Stephen Colbert recently welcomed Anant Agarwal, president of massive open online course (MOOC) provider edX, to discuss MOOCs on his show, U.S. News. Through edX, students around the world can take free courses from partner schools like Harvard University and MIT, studying topics like computer science, public health, business, engineering, history and law. Currently, more than 1 million students from every country are taking an online class through edX, Agarwal said. When students complete an MOOC through edX, they will receive a “certificate of mastery.” However, edX does not offer transcripts or proof of registration, meaning each college must decide for itself whether it wants to give individuals credit for completing an MOOC. Colbert largely focused on the fact that MOOCs are free, asking Agarwal how colleges can afford to give away courses at no cost, or, in other words, “Why send the cows to college if they’re giving away PhDs for free?”

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