Saturday, November 12, 2016

Why Udacity and EdX Want to Trademark the Degrees of the Future—and What’s at Stake for Students - Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge

No one owns the term “master’s degree.” But upstart education providers dream of getting a lock on the words for the next generation of online graduate certifications. Their strategy says a lot about how today’s online programs differ from those in the past (Hint: duration and price are just one part of that). Udacity won a trademark for Nanodegree last year. And in April, the nonprofit edX, founded by MIT and Harvard University to deliver online courses by a consortium of colleges, applied for a trademark on the word MicroMasters. And MicroDegree? Yep, that’s trademarked too, by yet another company. Sean Gallagher, chief strategy officer at Northeastern University’s Global Network, picked up on this trend recently and wondered what’s going on. He knows the space well, since he literally wrote the book on “ The Future of University Credentials.” The trademarked words don’t mean much today, since they “aren’t really recognized by employers yet,” Gallagher says.

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