2u’s Semester Online consortium will soon disband

2U-online-classesThis summer 2U’s for-credit online course platform Semester Online will offer two dozen new courses on subjects ranging from forensics to Shakespeare. They will also be the program’s last.

After years of high-profile partnership announcements, stumbles, and false starts, 2U will discontinue its online learning consortium before the new school year begins.

The program allows universities to pool together resources to offer for-credit online courses. While the courses’ video lecture format is often compared to massive open online courses, Semester Online courses are quite different from MOOCs. The courses aren’t open to just anybody, and they’re hardly massive, with many courses being capped at 20 students.

But the experiment was seen as a step forward in cutting away some of the bureaucratic red tape that prevents online courses like MOOCs from being accredited.

Several high-profile universities lined up to become partners — at first.

This past May, three top-tier universities dropped out of the program. Two months later, three more took their place.

(Next page: Why did Semester Online disband?)


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