By Steve Kolowich
"In what could be a major step toward bridging the gap between massive open online courses and the credentialing system that they are supposed to "disrupt," the American Council on Education on Thursday endorsed five MOOCs for credit.
"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.
"In other words, the council's endorsement alone does not mean students can expect to save money by redeeming their Coursera certificates—evidence that they have passed its courses—for credit toward a traditional degree."