Certification group says five Coursera classes measure up, but universities must decide whether to award formal credit.
12 Best iPhone, iPad Apps Of 2012
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Some Coursera students might be able to get college credit for their courses, after Wednesday's move by the American Council on Education (ACE) to certify five Coursera classes.
Coursera, which offers massive online open courses, also known as MOOCs, is one of several efforts to bring higher education online. It now has a lineup of more than 200 classes, organized and taught by professors at 33 universities.
The ACE, a higher education organization, certified "Pre-Calculus" and "Algebra," both offered by The University of California, Irvine; "Introduction to Genetics and Evolution" and "Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach," both offered by Duke University; and "Calculus: A Single Variable," offered by University of Pennsylvania. Four of these are for college credit; the fifth, Algebra, is a developmental math class for vocational schools.
Coursera noted that more than 2,000 universities and colleges consider ACE recommended-courses for credit. But schools do not have to give credit for such classes. Even the schools that are offering the classes say they don't plan to give students credit for taking them. Officials at Duke, Penn and UC-Irvine told The Wall Street Journal they have no plans to offer formal credit for these classes.
One stumbling block in giving credit for classes has been that online courses are still developing some of the measures used to assess student performance, such as exams and grades. Coursera noted that students who would like to receive a college credit for the classes must sign up for the course in what it calls Signature Track. That verifies the student's participation. The student must also pay to take a proctored exam, through ProctorU, a separate company. Students then must request a transcript for the courses through ACE.
The five classes certified by ACE are the only Coursera courses that currently offer Signature Track. Later in February, two more classes will become part of Signature Track.
One university that is giving credit for MOOCs is Colorado State University-Global Campus, a fully online, regionally-accredited university that last year said it would give full transfer credit for students who completed Udacity's "Introduction to Computer Science: Building a Search Engine." Udacity is a Coursera competitor.
Some schools have developed for-credit classes with MOOC providers. San Jose State University and Udacity are piloting two basic math classes and one introductory statistics class for credit. EdX, a non-profit MOOC put together by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is piloting for-credit computer science classes at Bunker Hill Community College and MassBay Community College.
ACE began evaluating the classes at Coursera's request in November 2012. In January, ACE said that it would also evaluate four classes from Udacity. Those classes include "Developmental Math (pre-algebra)," "College Algebra," "Elementary Statistics" and "Introduction to Computer Science." Of the four, all but the introductory computer science class are being piloted for credit by San Jose State.
ACE cited interest from its members in MOOCs as a way to improve the number of students who complete degrees -- almost half of students who attend two and four-year schools fail to earn a degree within six years of starting -- and to expand curriculum offerings.
The certification announcement is a bit of good news for Coursera, which earlier this week had to pull a course offline, due to technical and other issues.
Cloud Connect returns to Silicon Valley, April 2-5, 2013, for four days of lectures, panels, tutorials and roundtable discussions on a comprehensive selection of cloud topics taught by leading industry experts. Join us in Silicon Valley to see new products, keep up-to-date on industry trends and create and strengthen professional relationships. Use Priority Code DIWEEK2 by Feb. 9 to save up to $500. Register for Cloud Connect now.
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
CIOs Get Smart About BIIT’s tried for years to simplify business intelligence efforts. Have visual analysis tools and Hadoop and NoSQL databases helped? Respondents to our 2014 InformationWeek Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Information Management Survey have a mixed outlook.
. We've got a management crisis right now, and we've also got an engagement crisis. Could the two be linked? Tune in for the next installment of IT Life Radio, Wednesday May 20th at 3PM ET to find out.