Higher education can be costly and time-consuming. For self-motivated learners willing to pursue a degree on their own time, opportunities are increasing for affordable, online education. With the recent development and expansion of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), schools and universities across the nation are increasing participation, resources, and course options in the program.
When considering MOOCs as a source for higher education, students face the pros and cons of the cost-free courses. On the one hand, the free courses are available from top-tier schools such as UC Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford; but on the flip-side, completing the courses does not mean a student receives credit. In fact, the courses do not technically count towards a degree. However, Colorado State University recently changed that dynamic.
To eliminate the two primary problems associated with MOOCs – lack of credit awarding and cheating on tests – Colorado State University’s Global Campus announced that credit will now be awarded to online students who complete the Introduction to Computer Science: Building a Search Engine course via Udacity and take a proctored test. According to the NY Times, the Global Campus is the first American institution offering credit for a MOOC from Udacity.
Proctored exams seem to be the key that will unlock the door to credited MOOCs, which would revolutionize the education system. The alternative to courses not currently credited is for a student to take online courses through edX, which will soon be the first MOOC provider to grant students a special certificate of completion for their course at the cost of a small (undisclosed) fee, the NY Times reported. These certificates will serve as proof to potential employers that the student actually learned the material and skills in the programs.
Other schools and providers of MOOCs are investigating additional options for plagiarism detection and ways to award credit for the courses that are completed legitimately by online learners, according to the NY Times. Students interested in learning more about MOOCs can click here and compare the top providers, here.