New partnership offers more MOOCs for credit

Thomas Edison State College has partnered with the Saylor Foundation to create flexible pathways for adult learners through MOOCs.

As massive open online courses (MOOCs) continue to garner mass appeal and enable college access to thousands across the world, colleges are beginning to search for options to gain returns on their investments. Thomas Edison State College (TESC) in Trenton, N.J., might have an answer.

TESC is designed exclusively for self-directed adults and provides flexible learning opportunities for them wherever they live or work.

The college recently teamed with the Saylor Foundation, a nonprofit organization that hires professors to locate and organize open educational resources (OERs) and mold them into structured course formats. As of press time, Saylor has built more than 270 free, self-paced online courses.

As part of the agreement, Saylor will identify its most popular courses in which students have expressed a strong desire to earn credit, and TESC will create exams and assessments for those courses so that students might be eligible for credit.

Marc Singer, vice provost of the college’s Center for the Assessment of Learning, said the school is looking forward to the opportunity as traditional higher-education models evolve.

“We are in the midst of the latest paradigm shift in higher education and look forward to leveraging our expertise in assessment to help our students to take advantage of it,” he said.

(Next page: Courses that will be assessed for credit—and next steps in the partnership)