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American Public University System to Offer Academic Credit for 10 Massive Open Online Courses as part of UPCEA Consortium Pilot

Initial Coursera and Udacity Offerings Received American Council on Education Credit Recommendations

 Charles Town, WV, Sept. 19, 2013 -- American Public University System (APUS) today announced that it will offer academic credit for 10 massive open online courses (MOOCs) from Coursera and Udacity that have received American Council on Education (ACE) credit recommendations. The initiative, which may later include other providers and courses, stems from its participation in a pilot program with the University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) and several other UPCEA member institutions to examine how students succeed at higher education institutions after receiving MOOC credit.

The initial approved Coursera offerings include algebra, bioelectricity, calculus, pre-calculus and genetics, while the Udacity courses include graphics, artificial intelligence, computer science, physics and statistics. Each specific course received a credit recommendation after undergoing  the rigorous ACE CREDIT® review process, which includes a team of faculty reviewers chosen for their expertise in a particular discipline. 

APUS mapped the courses to existing APUS offerings, and accepts student prospects already enrolled in, or who have completed, the initial 10 courses that received ACE credit recommendations. All students must successfully complete a culminating, vendor-proctored exam to demonstrate subject mastery and verify their identity, according to Dr. Jennifer Stephens-Helm, vice president, institutional research & assessment, for APUS.

“As part of this collaborative effort, we will be tracking and assessing a variety of comparative persistence variables and related outcomes against typical APUS students who have no previously identified MOOC participation,” said Stephens-Helm. “We ultimately hope to reach new student populations, as well as determine how to more effectively serve those who are attracted to and persist within MOOC-like environments.”

Under the primary guidance of Ray Schroeder, director of the UPCEA Center for Online Leadership and Strategy, APUS and the other consortium members will collect the anonymous data of pilot students to help determine how those receiving MOOC college credit progress throughout their experience with their institution, and beyond.  In addition to APUS, other participating schools include Buffalo State University, Central Michigan University, Kaplan University, Regis University, SUNY Empire State College, and University of Maryland University College.