Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

Lifelong learner explores Michigan Online

Alumni now eligible for free online courses

By Laurel Thomas

No charge

Beginning Sept. 4, the University of Michigan’s 583,000 alumni worldwide can join faculty, staff and students from all three campuses to earn individual course and course series certificates offered by Michigan Online at no cost.

Michigan Online is U-M’s new global learning community that houses the University’s digital learning opportunities.

“A lifelong dedication to learning and skill development is critical to leading and advancing in today’s rapidly evolving world. Our alumni understand this, and are constantly finding ways to push the boundaries of every profession worldwide,” said James DeVaney, associate vice provost for academic innovation.

“Michigan Online offers an amazing opportunity for alumni to continue to build their skills and knowledge base, while expanding their network within the global University of Michigan community. It’s also only the beginning. We are committed to unlocking Michigan’s inimitable combination of academic quality, capacity and breadth for all alumni as we seek new ways to equip them for lifelong learning and leadership.”

The announcement by the Office of Academic Innovation expands the program rolled out in May to now include 91 courses developed by U-M faculty and instructional teams offered by Michigan Online through both the edX and Coursera online platforms.

While access to online courses on both Coursera and edX generally is free to all learners the certificates have carried price tags. These could total approximately $500 for a six-month series of courses. The fees are waived for all enrolled students, staff, faculty and alumni from the three campuses.

A certificate confirms successful completion of a course, or collection of courses, and can be included in a resume, mentioned in a job application or shared via social media, such as LinkedIn. Certificates are not official professional or academic credits.

Faculty, students and staff already have begun to take advantage of this new benefit over the summer as Michigan Online continues to expand the depth and breadth of learning opportunities available to all learners.

Laurel Thomas

Laurel Thomas

LAUREL THOMAS has worked for the University of Michigan since 2001. She began her career as a reporter and anchor for radio and television. She later worked in public relations for a small hospital and a chamber of commerce in Northern Michigan, and prior to U-M at a statewide social service agency, serving as director of communications. She has held faculty positions in broadcast journalism, journalism, and public relations. Follow Thomas on Twitter: @laurelthom.