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How many American universities will have online, open, credentialed programs by the end of 2012?


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December 31, 2012 @ 02:30pm CST

Predictions Made

95 (Most: BryanAlexander)

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AlexChaucer   •   Sat Dec 24 2011 at 01:00am CST
From the MIT website:

When will MITx go live?
MIT plans to launch an experimental prototype version of MITx in the spring 2012 timeframe. Once the open learning infrastructure is in stable form, MIT will also release the open-source software infrastructure and will establish ways for other universities, as well as interested individuals, to join MIT in improving and adding features to the technology.”

Will providing the open source software infrastructure to other universities serve as a catalyst for others to join in on open, free courses with credentialing? Interesting strategy for MITx.

BryanAlexander   •   Sat Dec 24 2011 at 07:02pm CST
Good point, geo.
mark.mcbride   •   Tue Dec 27 2011 at 01:11pm CST
This is good observation. I know that in the SUNY system one of our campuses, Empire State College launched their first MOOC this fall. I imagine more campuses are developing or will be developing more MOOCs.
derekbruff   •   Tue Dec 27 2011 at 11:10am CST
What is meant by “open” here? Does “open” in this case mean that anyone can enroll, without going through a selection process?
BryanAlexander   •   Tue Dec 27 2011 at 12:51pm CST
Yes, like the Stanford MOOCs.
Geo, want to add more?
derekbruff   •   Tue Dec 27 2011 at 01:15pm CST
Do the Stanford MOOCs offer credential options? I didn’t think that was the case. If not, then they would be online and open, but not credentialed.
BryanAlexander   •   Tue Dec 27 2011 at 05:24pm CST
As far as I know the Stanford classes do not.
joebenfield   •   Tue Jan 03 2012 at 05:46pm CST
I’m working with SU’s CS and Medicine faculty on some MOOC’s and none of them offer any kind of credential at this point. To my knowledge, SU doesn’t have a college level MOOC that does – there may be one in the works though. It’s a hot topic on campus.
joebenfield   •   Tue Jan 03 2012 at 05:47pm CST
A few of the soon-to-be-released courses here, with more to come.

AlexChaucer   •   Tue Jan 03 2012 at 06:10pm CST
Thanks for sharing those courses. Great to see them. I’m curious to hear more about the credential discussion. Keep us posted! Here’s my homework: How to set up a free school
joebenfield   •   Tue Jan 03 2012 at 07:02pm CST
Sure thing! Just got back to work today, so I’m sure there will be more to come. Thanks for the link – interesting stuff.
BryanAlexander   •   Thu Mar 01 2012 at 10:36am CST
A whole bunch more. Good catch, Joe!
s.andrews   •   Mon Jan 02 2012 at 11:14am CST
What is the official index here? Are we just going on publicity around the initiatives? We are also assuming MITx will be fully functional in the current year (i.e. there is no “0” option), so maybe publicity is more important than infrastructure.

On the other hand, the question is a good one because there are already many courses that are open and online and many more that are online and credentialed, but none that are open, online and credentialing. MITx and SUNY Empire State present interesting variations because they technically work a grey area here.

Both use brick and mortar classrooms (and full time faculty) to develop the resources for the MOOC (only credentialed). Then they provide the MOOC resources online in an open fashion (open and online, but not credentialed). But the twist is in providing all three. And technically both SUNY Empire State and MITx are about even on this front as neither have said the central, brick and mortar institution will offer the open, online courses for credential. SUNY says it (and the OER university of which it is a part) “does not confer degrees or qualifications — but works in partnership with accredited educational institutions to provide credit for OER learning on the pathway to awarding credible credentials.” MITx will be associated with MIT, but will likely be spun into a different kind of LLC or something that is primarily funded through people paying for the credentials. In other words, though the materials will be funded by brick and mortar, online and MOOC for people who “just wanna learn,” the eventual organization that grants degrees will do it for a fee. I suppose it sill still be “open” in the sense that anyone can take it, but in a way that is no different than University of Pheonix (or Northeastern).

So what is the main difference between what Pheonix and NEastern are doing (offering courses online for credential, for payment, with virtually open enrollment) and what we presume MITx and SUNY Empire State are doing? Is it that, for a time you can have access to the learning materials in a free, open way before you have to pony up the money for the credential (a credential, notably, that neither MIT or SUNY Empire State say they will necessarily directly administer)?

I only ask because I think the question is right in terms of seeing the possibilities in this area, but since it will likely be a very messy transition (and we don’t have an official index) definitional obstacles loom large.

BryanAlexander   •   Tue Jan 03 2012 at 09:11am CST
Good suggestion about zero. Just added that as an option.
Source: I’m going with open information. It’s pretty easy to track, since the OER community is paying attention, and our colleague Lisa Spiro knows everything.
Is OERu offering credentials yet?
AlexChaucer   •   Tue Jan 03 2012 at 10:19am CST
Bryan, good point. Program could be interpreted in a couple of different ways, but if we are talking about offering a course that you can get some credential for taking, that is open and online, then that makes it a little more clear. I agree, the word open is ambiguous. However, the conversation around this topic is very valuable.

I have been doing a little reading on OER university. I found this interesting:
“The OER university is a virtual collaboration of like-minded institutions committed to creating flexible pathways for OER learners to gain formal academic credit.” from

I’m intrigued by the MOOC concept, OERU, DS106 and the like, I must say that it is a fascinating time in education. Just like anything else, I think the best way to learn more is to just dive in and try it, so that’s my plan.

