Granting Credit for MOOCs: ACE Weighs in and Endorses Five Coursera Courses!

Dear Commons Community,

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article in its online edition reporting that the American Council on Education yesterday endorsed five MOOCs for credit.  The article states:

“Two of the approved courses, “Introduction to Genetics and Evolution” and “Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach,” come from Duke University. Two others, “Pre-Calculus” and “Algebra,” come from the University of California at Irvine. The last, “Calculus: Single-Variable,” comes from the University of Pennsylvania. All five are offered through Coursera.

The council, an association that advises college presidents, operates a credit-recommendation service that evaluates individual courses. If a course passes muster, ACE advises its 1,800 member colleges that they can be comfortable conferring credit on students who have passed that course.

Whether colleges take the council’s advice, however, is an open question. “Ultimately, the degree-granting institution decides what credits to accept,” said Cathy A. Sandeen, the council’s vice president for education attainment and innovation.

The article also cites:

“John Ebersole, president of Excelsior College, who said his institution would not accept transfer credits from a Coursera MOOC, notwithstanding the council’s recommendation.

Excelsior, a pioneer of “competency-based” learning, is sympathetic to the notion of granting credit for learning that occurs outside the traditional classroom. But Mr. Ebersole said he was not impressed by Coursera’s assessment methods.

“We would hope that ACE would support a more rigorous process, as is the case with other forms of noncredit instruction, whereby those seeking credit would complete a psychometrically valid assessment in a secure testing facility,” Mr. Ebersole said.

The discussion of MOOcs goes on!