Granting credit for massive open online courses (MOOCs) caught the attention of legislators across the nation, with Florida passing a bill that orders education officials to allow students to transfer credits from MOOCs. The American Council on Education has even recommended that 12 specific MOOCs be granted college credit, leaving the final decision to individual institutions.
Unfortunately, the groundswell of interest has been met with silence from students. Both Colorado State University-Global Campus and University of Maryland University College are offering credit for passed MOOCs and have yet to have one student take advantage of the offer.
The University of Texas at Arlington has found success by offering the MOOC2Degree initiative from Academic Partnerships. The program allows students to apply credit earned from a MOOC to a degree program at a partner school.
UT Arlington joined the program to attract registered nurses into its bachelor of science of nursing program. Of 342 students who took the introductory MOOC, 8% completed the course for credit with 14 students either enrolled into or applying for the school’s online nursing program in January.
By taking the UT Arlington nursing MOOC, participants gained confidence to enroll in the online program while earning three credits, according to Beth Mancini, associate dean of the nursing college. In addition, there was a real savings for the students who paid $43 for the proctored exam instead of $771 for the traditional online course.
“There’s a hype cycle for anything new, and MOOCs were the big new thing that everyone was talking about, Marie Cini, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs of the University of Maryland program, told University Business. “I think we’re going to find out in the next year or two how MOOCs are going to be applied to the educational horizon. It’s just like online learning—many institutions will do some piece of it, but it’s not going to replace all of higher education.”