Faculty, staff and students can earn free Coursera certifications


Ever have someone say you would be a good manager but you hesitate to go for a leadership role because you don’t feel qualified?

Have you ever designed a course and wished you could pull in the expertise of other colleagues on campus?

Are you an LSA student who would like some business experience to round out your resume, but can’t fit one more elective course into your schedule?

Current students, faculty and staff members at all three University of Michigan campuses can now earn a verified certificate free of charge for courses developed by U-M faculty and instructional teams and delivered on the Coursera online platform.

Coursera for Michigan guides the campus community through a growing list of massive open online courses, specializations and global learning events that address timely topics facing society through the Teach-out Series. At present, the list includes more than 65 courses and 14 teach-outs, with more offered each month.

“The new Coursera for Michigan initiative extends U-M’s commitment to innovative teaching and learning by providing benefits close to home,” says James DeVaney, associate vice provost for academic innovation.

“We’re able to help students seeking to personalize and supplement their educational pathways, university employees seeking targeted professional development opportunities, and any member of our diverse university community seeking to explore a new topic of interest.”

While access to the courses generally is free to all learners, the certificates have carried price tags, which could total approximately $500 for a six-month series of courses. These fees are waived for all enrolled students, staff and faculty on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses.

A verified certificate is an official Coursera credential that confirms successful completion of a course, which can be included in a resume, mentioned in a job application or shared via social media, such as LinkedIn. Coursera Certificates are not official professional or academic credits.

The U-M community may access Coursera for Michigan through Michigan Online, a new portal to explore and engage with online learning experiences developed at Michigan.

“The new Michigan Online portal aligns well with our overarching professional development strategy and furthers our ability to create an institution that is innovative, dynamic, and inclusive for everyone,” said Sonya Jacobs, chief organizational learning officer. “Through the portal and the Coursera for Michigan initiative, we are able to deliver world class learning opportunities to all U-M staff in support of individual and organizational development goals.”

Since U-M became a founding partner with Coursera in 2012, Michigan courses have totaled nearly 6 million enrollments and have reached learners in more than 190 countries around the world.

Offerings include massive open online courses — or MOOCs — on Python programming and finance, and teach-outs on sleep deprivation and data privacy, among others. Courses are led and taught by U-M faculty and instructional teams, with occasional contributions from experts outside of the university.

“As an artist, it is important for me to stay informed and educated about the subjects surrounding the work I’m doing in order to bring it to its full potential,” said Claire Abdo, a senior majoring in art and design in the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design. “With Coursera for Michigan, I’m planning to take courses in data science this summer to expand my knowledge in a subject I wish I could take during the school year but can’t get to.”

Individual courses and series are flexible, self-paced and range in length from four to 12 weeks, with approximately two to 10 hours of effort per week.

A U-M uniqname and password are required to access Coursera for Michigan.

Enrollees may take part in as many learning opportunities as they would like. As additional Michigan courses are made available on the Coursera platform they will be accessible on Coursera for Michigan.



  1. Ryan Berlin
    on July 12, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Too bad it doesn’t cover alumni. Otherwise, this is a great option for students taking a semester of for whatever reason.

    Some of the Michigan made specializations on Coursera look very interesting.

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