University of Maryland University College (UMUC) believes it will be the first university in the Maryland system to let students earn academic credit for taking a massive open online course (MOOC).
But if the experiment is successful, UMUC won’t be a rarity for just the state; it will be an anomaly for all of American higher education.
Recent attempts by other institutions to offer credit for MOOCs have not gone smoothly. Last year, Colorado State University-Global Campus began offering credit for a computer science MOOC. Nearly a year later, no students have taken advantage of the deeply discounted course.
San Jose State University announced in May that their partnership with Udacity to offer for-credit MOOCs was being “paused” after many students had trouble passing the courses.
So what does UMUC think it can do differently?
“We’re an adult-friendly institution,” said Cynthia Davis, UMUC’s undergraduate dean. “I think that’s really the important thing that’s positioned us to do it successfully.”
As UMUC is specifically focused on adult learners who are older, less conventional students, Davis said, the university already accepts many forms of non-traditional academic credit and has systems in place for evaluating more experiential learning.
See Page 2 for how the university plans on administering credit for MOOCs.