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Alamo Colleges District offers CodeUp students free online certification courses

A wall of windows with pillars holding banners with the Alamo Colleges symbol in each of the five colleges' colors at the community college system's central office.
Camille Phillips

The Alamo Colleges District (ACD) announced on Friday they would offer recently enrolled CodeUp students the opportunity to access their catalog of Coursera’s Career Academy professional education courses for six months for free following the abrupt collapse of CodeUp last month.

Staff and students were informed that CodeUp was shutting down at the end of December, and there were major layoffs hours after longtime CEO Jason Straughan announced his resignation on Dec. 8.

Students who were unable to complete their coursework at CodeUp can apply to take Coursera courses through ACD.

ACD Chief Online Learning Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor Luke Dowden said the idea came from a number of his colleagues.

“I’ve got to give credit to a lot of our colleagues internally,” Dowden said. “Anytime we see people in our community in distress, especially around a learning opportunity, we want to be the first to respond.”

He said ACD’s goal was to ensure these students had somewhere to go.

“This learning format may not work for everyone, but we want a safe, quality place for those learners to land,” Dowden said. “We don’t want them to be stranded.”

Coursera offers more than 30 professional certificates. ACD Director of Online Learning Austin Baker Wiese said they’re a legitimate pathway to real skills.

“These aren’t just any courses,” Wiese said. “These are professional certificates that are created by Google, by IBM, by Meta, by Intuit, by Salesforce, and the folks that were taking courses at CodeUp know that and they respect these names. And this is a great opportunity for them to explore this area.”

The online flier for CodeUp students to apply to get access to Coursera through Alamo Colleges District.
Alamo Colleges District - https://www.alamo.edu/codeup/
Recently enrolled CodeUp students can go to alamo.edu/codeup/ to get six free months of Coursera access.

Wiese said since Friday, ACD has already received 23 applications to utilize Coursera Career Academy, and that they hope for more.

It’s not clear how many CodeUp students were enrolled and unable to finish their programs at CodeUp, but Dowden said the enrollment period at ACD will remain open, and that the six free months will only begin after a student signs up.

“We did not have a list, nor do we have a list now, from CodeUp,” he said. “I wish we did. We would be glad to do outreach to those learners directly.”

Dowden added that Coursera courses take an average of a month to complete and receive a certification for full-time workers, but that the pacing is determined by individual students. He said ACD worked hard to get these resources out quickly.

“I cannot imagine my institution — and I’ve been to three now — just closing all of the sudden in the middle of my studies,” he said. “Putting ourselves in the place of that learner, I think that’s why we acted as quickly as we did.”

CodeUp students can go to alamo.edu/CodeUp to fill out a contact form and gain access to the Coursera Career Academy.

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