Can MOOC Programs Improve Student Employment Prospects?

Aboozar Hadavand , Johns Hopkins University
Ira Gooding, Johns Hopkins University
Jeffrey Leek, Johns Hopkins University

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) exploded into popular consciousness in the early 2010s. Huge enrollment numbers set expectations that MOOCs might be a major disruption to the educational landscape. However, there is still uncertainty about the new types of credentials awarded upon completion of MOOCs. We surveyed close to 9,000 learners of the largest data science MOOC program to assess the economic impact of completing these programs on employment prospects. We find that completing the program that costs less than $500 led to, on average, an increase in salary of $8,230 and an increase in the likelihood of job mobility of 30 percentage points. This high return on investment suggests that MOOCs can have real economic benefits for participants.

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 Presented in Session 169. Flash Session: New Directions in Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality