办,目前已经上线84门课程,这些课程全部由全国众多高校提供,预计下半年会有更多大学加入。

MOOC.CN(MOOC中国)在MOOC行业中所起的作用是信息聚合,即发掘有价值的课程信息并推荐给学习者,这样他们就不用在网上盲目找课,浪费精力和时间。网站每天都会有2千多个新增的ip或用户来访问,可见这种新型教育模式正在网上逐步传播,并且可持续地被人们所认可和接受。我们目前收录了国内外优秀的课程约180门,证书的颁发是由原课程的提供方来颁发,比如Coursera和edx这样的机构,MOOC.CN还没有授权来发证书,未来可能会直接参与到课程的制作和发布环节中。

环球时报:作为一个2012年刚刚出现的新兴事物,MOOC证书在中国用人单位的接受度如何?MOOC证书现在对留学和求职,会成为一个加分项目吗?
MOOC中国:这个问题其实可以归结为另一个更本质的问题,即MOOC证书到底意味什么?我比较同意这样一个观点,就是MOOC证书能够证明该学习者具备一个中等水平的自学能力,有可发掘和培养的潜力。大家都知道高等教育的学历和毕业证是企业在招聘时最看重的指标之一,这恐怕源于中国的国情。至少到目前为止,大学教育仍旧是一个比较严谨客观的人才培养和认证体系,它能够一定程度上反映一个人的真实智力素质和基本技能,社会和企业都认可这个体系和这个体系中培养出来的人才,在这点上是难以被其他模式和标准取代的。而MOOC这种模式则和大学精英式的教育方式正好相反,它是大规模的平均化、标准化的网络授课和考试,以自学为主,非常依赖学习者的自觉性和自控能力。比起课堂教育,MOOC的用户覆盖面更广,对学习者的准入门槛自然会降低一些;比起教室里的有人监考,MOOC的考试和认证更依赖于学习者自己的诚信,这些因素都会弱化MOOC证书的效力。如果某个MOOC证书被传统企业认可作为招聘的参考标准之一,那至少说明MOOC教育模式已经部分具备了传统教育中那部分严苛的元素,即能准确反映一个人的能力,又能防止冒充和作假,但实现这点要经过很长时间才行。目前还没见到国内用人单位把MOOC证书作为招聘中重要指标的例子,国外也只有很少企业能够接受MOOC证书作为一个有效的证件认可其价值。未来如果MOOC足够普及,证书的公信力获得提高,相信求职和留学都会把它作为一个有价值的参考。

环球时报:现在MOOC是否大部分作为名校毕业学生用来自我提升的工具,作为传统大学教育的补充?如果一个人是专科甚至自考毕业,不是将MOOC作为锦上添花,而是作为救命稻草和主要知识来源,可行吗?用人单位会承认吗?
MOOC中国:MOOC作为传统大学教育的补充,目前的状况确实是这样,学生自己上网挑选课程,要么想听听与自己老师讲得有什么不同,要么是对其他专业感兴趣,而现实中很难听到同样的课程。一个有趣的现象就是,MOOC的学习者中有很大的人群是那些已经毕业正在工作的年轻人。显然当他们在工作中遇到瓶颈,想充实自己以谋求新的发展和提升时,就把MOOC作为了一个有效的自学手段。有个真实的故事,一个在美留学的生物学硕士毕业后没能找到工作,当他接触到MOOC这种网上学习方式后,选修了很多编程方面的课程,最终成功转专业得到了一份程序员的工作。这种以网络多媒体为载体的自学方式,跨越地理限制,任意挑选名校课程,同时与网络上无数的小伙伴探讨交流,最后还能参加考试来检验自己,是任何其他自学方式都无法比拟的。

