Making MOOCs More Credible (or creditable)

One sure sign that a concept is trending in higher ed is that business models emerge for how to turn a profit from a concept. As with free, open source products, like the Moodle LMS, companies are created to provide services for colleges to use those "free" tools.

This has happened with the concept of the massive open online course (MOOC). There are MOOC providers, such as edX, that are hoping to make their courses and their “graduates” more credible to employers or traditional schools.

One step edX has take recently is to partner with Pearson VUE to use their testing centers to administer proctored exams for edX’s free, online courses.

Students who pass these proctored exams may find it easier to get credit from their own degree-granting institution, The students will not get credit from edX’s partner universities (including MIT, Harvard University and UC Berkeley) but that must certainly be something the edX will pursue as a next step.

The nonprofit edX gave “certificates of mastery” to the 7,157 students who completed coursework in an electrical engineering course and passed the online final this past spring.

Udacity, a for-profit provider, also partnered with Pearson for testing in June. Coursera, another MOOC provider, has not announced any partnership around site-based testing.

Will site-based testing persuade traditional colleges to accept MOOC credentials for credit toward a degree? 

According to an article on Inside Higher Ed, Colorado State University’s Global Campus, the institution’s accredited online arm, will grant three transfer credits to students who passed the Udacity computer science exam at a Pearson testing center.


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