MicroMasters Biobased Sciences for Sustainability: a new opportunity for lifelong learners

By: Denise Bood · 28 December 2016
Category: Governance & Policy, Projects

On January 24th, the first course of the new MicroMasters Biobased Sciences for Sustainability will start. ‘MicroMasters’ is a brand-new credential that was launched by edX and 15 of the world’s leading universities. Learn more about this exciting new opportunity to keep learning!

MicroMasters Biobased

What is a MicroMasters?

The MicroMasters is a first-of-its-kind credential, which allows participants to earn university credits. It is designed for participants who are looking for in-demand knowledge in order to advance their careers or for participants hoping to be accepted into an accelerated on-campus program.

Our MicroMasters, Biobased Sciences and Sustainability, consists of 5 MOOCs, a capstone project and an exam. If participants successfully complete the full MicroMasters Program, which equals 24 ECTS of course work for the corresponding campus master, they may apply for admission to our on-campus programme (normal admission requirements apply). If participants are admitted, they can accelerate their programme by using the 24 credits they earned towards their on-campus study programme.

The 5 MOOCs of the MicroMasters will be released throughout 2017. Once they are running, participants can follow the MOOC for at least a year. This design offers participants a high level of flexibility allowing them to study while still working. Following the full MicroMasters while earning credit costs just 1200 US Dollars. However, the MOOCs are free for those participants who do not wish to earn credit, sit an exam or receive a certificate.

biobased

MicroMasters Biobased Sciences for Sustainability

The MicroMasters Biobased Sciences for Sustainability deals with a changing world that is moving from using fossil resources to sustainable biobased resources. In this new world, it’s critical to determine if alternative biobased resources have the potential to become truly sustainable and economically viable. For companies in the biobased field, it’s important to know the challenges that lie ahead. This MicroMasters Program is intended for those currently working in the energy, chemical and biotech industries. It will focus on the use of chemical and biotechnological approaches for the production of energy-carriers, polymers, chemical building blocks and materials from renewable resources and waste streams.

A credential for professionals

With this concept, we hope to bridge the knowledge gap between higher education and the workplace. In our experience, many professionals are interested in high-quality academic courses but they just can’t fit the 2-year master’s degree study into their busy lives. Besides, if you already have a degree, why would you bother getting another one?

With the MicroMasters, we can really offer a package of interesting courses to professionals . We can offer courses focussing on theoretical background rather than teaching practical lab skills. Participants interested in more practical skills may enrol in the on-campus master’s programme after completing the online MicroMasters. – Sonja Isken, Director of the MSc programmes in Biotechnology at Wageningen University & Research.

The 5 MOOCs of Biobased Sciences and Sustainability comprise a very interesting package: many professionals in the industry are traditionally trained and want to expand their toolbox to be able to facilitate and evaluate their company’s transition to more sustainable product chains and ultimately a more sustainable business. This MicroMasters will offer professionals a great opportunity to fill this gap. – Harry Bitter, professor Biobased Chemistry and Technology; Wageningen University & Research.

 

Campus innovation

The project is not only about new credentials, it also helps driving campus innovation. We are in the process of developing courses for our new Biobased Sciences MSc programme, which gives rise to interesting opportunities, as Sonja Isken and Anja Kuipers (programme directors of the MSc programmes in Plant Sciences) point out:

For the MOOCs, we have to put a lot of effort into creating good online material. Combined with all the rich interactive teaching methods used on campus, we will be able to offer our participants an innovative, state-of-the-art, blended programme! That’s why we fully support this development.

The future

Will we offer more? We certainly hope so! By linking our full MicroMasters programme to one of our current on-campus programmes and offering university credit at the master’s degree level, we are recognizing the academic value of following all five MOOCs and the new opportunities they create: allowing professionals to earn a meaningful credential to put on their CV. Since other universities will now be able to recognize these programmes, students could possibly add minors and MicroMasters from the best universities in the world to their programmes.

The first course of the MicroMasters starts at January 24, 2017. Feel free to share the news with anyone who might be interested!

Denise Bood

There is one comment.

  1. By: Andreas Heusner · 12-03-2018 at 14:59

    Your MicroMasters initiative looks like meeting my interests of developing new skills parallel with driving my own business. I definitely will have an eye on it.

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