40 Public Universities to Offer Free Online Courses With Full Credit

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As many as 40 US public universities has entered into an unusual agreement with a commercial company that plans to offer introductory online course for free and with full credit, in the hope that those who pass will pay tuition to complete a degree program. The new initiative, know as MOOC2Degree where MOOC stands for massive open online course, is being run in a partnership between the universities and Academic Partnerships, a commercial company that helps public universities move their courses online.

While universities like MIT, Harvard and Stanford has been offering free educational materials from its undergraduate and graduate-level courses, these were merely intended to be used for reference and have not been tied to a university credential. But MOOC will be part of a degree program, not a novelty.

Through this new initiative, the initial course in select online degree programs will be converted into a MOOC. Each MOOC will be the same course with the same academic content, taught by the same instructors, as currently offered degree programs at participating universities. Students who successfully complete a MOOC2Degree course earn academic credits toward a degree, based upon criteria established by participating universities.