Friday, August 29, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Public universities to offer free online classes for credit

By
From page A1 | January 24, 2013 |

By Tamar Lewin

In an unusual arrangement with a commercial company, dozens of public universities plan to offer an introductory online course free and for credit to anyone worldwide, in the hope that those who pass will pay tuition to complete a degree program.

The universities — including Arizona State, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Arkansas system — will choose which of their existing online courses to convert to a massive open online course, or MOOC, in the new program, called MOOC2Degree.

The proliferation of free online courses from top universities like Harvard and Stanford over the past year has prompted great interest in online learning. But those courses, so far, have generally not carried credit.

“We’re taking the MOOC idea, but now it will be part of a degree program, not a novelty,” said Randy Best, the chairman of Academic Partnerships, a company that helps public universities move their courses online.

If MOOC2Degree succeeds in attracting thousands of degree students, the new revenue stream could be a lifeline for public universities hit hard by declining financial support from states.

Under the arrangement, Academic Partnerships will handle recruitment for MOOC2Degree and will receive an undisclosed share of the tuition the universities get from students who continue into a degree program.

“It’s a bold strategy on the part of the institutions,” said Michael Tanner, vice president for academic affairs at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. “In some sense, it’s a new recruitment strategy: give them a free sample, and maybe they’ll find they have an appetite for it. It’s hard to say how well it will work. The MOOC business will become crowded over time.”

Best said that while he expected the program to expand to a wide range of associate, bachelor’s and graduate programs, many of the initial offerings would be in professional-development programs, like those leading to a master’s in education or a bachelor of science in nursing.

The University of Cincinnati, though, plans to offer, free, its Innovation and Design Thinking course, which can lead to master’s degrees in either business or engineering.

“We’re confident that once MOOC students begin interacting with our expert faculty and their fellow classmates, they’ll begin forming a lasting educational relationship with the university,” said Lawrence J. Johnson, the interim provost.

At the University of Texas, Arlington, Academic Partnerships has already experimented with a free introductory course for nurses with an R.N. who wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree.

“We started it, frankly, as a campaign to grow enrollment,” Best said. “But 72 to 84 percent of those who did the first course came back and paid to take the second course.”

There are potential benefits to students and universities alike.

“Universities bring in students who wouldn’t have come to them otherwise, and have a chance to observe the academic preparedness of students before they start a degree program,” Best said. “And students get to try risk-free learning, online.”

Comments

comments

New York Times News Service

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1

     
    Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Forum explores local mental health services

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Equestrian eventing competition slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

    Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Forum

    Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    What if we need MRAP?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    How could tank be helpful?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

    Don’t sentence our police to death

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2

     
    Will Davis see river water?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    .

    Sports

    Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils scrimmage with Sac

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

    Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Technology makes a great car better

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Elaine Dracia Greenberg

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics