ASU = edX’s ‘Cleaner’

30 Apr

By John Warner

Thanks to Inside Higher Ed reporter Carl Straumsheim, we now know that the edX/Arizona State contract for the pending “Global Freshman Academy” initiative, through which ASU intends to MOOC-ify a year’s worth of general education credits, contains another interesting little tidbit.

On page 28, Item 1, sub-point d, we get the following:

Non-InstitutionX MOOCs. Institution will evaluate other MOOCs offered on the edX Site and, subject to appropriate review and approval, consider offering Institution credit for a fee to edX learners who earn, or have earned, verified certificates of achievement for such non-InstitutionX MOOCs.

Previously, I suggested that one of the motives for ASU’s partnership with edX was to draw students to the institution via the ersatz Gen Ed MOOC experience. Enticed by the Gen Ed Starter Pak, students would take more ASU courses either online or face to face. ASU would then “launder” those MOOC credits from the transcripts, as they made it clear they do not intend to distinguish among the different course formats.

My vision is extremely limited, however, which is perhaps why I’m ill-suited to running a neoliberal university.

This particular clause makes it clear that ASU has the potential to expand their laundry service to the entire edX universe. In other words, they may do what the founding partner institutions of edX – MIT and Harvard – would likely never consider, give full institutional credit for a course taken as a MOOC outside their own institution.

As sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom, who studies the financialization of higher education, put it on Twitter, this is a “different level” of articulation altogether when it comes to transfer credits.

Currently, we have a system where accredited institutions often deny transfer credits (sometimes unjustly) from other accredited institutions in an effort to require students to take more credit-bearing courses (for more money) under their roofs. There is no particular monetary incentive for schools to accept credits once a student has decided to transfer. In fact, it’s the opposite.

[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: ]

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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


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