Public Universities to Offer Free Online Classes for Credit

Tamar Lewin, Hack Educa, Jan 24, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

We continue to move incrementally toward a reconfiguration of the educational system. "Dozens of public universities plan to offer an introductory online course free and for credit to anyone worldwide, in the hope that those who pass will pay tuition to complete a degree program." So, basically, you get and pass your intro course for free, get credit, and maybe purchase the whole package from the institution. "We’re taking the MOOC idea, but now it will be part of a degree program, not a novelty," said Randy Best, the chairman of Academic Partnerships, a company that helps public universities move their courses online. See also coverage in the Chronicle and also good analysis of the trend toward 'school as a service' on e_literate by Phil Hill.

I especially agree with this: "Randy Best, founder and chairman of Academic Partnerships, said that the real megatrend is not the emergence of MOOCs, but rather the move to universal, affordable access to education. This populist view runs contrary to 2U, Coursera, Udacity and edX, all of which target elite universities, betting that their brands and faculty are important to attract large numbers of students." As Hill writes, "this is another key milestone in the rapid transformation of MOOCs into the next generation – in combination with Instructure’s launch of the Canvas Network, Udacity’s move to MOOC 2.0, and the American Council on Education’s moves to recommend credits for MOOCs."

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