Are free college courses credit-worthy?

Elite universities have learned this year that offering free online courses will draw a huge global audience, the Washington Post reports. Now educators want to know whether those courses are worthy of academic credit and how they might be used to help more people pursue college degrees. The American Council on Education, which represents university presidents, said Tuesday it is teaming with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the free online education provider Coursera on an initiative to seek answers to those questions. The announcement is the latest sign of the emerging influence of what are known as mass­ive open online courses, or MOOCs. Millions of people this year have tried out MOOCs on Web sites such as Coursera, edX, Udacity and others…

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