Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have captured the attention of higher education and the political community in a way seldom seen, Excelsior College President John Ebersole writes for WCET. To many, the idea of access to instruction from world class institutions for free is the answer to a prayer. They offer the promise of a new form of instructional delivery that could take some of the heat off of higher education, and its ever rising tuition, as well as for the politicians whose cuts to state support have made necessary those increases. Hopefully, with MOOCs, state governors, legislators, and college administrators can find ways to promote universal access to higher education without having to worry about cost. On the other hand, many within higher education are critical of MOOCs as vehicles for the creation of learning. They see any rush to recommend credit that can be used to satisfy degree requirements as premature. Partly as a result of this growing concern, only five MOOCs have been deemed credit-worthy by the American Council on Education, so far.

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