专科和自考的同学应该要明白MOOC的一个特点,就是现在所能见到的MOOC课程都是由大学提供。比如Coursera、edX和中国大学MOOC平台,这些网站提供的课程都是由全球各个大学从自己已有的专业课程中筛选提炼出来的,其知识点围绕着大学课程体系,涉及的知识面更宽泛、更基础,适合作为初学某个专业或者跨专业学习的选择,但是想代替完整的大学教育,认为学完某门MOOC就具备了该专业应有的知识和技能,这尚不可能。未来技术发展了,或许很多曾经被认为很难在网上进行的课程都可能会以MOOC的形式轻松实现,到那时或许真的能够成为一个最主要的知识来源。另外,相比大学,一个潜在的MOOC主角尚被人们所忽视,那就是各种企业。如果企业普遍开始发现MOOC的优势,可能会大批介入这个行业,推出各种针对自己员工培训的企业MOOC,以解决企业人力资源管理的难题,那时候MOOC的范畴可能被再次扩大。

环球时报:和传统大学教育以及专业培训相比,MOOC专业程度如何?现在各种专业证书多如牛毛,MOOC证书的含金量如何,如何让潜在的MOOC用户和市场上的用人单位了解MOOC证书的含金量?
MOOC中国:MOOC与大学的精英教育有本质不同,与技能培训为主的专业培训也不同。大学课程体系是经过长期反复验证、精心设计的,这个体系相对封闭但又完整,保证了学生能够在专业方面有足够深度的学习。长达四年的大学教育不可能被一门学时只有几周的MOOC课程所代替,但是MOOC却能让你快速进入一个完全陌生的专业。从整体知识构架上,MOOC不可能完全取代传统的大学课堂教育,但是针对某个知识点,MOOC却又可以开出一门相当有难度和深度的课程。如果MOOC能够和大学学分绑定起来,相信它会取代大学里的部分课程,学生只要在网上学完几门MOOC,就会获得大学予以承认的学分,这些学分最终和其他线下课程的学分加在一起,成为颁发学位证和毕业证的依据。但这么做必定要颠覆我们对大学的传统认知,所以需要大学的主办者自己去判断和尝试。

个人认为社会上的各种专业证书与MOOC证书其实互不冲突,它们是在各自的领域和范畴内存在,互不干扰。这是因为社会专业证书目前都是针对各种技能培训,比如会计、图形设计、厨师、驾驶等等,它能够证明你具备某种职业技能,作为员工能够立即开始为雇主工作。而MOOC证书目前主要围绕大学的各种课程,并由大学颁发,它只能够证明你具备一定的自学能力和专业基础知识。这时证书含金量的多少,多半取决于课程的提供者,即某个大学或者讲师。比如之前提到清华大学的《财务分析与决策》,这门课最终颁发的证书被学习者非常珍惜,甚至不愿万里来北京领取纸质证书,这多少能反映名牌大学的证书在人们心中的地位。而大学在颁发MOOC证书时也会相当谨慎以维护自己的声誉,不可能让它越位取代大学正规的学位证书。我觉得今后教育行业里应该多探索如何在制度和技术方面让MOOC这种模式具备更高的学习效率和考评精准度,MOOC证书的含金量会随之提高。当每个求职者的简历里都夹着MOOC证书时,企业自然而然会重视起来。

环球时报:您认为在中国,大概还需要多长时间来普及MOOC证书在雇主和学生之间的可信度?
MOOC中国:这个时间要看整个MOOC行业的发展是否顺利。目前这种教育模式在国外还在进行商业尝试,Coursera已经开始提供须付费的证书,即听课是免费,但获取证书要交几十美元到上百美元的费用,也就是说,不管雇主认不认可,MOOC证书已经开始收费了,并且学生愿意掏钱。在国内,MOOC还只是少数先知先觉的大学和互联网企业的游戏,人们的传统教育观念尚未被撼动,普及证书更不可能一蹴而就,保守估计要5年以上甚至更久。要强调一下,MOOC今后发展是否能提供更高的学习效率、考评精准度和更强的权威性,将决定MOOC证书最终能否被人们所认可。

文章来源:http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/871111.shtml

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