Although Moocs like to speak of creating their own communities, living on a virtual campus is not the same as having to turn up to lectures and coming face to face with an institution’s teachers and administrators, the Financial Times reports.

As Moocs attempt to carve out their own educational space, they face one obvious problem in their battle for credibility. How can an employer tell if a candidate who claims to have taken a course really has done so?

Leaving aside the application and interview process – which should in theory separate the capable from the incompetent – Mooc providers acknowledge this issue by offering various levels of certification. These can be as basic as ‘honour codes’, which are little more than affirmations of the ‘trust me, this was all my own work’ variety.

… Some Mooc providers have created additional checks. Coursera beefs up its “signature track” verification with a typing exercise intended to establish a student’s unique typing pattern, while Udacity goes a step further by scheduling a live interview at the end of each module.

“Certification is a big thing for students,” says Anant Agarwal, president of edX. “We are going to see more and more uptake in terms of Moocs being recognised by universities.”

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