Over 16,000 learners have chosen to enroll in AlaskaX courses from UAF through the edX platform. AlaskaX now features 12 courses, which are available for free to anyone in the world with an internet connection.

Map showing that 26% of edX learners on AlaskaX are in the USA, 4% are in Canada, 2% are in UK, 2% are in Pakistan and 3% are in India.Who are these learners? Where do they come from and why do they seek out these learning opportunities? Since our courses began a year ago, we have learned about what kinds of learners from across the globe find themselves in an open course from UAF.

First, these learners come from over 140 different countries. Most already have a college degree, and many are already mid-career. A surprising number already have advanced degrees. The average age of learners in AlaskaX courses is 33.

For example, across the three courses comprising the GIS Essentials Professional Certificate, 47% of learners have a bachelor’s degree and 28% have a master’s degree. Fifteen percent of learners are from the US, 5% are from India, and 3% are from the UK.

Many learners seek out courses on edX to gain specific skills to use in their chosen field, or to move into new career paths. Below are a few learners who embody the variety of backgrounds and motivations of learners taking courses on AlaskaX.

  • A student of urban planning from Kenya trying to improve their GIS skills
  • A civil servant in Canada interested in Arctic policies and trends.
  • A master’s student from Afghanistan interested in applying GIS to hydrological modelling.
  • A medical doctor in California interested in integrating One Health concepts into medical school curricula.
  • A football club sales director in Uganda hoping to expand their knowledge of sports sales.
  • A lawyer from Syria interested in working in the sports industry.
  • A retired person from the United Kingdom involved in salmon habitat restoration efforts.

Each course on AlaskaX gives students the opportunity to provide feedback at the end of their learning experience. We ask them how the course can be improved, as well as what they found to be valuable in the course. Some of them are kind enough to allow their feedback to be shared. Here are a few testimonials from AlaskaX learners:

I’ve spent most of my career as a university administrator, but am now working in public health. University of Alaska Fairbanks appears to be strides ahead of others in building true relationships with its constituents. I’m encouraging the Klamath Nation youth with whom I work to consider UAF for their continued education.
— Valeree Lane, verified learner, One Health: A Ten Thousand Year-Old View into the Future

This course has continual progression with clear referencing to where new information has been touched upon before in previous course content. The fluidity of the programme has changed my perception as to how influential online education can be. Fantastic.
— Robert Mann, verified learner, Remote Sensing of Wildfires

I loved the hands-on exercises. I have been wanting to get better GIS knowledge and each time I thought it would be too difficult with a full-time job. Having the modules broken down in videos helped me start and work at my own pace until I felt comfortable applying what I learned to create my own reports.
— Verified learner, GIS Foundations

Even as an introductory course, Sport Business Foundations helps guide you through a viable path to getting your foot in the door to just about every sport industry.
— Cameron Bryant, verified learner, Sport Business Foundations