Topica-Vinh University launches initiative in Vietnam to recognize credits for online courses through Coursera

(March 31, 2016) At a Forbes Conference on Fostering Innovation in Hochiminh City earlier this month, Topica Edtech Group announced one of the first official initiatives in Asia where a non-Coursera member university, Vinh University, will recognize credits for blended online courses on Coursera, an online education company that offers over 1,800 online courses from top universities around the world.

Ms. Rebecca Taber, Head of Government Partnerships, Coursera, Mr. Pham Minh Tuan, CEO Topica EdTech Group, and Delegates at Forbes Conference, HCMC, March 8th, 2016

“We're really excited to partner with Topica because Coursera's mission is universal access to world-class education, which is similar to Topica’s mission to bring affordable, high-quality education to the masses,” said Rebecca Taber, Head of Government Partnerships at Coursera.

Selected students will study online with Coursera’s video-based courses, discuss with local tutors via live video and discussion forums on the Topica-Vinh University online degree platform, and after taking an exam get credits towards a Vinh University Bachelor’s degree program. They will also receive Coursera Certificates for completing each course, which will help enhance their career opportunities.

This arrangement will provide wraparound supports for students to promote completion of Coursera courses, offered by many of the world’s recognized universities. Among students taking Topica’s tutored, serviced courses, 92% complete the first trimester, and 82% complete all courses during the first 12 months (which means 12-15 courses). This “12-month retention rate” is comparable to the Top 4 among online college program in the US, according to a survey by AskForEducation. Topica attributes this retention to its blended learning method, which enhance the usual online lectures with live tutoring, forum discussions, occasional face-to-face sessions, timely support services, gamification mechanics, 3D simulations, drop-out prediction and prevention techniques.

According to Taber, partnerships with companies such as Topica can add value by increasing support services for students while improving program completion rates.

“What Coursera provides to learners is content from top universities that you might not be able to access, either because you don’t live in the country where the schools are based or you don’t have time to enroll in the full-time program. So we offer that access and also a number of services to help students complete the program. I think what really makes our partnerships exciting is having additional resources and support to ensure our students are successful,” she added.

The integration of online courses from leading universities through the Coursera platform will further Topica’s mission of delivering high-quality, affordable education to underserved students, particularly in emerging markets. In the scaled up phase, thousands of students are expected to pay a tuition of under USD 1,000 a year, including all content, tutoring, support services, exams, and credits. This tuition level is about one fifth to one twentieth of what US online degree programs are charging, while students will be receiving world-class content, services and showing top-notch retention rates.

The pilot courses will involve 30 students, who had enrolled in the Topica-Vinh University online Bachelor’s program. They will take courses based on Financial Engineering and Risk Management. After a successful pilot, the goal is to scale up this model across thousands of students, 11 university partners and 30-50% of the courses required for a Bachelor’s degree.

About Topica Edtech Group

Topica Edtech Group is a leading online education provider in South East Asia, with 1,000 full-time staff and 1,800 instructors in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Topica Uni cooperates with 11 universities including top-tier institutions in the Philippines and Vietnam to operate high-quality online degree programs. Topica Native provides online English speech tutoring courses in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, and was the first in the world to launch an English speech tutoring app on an Augmented Reality platform. Topica Edumall is a leading distribution platform for Topica's short and long courses and third-party products. Topica also manages the Thailand and Vietnam chapters of the Silicon-Valley accelerator Founder Institute, whose grads have raised million dollars funding rounds.

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