The rise of online courses is a gift to learners around the world. Whether you want to change careers or simply improve your skills in your current field, there are hundreds of options just a few clicks away. While there are many online courses these days, they are known to fall short on too many points. Some hardly examine the most important subjects thoroughly, while others show a poor quality of education.
Emeritus breaks this stereotype by partnering with world-renowned universities and their leading professors to design courses in a world of disciplines. Their curricula design aims to exceed the mainstream quality of the university to showcase the best course work from around the world.
The process of building these courses is much more complex than sending a few emails back and forth. Emeritus’ Instructional Design Team works closely with professors for months to build a custom course without extra fluff. Each course is different, with professors providing participants with the same quality instruction they passed on to college students in successful positions.
We spoke with Lisa Brem, the Director of Design at Emeritus, to give you a better idea of how these courses come together and what makes them so special.
Emeritus builds each course in a methodical process to provide students with the best possible experience as they embark on an upskilling or retraining journey.
Discover more about Emeritus and his offerings today.
What is Emeritus?
Emeritus is an online education platform that provides quality education in various technical and business disciplines, in partnership with top universities around the world. Each Emeritus course and bootcamp offers top partner school faculties, outstanding course designs and impressive results. Whether you’re interested in business management, leadership, data science, coding, or entrepreneurship, this platform has you covered.
For example, you could take an online Digital Transformation course from UC Berkeley to help take your business into the 21st century. What if you don’t have a management level and want to start a new career? If you have a passion for graphic design or feel like you are a great communicator, then advertising and marketing communications strategy from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management may be more for you.
Emeritus has several courses that cover different levels of multiple industries. And they don’t just build them.
How does Emeritus build its online courses?
The course structure at emeritus is very close to the university experience, according to Lisa Brem, the director of Design for Short Courses at Emeritus. “Learning to be able to communicate with real people and grapple with real problems will give them insights and knowledge that they can apply in their work,” said Lisa.
Her resume speaks for itself. She has significant experience in academia, much of that experience being directly assisting or guiding instruction at the highest level. For about the first 10 years of her career, Lisa worked for Harvard Business School, helping the faculty develop case studies, notes, simulations, and book chapters. She spent the next seven as Director of Teaching and Learning at Harvard Law School.
After nearly two decades at Harvard, she joined Emeritus.
Step 1. Identify new courses
Because what students need is constantly changing, Emeritus looks at a few key metrics when identifying new courses to offer. “Our market research and product development team is constantly looking for the next big thing or essential skills to advance in the market,” said Lisa. “Our program design is based on learning outcomes and we work backwards from there.”
According to Debajeet Das, regional director of the product team, ideas can come from anywhere.
“Inspiration is drawn from trends in the job market, such as job data, skills gaps and diploma awarding,” Debajeet said. “But we also draw from primary industry research, such as trends and developments in business, technology and innovation, along with interviews, surveys and industry input.”
In addition to its own research, the team also calls on ideas from its own faculty.
†[The Product Team] also closely studies faculty research areas and identifies the type of courses that are a good fit for the college brand,” said Debajeet. “The course ideas undergo a rigorous filtering process, with only the ideas with significant demand and a large total addressable market making the cut.”
Step 2. Determine course layout
After the Product team determines a possible course, Emeritus works closely with its partners to develop the program. Each course can be one of five options, according to Lisa.
Short-form certificates contain six to twelve modules, while long-form certificates consist of 12 or more modules. Students should expect to spend four to six hours on each module in these courses. More intensive subjects may require a boot camp environment, where students take 18 to 28 modules requiring 15 to 20 hours of study per module.
Senior Executive Program Online (SEPO) courses last 16 to 20 modules and require three to five hours of study each. These courses also include student choice of electives that require students to spend four to six hours on each module.
Once both emeritus and the university in question have chosen a format, the next step is to create the learning experience.
Step 3. Build the Course
“Once we start working with the faculty, we will integrate insights from these three pillars for a unique learning experience: the human element, applied learning, and collaboration between educators and educational designers,” said Lisa.
The human element of the course takes into account the style and passions of instructors. Students get information in small chunks that are easier to digest, and they also get personalized feedback to help them grow. The hybrid asynchronous/synchronous structure is also made for busy students, who learn from recorded material and live lectures while building a close community with their peers.
Applied learning is the process of giving students engaging assignments that help them understand the material rather than simply memorizing it. Students receive scripts and practice simulations of real-life professional events they may encounter in their careers. Students learn how to handle these situations through real-world examples and case studies, while also hearing industry perspectives.
Collaboration delivers the important content at the heart of every course. Emeritus works with higher academic minds and implements best practices in education design to build immersive courses. These courses include engaging, high-production videos to make learning easier, and a learner-centric UX to keep learners coming back.
With these three pillars in mind, the work begins.
“Over the 25 weeks that follow, we focus on creating a course that adds value to a learner’s professional life by aligning their learning goals with all elements of the course,” said Lisa.
Step 4. Backward Design Methodology and the Quality Matters Project
The Backward Design Methodology (BWD) and the Quality Matters Project (QM) are two aspects of course design that Karen Mahon, Director of Design at Emeritus, introduced to the company. These principles help Emeritus design courses that outperform the competition and make it easy to choose the brand over others in the market.
“As the name suggests, the Backward Design Methodology is the process of designing courses by identifying learning outcomes and then working backwards,” Karen said. “We identify the input needed for those results. This design method is effective in developing instruction for students of all ages. Using BWD, we create unique, interactive learning experiences that include a combination of assessments, hands-on activities, skills applications and more.”
Quality Matters Project works the same way by giving Emeritus a strong rubric to follow while creating courses.
“QM is a global organization focused on delivering quality standards for online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments,” said Lisa. “The strict QM criteria ensure quality standardization for courses for every student who invests in upskilling and retraining.”
By ensuring that every course follows the strict principles of QM, Emeritus ensures that students only learn courses if they meet the organization’s own high standards. However, like everything with Emeritus, relationships are the most important part of the process. In this case, the relationship between the organization and the faculty that creates the course.
“We really have a ‘handmade’ approach to the work we do,” said Lisa.
Find a reliable online course today
Emeritus offers quality courses created by leading minds in their field and built in a patient and meticulous process. The organization does not rush any course, it takes just over two years to ensure that the course value matches what students expect from these well-known universities and their faculties.
To learn more about what the platform has to offer first-hand, visit the Emeritus site today and find a course that’s right for you.
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