The University of Pennsylvania is at the forefront of what may be the first significant move to make Massive Open Online Courses count for credit, officials announced Wednesday.
The American Council on Education - a national higher education umbrella group - has given its credit endorsement to five open online courses taught by professors at Penn, Duke University, and the University of California, Irvine, and offered by Coursera, a California-based online education company that has been a pioneer in the courses, or MOOCs.
Penn's course is "Calculus: Single Variable," taught by Robert Ghrist. It has proven wildly popular, with about 48,000 students taking it from around the world this semester. The course "builds upon high-school-level knowledge of calculus, using hand-drawn graphics and animations in emphasizing conceptual understanding and applications," according to Penn.
It's the first time that ACE has given credit recommendation to MOOCs. The organization since 1974 has evaluated courses outside traditional degree programs for credit recommendation.