Some universities are certainly trying to turn the online courses into a revenue stream, though.
Two University of Texas at Austin psychology professors recently started their own massive online course, and they’re charging students a $550 registration fee that would grant them three credit hours after the course is completed.
That’s quite a discount from the usual $2,059 students would have to pay for those credits, but with 1,500 participants signed up so far, the course could bring in at least $825,000.
The professors, because of this fee, are referring to the course not as a MOOC, but a synchronous massive online course, or a SMOC.
While charging money for the course stops it from being a truly open course, it is still open to anyone in the world that can afford it, not just students at the university.
Similar attempts at other universities to earn revenue from MOOCs have been a struggle.
Last year, Colorado State University-Global Campus began offering credit for a computer science MOOC. A year later, no students have taken advantage of the deeply discounted course.
San Jose State University in May announced that their partnership with Udacity to offer for-credit MOOCs was being “paused” after many students had trouble passing the courses.