By Carl Straumsheim
Less than 1 percent of the learners in the massive open online course partnership between Arizona State University and edX are eligible to earn credit for their work, according to enrollment numbers from the inaugural courses.
The partnership, known as Global Freshman Academy, was announced this spring with great fanfare. University officials and fans of the effort said the new way of delivering education (in addition to traditional online and face-to-face options) might be a way to get new students excited about and enrolled in degree programs.
The initiative launched this fall with three credit-bearing MOOCs — Human Origins, Introduction to Solar Systems Astronomy, and Western Civilization: Ancient and Medieval Europe — drawing a total of 34,086 registrants. Despite the added incentive of credit for completers, each MOOC saw only about 1,100 learners remain active in the course throughout its seven-week duration. Of those learners, 323 now have the option of paying ASU an additional fee to receive credit, the enrollment numbers show.
The number of learners who opt for credit may be even smaller. To be eligible, learners first have to pay $49 for an identity-verified certificate and earn a grade of C or better. Because of how the MOOCs are structured, learners can complete all the lessons and assignments and view their final grade before deciding whether to pay for a transcript from ASU. Learners have a year to make up their minds.
The university has agreed to charge the MOOC learners no more than $200 per credit hour. Credit from the first three Global Freshman Academy MOOCs costs $600 per course. Learners are not required to continue their studies at ASU, but are free to transfer the credits to any college that will accept them.
ASU has not shared how many credit-seeking MOOC learners it hopes to enroll — if such a goal exists. Speaking to Inside Higher Ed in April, Philip Regier, university dean for educational initiatives, said there were “a lot of uncertainties” around that number. He added that he expected “maybe 25,000” to register for some of the MOOCs. The astronomy MOOC, the largest of the first three, attracted 13,423 registrants.
[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/12/21/323-learners-eligible-credit-moocs-arizona-state-u ]