Coursera is booming, with 1.8 million enrollees and growing. So far, the courses haven’t been able to provide college credit that will transfer to colleges and universities, but that may soon change. Coursera hopes that allowing students to take proctored exams via webcam will allow for transferable college credit and will help larger numbers of students enjoy the convenience of online learning.
Coursera is now collaborating with the American Council on Education to create a method for giving credit for online courses. ACE members include 1,800 colleges and universities including everything from Harvard to community colleges. The organization has a credit recommendation service through which member schools can award transfer college credit for Coursera programs, if they so choose.
In the beginning, Coursera will probably only submit around 200 courses for credit through ACE. Once students start earning college credits this way, Coursera will increase the offerings, hoping to eventually provide credit for all course offerings.
While many supporters of online courses have been discussing allowing credit for students who take proctored exams in traditional exam halls, Coursera believes that webcams will prove to be an even better option. By allowing proctors to monitor test-takers via webcam, schools can ensure that students show photo identification and that they are not cheating on examinations. This approach will provide all the security of in-person testing, but will be available to students from anywhere in the world.
While there will be a small fee involved for students who wish to take webcam proctored exams, the cost will still be cheaper than traditional courses. If this method is as successful as predicted, it will undoubtedly revolutionize the world of online education forever.