Free courses! For Credit! And Online. How disruptive will this model be?

universityby kevin dooley

Forty public universities will offer free online courses with full credit starting this spring
[Via The Verge – All Posts]

Forty public universities, including Arizona State, Cleveland State, and the University of Arkansas, are planning to offer free online courses that carry full credit in an effort to entice potential students to sign up for a full degree program. The new initiative, know as MOOC2Degree (MOOC stands for massive open online course), is being run in a partnership between the universities and Academic Partnerships, a commercial company that helps universities move their courses online. As part of this initiative, Academic Partnerships will work with the universities to recruit for these courses and will receive a cut of any tuition from students who sign on for further study.


As with drugs, the first sample is free and you have to pay for the rest. But taking college courses are not addictive.

There are several different models out there so I am sure one will be successful, But employers seldom care about one’s grades or what credits they have. They care about the actual abilities of employees to get the work done.

At the moment, that is more based on the educational institution’s reputation and the employee’s previous experience. I expect that will change as more classes come online. Then one can show that one has taken an recent class on some new technology. That may be more interesting than what school one graduated from.

As an example, someone who just took a class in R programming for bioinformatics may be much more interesting than just any old CS graduate. Especially if that person already has some real world experience.

I think it will be the piecemeal  classwork that could appeal to some employers more than the overall coursework. Whether this is good or bad will reamin to be seen.