As millions of students have flocked to free “massive open online courses," or MOOCs, in recent months, higher education experts have focused on two big questions: whether universities will begin to offer credit for such courses, and what might be done to prevent cheating.
On Thursday, the first glimmers of answers began to emerge. Colorado State University’s Global Campus, an independent campus that is part of the Colorado State University system, said it would give three transfer credits to students who complete Introduction to Computer Science: Building a Search Engine, a free course offered by Udacity, and take a proctored test. While the Global Campus is apparently the first American institution to offer credit for a Udacity MOOC, several European universities have already done so.
“Our students have been asking for credit for the courses for a while, and Colorado State has been very excited about online ed, so this was those things coming together,” said David Stavens, Udacity’s co-founder. Almost 200,000 students have enrolled in the class, which is the company’s introductory computer science offering, and its most popular, Mr. Stavens said. “We’re talking with other schools, but we’re not ready to name them yet,” he added.
Also on Thursday, edX, the Harvard-M.I.T. online collaboration, announced that students in its MOOCs would be able to take proctored final exams at Pearson VUE’s brick-and-mortar testing centers around the world, where their identity can be verified.