10 state universities join Coursera in deals that could grant credit for MOOCs

SUNY and the University of Kentucky are among the new Coursera partner schools.

In a departure from its collaborations with more elite institutions like Stanford and Princeton, massive open online course (MOOC) provider Coursera announced Thursday that it was partnering with 10 state university systems and public flagship institutions.

The deals have the potential to transform Coursera’s content from the free online courses the company is known for to courses that could actually carry college credit.

“With this announcement, we take a step further in our goal to expand quality education to all,” Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera, stated in the announcement.

The universities involved in the new partnerships are State University of New York (SUNY), the Tennessee Board of Regents and University of Tennessee systems, the University of Colorado system, the University of Houston system, University of Kentucky, University of Nebraska, University of New Mexico, the university system of Georgia, and West Virginia University.

While the exact details of each deal differ depending on the institution, the central goal of the arrangements are similar.

“At the core of these partnerships is the motivation to encourage new methods and enhance previous approaches to teaching both on-campus and online,” Coursera stated. “Faculty teaching at these institutions will have the opportunity to develop online courses as well as adapt existing MOOC content, which they can then incorporate into their own classrooms.”

The partnerships would also allow universities to reach out to high school students with their courses, and easily share data and course materials across an entire system in ways similar to learning management systems.

See Page 2 for how students could earn college credit for MOOC courses.

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