Amid the height of the disruption produced by massive open online courses (MOOCs) in 2012, the American Council on Education (ACE) shook the world of higher education by announcing that it was going to review a handful of the free university-level classes for college credit recommendation. Each of the five free online classes the council reviewed was developed as the online version of a course offered by a major university, and each was ultimately accepted.
The credit recommendation service, ACE CREDIT, evaluates nontraditional learning experiences to determine if they’re worthy of college credit, including professional training programs, certifications, and apprenticeships.
6 Free Classes Approved for College Credit
These five MOOCs were the first to be approved for college credit.
- Intermediate Algebra, Coursera Inc.
- Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach, Coursera Inc.
- Calculus: Single Variable, Coursera Inc.
- Introduction to Genetics and Evolution, Coursera Inc.
- Pre-Calculus, Coursera Inc.
Since these initial courses were officially recommended for credit in January of 2013, ACE has only reviewed one additional MOOC.
- Documenting Your Experiences for College Credit, Kaplan University Open Learning
Documenting Your Experiences for College Credit by Kaplan University is an excellent way to earn college credit for learning acquired outside of the traditional classroom such as in the workforce, volunteering, or military training. Getting credit for what you already know can save you time and money as you pursue your college degree.
You can register for all six of these ACE-reviewed courses on LearningAdvisor.com.
How Credit Acceptance Works
So what does this mean for you? Can you actually get college credit for taking these recommended classes? The answer is both yes and maybe.
Once courses are recommended for credit by ACE, each of the 2,000 colleges and universities that accept ACE’s recommendations must choose for itself whether or not to accept the course. Having the stamp of approval from ACE is a necessary first step.
The universities that created these online classes naturally have chosen to offer credit to students who pass. Other institutions may follow suit or continue to watch from the sidelines to see what happens. The more popular the for-credit paths of these courses become, the more likely that colleges and universities will accept them readily.
Although these MOOCs are free to begin with, it is important to note that there are fees associated with taking them for college credit. To qualify for credit, Coursera’s five courses have to be taken in special Signature Track© versions that can verify students’ identification, and there is a proctored exam at the end of each course that students must pay for as well.
If you have college credit in mind, find out if the MOOC you are planning to take will be accepted for credit before investing the extra money. These six ACE-recommended MOOCs may be just the beginning. With thousands of available free classes, there can only be more room to grow.