What does “stackability” of online programs mean?
Stackability is one of the exciting, unique aspects that sets Gies’ online programs apart. You can think of stackability starting with an individual Lego piece, which can be a single video or a short series of videos covering a particular topic. Then you can put these blocks together in all kinds of ways and build out different pieces. The first thing Gies did was put a collection of Lego blocks of prerecorded material together in MOOCs. Anybody in the world can browse the Coursera website and either take an entire course worth of material or just sample what you want. For example, more than 300,000 students have taken Gies’ Marketing in a Digital World course via Coursera. The free videos don’t give you any credit, but you get a lot of really good content.
The next step in the building block is to watch all the videos for the class, and then maybe you decide you also want to take two other MOOCs around digital marketing. Then after you’ve completed those three courses, you can pay for a certificate from Coursera that says you completed those courses. They don’t count for university credit; however, the Coursera certificate is one of the most widely used credentials on LinkedIn.
The next layer of stackability is to get access to the live sessions and take the course for graduate credit at the University of Illinois. You can do that without signing up for a degree. You can take the course for credit, earn a grade, take an assessment, and now you can have a University of Illinois transcript that shows you completed that credit. You can transfer that credit to another program or you can apply to the iMBA or iMSA (online master’s in accounting) having already successfully completed one of the required courses.
Finally, you can decide to fully join the iMBA or iMSA program. You need to apply and get accepted. Then you pay university tuition, take all the required courses for the degree, and get access to the full suite of University of Illinois resources. Upon completion of the program, you’ll earn a full graduate degree from one of the world’s top universities.
The great thing about stackability is it allows you to try things out. Do you like this environment? Do you have the discipline to do this work? Because it’s free or nearly free, there is very little risk to trying it out. That’s the magic, and it’s very different than the other online programs that exist.
Read more about Gies on our Partner Publisher page.