Next-generation MOOCs tackle budget-cuts at state universities

A new generation of online course providers is marrying the lofty goals of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with a tangible benefit to students, the North Dallas Gazette reports.

MOOCs were originally created to spread access to education by putting lectures and course materials from top-notch professors on the Web.

However, they do not address rising college costs. As budgets shrink on campuses, from New York to California, students are struggling to pay for classes and to get into them.

To address this problem, Education Portal, an online education platform, has created the next generation MOOC: a new type of online course that allows students to learn independently and earn low-cost, transferable credit. By taking courses from a third-party, students bypass high costs at their schools while still transferring credits that apply toward their degrees.

“Demand is high,” said Jessica Bayliss, education Director at Education Portal. “Students are feeling squeezed by rising costs, which is a big reason why over 3 million students have used our courses in the past two years.”

A poll last year of California’s San Jose State University students yielded frustrated comments, such as ‘Classes are really cramped’ and ‘A lot of students are saying I’m paying more but receiving less.’

Transferring credits may not be unique, but leveraging three widely accepted credit-by-examination programs is. Education Portal’s courses are paired with credit-granting exams, offered by organizations like the College Board and the not-for-profit Excelsior College. The website has over 50 online courses paired with these exams.

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