Credit Watch | Saylor.org Courses Approved for Credit At 7 Colleges
It’s not quite MOOCs approved for credit, but it’s getting closer.
Saylor.org, a nonprofit that offers free, self-paced online courses, has gotten three courses approved for transfer credit at seven accredited colleges and universities.
The five-year-old initiative’s Corporate Communications, Western Political Thought and Business Law & Ethics courses have passed muster with the National College Credit Recommendation Service,
a regional accrediting agency an agency that evaluates nontraditional programs and recommends them for college credit (and that is sometimes confused with regional accrediting agencies). Those class are now good for three transfer credits each at schools that have committed to recognizing them. The courses are free, though there is a $25 fee for an online service to proctor the final exam.
The participating colleges and universities are:
Charter Oak State College
The City University of New York (CUNY) Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies
Colorado Technical University
Granite State College
Thomas Edison State College
University of Maryland – University College
Some, like Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey and Charter Oak State College in Connecticut, are lesser-known branches of the state university systems, often specifically designed for working adults, with a special emphasis on helping students complete degrees started elsewhere. Excelsior College in Albany is a private non-profit school with a similar model and student population.
The Saylor press release hints that the agreement with these seven schools might be a foot in the door to 1,500 other NCCRS-accredited schools. Which might mean a foot in the door for MOOCs. Saylor courses are a few degrees removed from what most people understand MOOCs to be, with no interaction with faculty at all and very little with other students. They most resemble Udacity, in that they are self-paced.
With California, New York and Florida state university systems all looking at MOOCs as a way to ease the demand on oversubscribed courses required for degree completion — and with these several state campuses accepting Saylor’s online classes — it seems only a matter of time before students in U.S. universities are going to start racking up MOOC credits for free.