College credit recommended for free online courses
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 11:52 a.m.
SAN FRANCISCO — Students may soon be able to receive college credit for the free online courses that are reshaping higher education.
The American Council on Education announced Thursday that it is recommending degree credit for five courses offered by Coursera, a Mountain View-based company that provides "massive open online courses" from leading universities.
Many colleges and universities use the association's recommendations to determine whether to grant credit for nontraditional courses.
Molly Corbett Broad, the council's president, said the decision is "an important first step in ACE's work to examine the long-term potential of MOOCs and whether this innovative new approach can engage students across the country and worldwide."
Over the past year, dozens of leading universities have begun offering free, digital versions of their most popular courses, allowing tens of thousands of students to take a class at the same time. But so far, few institutions have offered degree credit for them.
Allowing students to get credit for the massive online courses could help make it easier to earn a college degree, said John Aubrey Douglass, a higher education researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.
"As long as we can assess and ensure quality, it's providing one more way that students can receive an education at an affordable cost," Douglass said.
The American Council on Education, which represents U.S. degree-granting institutions, is recommending credit for five entry-level classes: Algebra and Pre-Calculus from the University of California, Irvine; Introduction to Genetics and Evolution from Duke University; Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach from Duke University; and Calculus: Single Variable from the University of Pennsylvania.
The courses themselves are free, but students seeking credit will need to pay between $100 and $190 to verify their identities, take exams monitored by webcam and receive transcripts with the council's credit recommendations.
Ultimately, the institution where the student wants credit will decide whether the units will count toward a degree.
"There are many working adults today that do not have a college degree. I hope the convenience of an online class can be a first step for many of these adults to go back to school to earn their degrees," Andrew Ng, a Stanford University researcher who co-founded Coursera, told The Associated Press.
Coursera, which now offers more than 200 open courses from 33 institutions, plans to seek the council's credit recommendations for more classes in the future, Ng said. Many of the courses are automated and require little oversight from instructors.
The announcement comes less than a week after Coursera suspended an online course offered by Georgia Institute of Technology because of technical troubles. The course, which was about how to run an online course, will be offered again at later date, Ng said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Motivated quarterback Roethlisberger fights to prop up Steelers
- Kovacevic: Why give credence to Heisman?
- Bengals’ balanced offense poses threat to Steelers
- Pitt’s Donald wins Lombardi Award
- Penguins center Sutter is thriving despite unsettled 3rd line
- Baldwin-Whitehall School Board eliminates controversial administrative position
- Daily News roundup: Top-seeded Elizabeth Forward rolls past Frazier
- High school roundup: Franklin Regional tops Norwin to win host tournament
- Pirates sign free agent pitcher Volquez
- Shaler grad Thorpe finding his way at PSU
- South Allegheny wrestlers shooting for more this season