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Select MOOCs approved to award college credit


Thursday, February 07, 2013

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have made higher education accessible to millions of individuals around the world. While these free online classes have always been a benefit for high school students preparing for college, they have been for personal development only as MOOCs do not award college credit. However, this is about to change. MOOC provider Coursera recently announced that five of its online courses will award college credits.

The American Council on Education's (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service recently evaluated the academic rigor of five courses offered through Coursera and found that the quality and structure of the classes are closely aligned to those of traditional college courses. As such, students who complete these courses will be awarded college credit. In order to successfully earn their credits, however, students must take an identity-verified and proctored exam before they are issued a transcript. Fees range between $65 and $90 for the exam and between $30 and $99 for the identity verification.

The five courses are Pre-calculus, Introduction to Genetics and Evolution, Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach, Calculus: Single Variable, and Algebra, though the last course will only be available as a developmental math vocational credit.

While this is good news for students hoping to leverage the power of online learning as they pursue a college degree, the issue of whether all colleges will accept credits earned in this manner remains unclear. Cathy A. Sandeen, ACE's vice president for education attainment and innovation, told The Chronicle of Higher Education it is still up to individual educational establishments to decide what credits to accept.

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