Classes start soon! Are you enrolled?

s.andrews   •   Wed Feb 29 2012 at 12:37pm CST
Berkeley may soon join the ranks:

They are piloting an online course for students w/in the university and plan to expand it to students outside as well, likely with a credential. However, they seem to be planning on using it to generate revenue, which would indicate that, to get a credential, you need to pay. Online, open in terms of admissions, credentialed, but you’ll have to pay. Is this MOOC? Not sure.

BryanAlexander   •   Thu Mar 01 2012 at 10:38am CST
Similar to MITx, then.
Good catch!
Bay Area rivalry.
joebenfield   •   Wed May 16 2012 at 01:11pm CDT
I have seen a lot of listing for online course positions coming from Berkeley of late. I’m sure they will have a big project out soon.
BryanAlexander   •   Wed May 16 2012 at 01:57pm CDT
For full-time faculty + staff?
joebenfield   •   Wed May 16 2012 at 02:07pm CDT
Mostly full time staff. Soup-to-nuts stuff from course design, assessment writing, LMS setup, etc..
s.andrews   •   Wed Mar 07 2012 at 08:37pm CST

Now we have a single portal.

BryanAlexander   •   Thu Mar 08 2012 at 04:53pm CST
A sign of impending growth.
bryantt   •   Tue Apr 10 2012 at 09:11am CDT
Not until 2013, but Creative Commons is working with group of universities to release 8 courses.
BryanAlexander   •   Thu Apr 12 2012 at 09:51am CDT
Should we see this OERu as in the same category as MITx?
BryanAlexander   •   Tue Apr 24 2012 at 03:21pm CDT
A very cool project!
BryanAlexander   •   Thu Apr 19 2012 at 10:36am CDT
Question: should we count offerings hosted by third parties, like Coursera?
s.andrews   •   Wed Apr 25 2012 at 10:03am CDT
I’m still sticking with the credentialling distinction in the market description. A lot of places are coming out with courses, but I don’t see any movement on credentialling. That is the ultimate disruption and I don’t hear anyone talking about it. Am I tone deaf?
joebenfield   •   Wed Apr 25 2012 at 11:57am CDT
I have a similar view. I think there is some talk about it, but I imagine that will take quite a lot of time to work out. I think many schools would need serious faculty buy-in to do credentialing in open online courses, and that will take a lot of convincing.
BryanAlexander   •   Mon Apr 30 2012 at 11:54am CDT
Not seeing it myself, Sean and Joe. Maybe the badges movement has absorbed all the alt.certification energy?
DrPippi   •   Wed May 16 2012 at 09:44am CDT
No, we should not count outside parties in this question, but I think there will be more non-university start-ups trying it out, and then the whole credentialing issue could blow up. Blackboard CourseSites’ current (May 2012) MOOC with Curtis Bonk has 3000+ attendees and we are on the honor system to say if we completed the work for a “badge” of dubious quality.
BryanAlexander   •   Wed May 16 2012 at 12:59pm CDT
Good one, DrPippi. I wonder how we can measure those startups.
BryanAlexander   •   Wed May 16 2012 at 09:03am CDT
joebenfield   •   Wed May 16 2012 at 01:09pm CDT
That will be interesting to see. I actually think more traditional forms of online education and not MOOCs will fill the credential gaps. Credentials, ultimately, are for employers and schools. I’m not aware of any employers or schools chomping at the bit to hire people with MOOC certifications, so I’m not sure what they will end up doing beyond offering course materials with robo-assessment and feedback along with discussion boards. This is of course very fluid though, so who knows?
BryanAlexander   •   Wed May 16 2012 at 01:57pm CDT
Good point. Credentialing, certification seem crucial.
AlexChaucer   •   Thu Oct 04 2012 at 08:18am CDT
Would this example at Colorado College count as an online, open, credentialed program? It is free, and a student can get real transfer credit. Maybe this thread can help to identify some examples of positive cases?
NYTimes: Colorado College to Offer Credits for Online Class
BryanAlexander   •   Thu Oct 04 2012 at 12:24pm CDT
Close, very close, but that campus is outsourcing the whole thing to Udacity. If Colorado Global offered their own MOOCs for credit, that would count.

I’m not seeing others at all, so far.

bryantt   •   Tue Nov 13 2012 at 12:36pm CST
bryantt   •   Tue Nov 13 2012 at 03:38pm CST
bryantt   •   Tue Nov 20 2012 at 10:28am CST
BryanAlexander   •   Tue Nov 20 2012 at 02:41pm CST
As a consumer, but not producer. This question is really about the latter.

Reasons for Prediction

"I'm guessing the big OCW universities will try - Yale, Berkeley."
2-5 campuses
December 23, 2011 @ 03:23pm CST

"I don't see this going beyond a few of the big dogs in higher ed at this point. "
2-5 campuses
December 27, 2011 @ 01:05pm CST

"Some wealthy campuses will have funds."
2-5 campuses
January 11, 2012 @ 03:32pm CST

"It depends on what you mean by "open" and "credentialed" -- does open mean "free" or simply that learners don't have to attend the college (or any college?) to take the course? Does credentialed mean "degree" or something else. Depending on the answers, one could argue Stanford already qualifies ..."
2-5 campuses
February 28, 2012 @ 09:52am CST

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