More dramatically, the collaborations open up the possibility of the institutions offering for-credit MOOCs to students who want to continue their education but who do not have the means or access to a campus.
In many regards, this has been the underlying premise – and promise – of companies like Coursera since their conception. But with few institutions offering actual college credit for students who take the online courses, such a goal has remained out of reach. Under a system where a degree remains the primary marker of higher learning, course credit is still the currency of the land.
A recent study released by the University of Edinburgh found that the majority of students taking its six Coursera MOOCs were taking the courses to “learn new things,” not to earn any kind of degree or certification. Furthermore, 70 percent of respondents indicated having already completed a degree program and 40 percent indicated they had earned a postgraduate degree.
Learning may be taking place, but not necessarily the kind that would empower people to “improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in,” as Coursera states on its website.