This week, the American Council on Education (ACE) announced a research effort examining the academic potential of massive open online courses (MOOCs), in which it will evaluate select Coursera courses for college credit. If the ACE College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) decides to recommend these courses for credit, it could mean an improvement in college affordability for hundreds of thousands of students. It will also raise some logistical questions for administrators at colleges and universities.
Although the decision to accept credits is ultimately up to an institution, the 2,000 institutions that currently accept the recommendations of ACE CREDIT will likely follow suit, says Jeffrey von Munkwitz-Smith, president of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and assistant vice president and university registrar at Boston University.
“Many other institutions do not participate and most of these probably will not begin to do so based on this new initiative,” he says. “At those institutions the expectation is that work will only transfer if it was taken at a regionally accredited institution and the evaluation is performed by the faculty of the accepting institution. I do wonder how many of the institutions offering the MOOCs through Coursera or organizations are, or will be, willing to allow their own students to take them for credit.”