A Dutch man, Erik Wouters, and an American, Christopher Ohara, are the very first students to be selected via Coursera for the EIT Digital Master School. Both have chosen the entire EIT Digital Embedded Systems programme on Coursera. Having done the first semester entirely online, they will now enroll for the second semester of the two-year EIT Digital Master School. The partner university Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) welcomes the online selected students this month.
The EIT Digital Academy is the first European education organisation that digitally transforms the selection processes like this for new Master School students. EIT Digital Online Education lead Martijn Klabbers explains: “The online semester is unique and will allow students in the EIT Digital Master School Embedded Systems programme to follow the first semester of the programme completely online. It allows us to select the best students in the world to enter the EIT Digital Master School that is educating people to drive Europe’s digital transformation. This way of selecting students for a double degree Masters Programme is the very first in the world and marks a further step in our digital education transformation.”
The online semester on Embedded Systems on Coursera consists of about 20 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that are produced in cooperation with several European partner universities and also Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Everybody can take part in these MOOCs. The entire online semester is worth 30 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) points which is equivalent to a half year’s attendance on the EIT Digital Master School programme Embedded Systems. Those who follow all MOOCs can be selected to enrol in the second semester of the EIT Digital Master School Programme Embedded Systems.
Of all the students starting the online MOOCS, Wouters and Ohara were the only ones to successfully complete the programme. They met their fellow students for the first time during the Winter School in Eindhoven.
After studying Science Technology at the Californian Polytechnic State University and six years of work experience, 33 year-old Ohara, from Los Angeles, wanted a new challenge. “My dream is to become a top roboticist. I found MOOCs could teach me the necessary skills. These turned out to be from the EIT Digital programme, the Internet of Things (IoT). When I had finished a few courses, I received an email saying that I was making good progress and therefore had the chance to be selected for the EIT Digital Master School. I was excited. EIT Digital Master School’s international programme is not just international because of the students, it is also creating an international network. So, I did the selection and was admitted!”
After his bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering at the Delft University of Technology and some work and travel experience, 28 year-old Wouters wanted to apply for the EIT Digital Master School in July 2017. He was too late. The admission procedure had closed. “Then I found EIT Digital on Coursera and became aware of the chance to still be admitted. I started right away, finished all MOOCs in time and passed the selection. The online courses are well-structured, especially the ones on Embedded Systems. It is a great opportunity now to study at two universities. That is the best part: you got to see twice as much.”
The TU/e is, as partner of EIT Digital, piloting this way of selecting students for the EIT Digital Master School Programme Embedded Systems. It is expected that other EIT Digital partner universities offering the Embedded Systems programme will also use this selection method in future. EIT Digital wants to roll out more online semesters on Coursera for its Master School programmes in the future as the demand for more flexible learning models increases. Klabbers reveals that partner universities now are working on an online programme on Data Science that aligns with the EIT Digital Master School Programme Data Science.
EIT Digital Master School
Students on EIT Digital Master School programmes spend their first year in one of EIT Digital’s 18 European partner universities and must complete their second year in another. Upon completion, they receive two master school degrees plus a certificate from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The Embedded programme involves several partner universities including the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden, the Technical University of Berlin (TUB) in Germany, the Aalto University in Finland, and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary.