Thomas Edison State College & Saylor Foundation Collaborate on Creating Flexible Pathways to Earning College Credit With Open, Online Courses & Assessments

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thomas Edison State College

WASHINGTON -- Thomas Edison State College and the Saylor Foundation have announced an agreement to enhance access for adults to earn college credit through Saylor's high-quality, free, open courses and the college's nationally renowned expertise in assessment.

According to the agreement, the Saylor Foundation will identify its most popular courses for which learners have expressed an interest in earning college credit and Thomas Edison State College will create examinations and other assessments for those courses. In addition, the college will map Saylor courses that already align with existing college examinations, including the Thomas Edison State College Examination Program (TECEP). With this agreement, the College has become the first senior public institution of higher education in New Jersey to partner with a major provider of online open courses.

"We are excited to work with the Saylor Foundation to provide students the opportunity to earn college credit for successfully completing Saylor's open, online courses," said Marc Singer, vice provost of the college's Center for the Assessment of Learning. "We are in the midst of the latest paradigm shift in higher education and look forward to leveraging our expertise in assessment to help our students to take advantage of it."

The first six Saylor courses that the College will create assessments for include: Introduction to Comparative Politics; World History in the Early Modern and Modern Eras (1600-Present); Management Information Systems; Negotiations and Conflict Management; Introduction to Mechanical Engineering; and Thermodynamics.

"We're enormously pleased to see more of our courses take shape as pathways to affordable college credit and equally pleased to see Thomas Edison State College embracing OER as a basis for a credentialed education," said Devon Ritter, special projects administrator for the Saylor Foundation. "Partnership with Thomas Edison State College means that ore students of free courses can reasonable become students working towards a college degree. We're grateful to be able to translate cooperation into meaningful opportunity for our students."

The agreement with Saylor comes on the heels of the Thomas Edison State College Foundation's decision in December 2012 to invest $100,000 to fund the development of competency-based degree programs that leverage massive open online courses (MOOC) and other open resources to create new pathways for degree completion for adult students.

"We are grateful for the Foundation's support and excited to create new opportunities for adult learners that combine our expertise in assessment and the rapid increase of open, online learning opportunities," said Singer. "Our relationship with Saylor greatly supports this effort."

The college is currently evaluating the state of open resources currently available in the market, including MOOCs, badges and modules, and plans to map the open courses and resources to the college's degree programs. The college will develop assessments for the open courses and resources, including exams, portfolio assessments and program reviews.

"We will provide students who complete these open courses the opportunity to earn credit and apply that credit to our degree programs," said Singer. "This creates new pathways that enable students to demonstrate the learning they acquired in open courses while our expertise in assessing learning that occurs outside a college setting enables the College to main its standards of academic excellence."

About Thomas Edison State College

Thomas Edison State College provides flexible, high-quality, collegiate learning opportunities for self-directed adults. One of New Jersey's 12 senior public institutions of higher education, the College offers associate, bachelor's and master's degrees in more than 100 areas of study. Students earn degrees through a wide variety of rigorous and high-quality academic methods that can be customized to meet their individual needs. Identified by Forbes magazine as one of the top 20 colleges and universities in the nation in the use of technology to create learning opportunities for adults, Thomas Edison State College is a national leader in the assessment of adult learning and a pioneer in the use of educational technologies. The College is home to The John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy. The New Jersey State Library is an affiliate of Thomas Edison State College. Further information about admission to the College may be obtained by calling (888) 442-8372, via e-mail at info@tesc.edu or by visiting the College website at www.tesc.edu.

About the Saylor Foundation

The Saylor Foundation (under its legal name, The Constitution Foundation) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Foundation was established in 1999 by Michael J. Saylor, the Chairman, CEO and President of the business intelligence company MicroStrategy, Inc. Mr. Saylor serves as the Foundation's sole trustee. The Foundation's focus since 2008 has been its Free Education Initiative, through which it is using technology to drive down the cost of education to zero. Saylor.org serves as a zero-cost alternative for individuals who lack the resources to attend traditional brick-and-mortar institutions and as a complement to willing mainstream education providers. Saylor expects free, self-paced, automated online learning opportunities to motivate people to pursue personal growth and career ambitions as well as to lead to institutional change among education providers everywhere. More information about the Saylor Foundation and its 280 free, college-level courses are available at www.saylor.org.