MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - Nov 13, 2012) - Coursera today announced that it is working with the American Council on Education (ACE) to initiate a credit-equivalence evaluation of a subset of the massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered by the world-leading universities and hosted on Coursera's platform. Currently, students successfully completing a course may receive a certificate of accomplishment that does not bear university credit. This new third party evaluation, conducted through ACE's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT®), has the potential to make some completed courses eligible for college transfer credit at institutions choosing to accept the ACE recommendations.
The ACE CREDIT® evaluation process for selected courses will begin by early 2013. Students wishing to receive ACE CREDIT® recommendations for an eligible Coursera course will be able to do so by successfully completing the course, undergoing an identity-verified proctored exam, and paying a modest fee. Coursera plans to use online remote proctoring technologies to both verify a student's identity and help students formally validate their learning and achievement on Coursera courses. This technology will give students the option to take a proctored assessment using a webcam at their convenience from anywhere in the world, at any time, thus helping to overcome geographical or economic barriers and making these valuable credentials available to a broad population of students.
"The advent of MOOCs has created access to higher education on a scale never before possible," said Professor William G. Bowen, Senior Advisor to ITHAKA and former president of Princeton University and the Mellon Foundation. "With the additional benefits of ACE credit recommendations for Coursera courses, students will have an unprecedented opportunity to obtain recognized credentials for their work. This could significantly reduce the costs of higher education for millions of students."
Coursera was founded in the fall of 2011 by Stanford Computer Science Professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, and in the past year has partnered with 33 renowned national and international universities to offer roughly 200 courses for students around the world, for free. Coursera courses give everyone in the world access to top caliber professors and cover a wide range of disciplines, including the humanities, science, engineering, business and other subjects.
ACE CREDIT® is a recognized authority in assessing non-traditional education experiences and helping adults gain credit for courses and exams taken outside traditional degree programs. ACE CREDIT®'s review process enlists a team of academic faculty to assess courses and exams for the purpose of making college credit recommendations. These recommendations are generally accepted by more than 2,000 colleges and universities in the US, opening the possibility for students enrolled at one of these institutions to transfer credit into their degree programs.
"ACE's involvement in assessing education that occurs outside the traditional college classroom reaches back over decades, and our commitment to adult education stretches back to our very founding in 1918," said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. "Coursera is an exciting, innovative venture that holds much promise for engaging students across the country and around the world, as well as for helping colleges and universities broaden their reach. Via the ACE CREDIT® process, Coursera will now be able to offer students who successfully complete select courses that have been evaluated by ACE the tangible benefit of ACE credit recommendations."
"It's exciting to consider the possibilities that will come from allowing our students to receive transferable college credit toward a degree," said Andrew Ng, Coursera co-founder. "We created Coursera to help students overcome major barriers to traditional education access, and providing credit-bearing college courses is a huge milestone toward that goal."
"In recent years, the rising cost of higher education has had a devastating impact on students, many of whom struggle and often fail to complete their degrees," added Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller. "We hope that by providing top-quality courses that have the potential of academic credit, we can allow more students to enter college with some credit already accrued, and exit college on time, on budget and with a complete degree in hand."
Coursera is on a mission to change the world by educating millions of people by offering classes from top universities and professors online for free. Coursera's comprehensive education platform combines mastery-based learning principles with video lectures, interactive content and a global community of peers, offering students from around the world a unique online learning experience. Coursera is working with top-tier universities to provide courses across a broad range of disciplines, including medicine, literature, history and computer science, among others. Coursera is backed by leading venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. For more information, visit Coursera.org.
Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information, please visit www.acenet.edu or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.