Adults will earn credit for what they know

Adults will be able to earn college credit for what they already know from the University of Wisconsin’s competence-for-credits option.

From Hamburger U to a degree

At McDonald’s Hamburger University, Jiffy Lube University, the University of Farmer’s and other corporate training programs, employees can learn business skills and earn college credits that start them on the path to a degree.

Gainful employment” regulations will be revised, after being thrown out last year in court. The U.S. Education Department has announced plans to use the regulatory process — not legislation — to advance its college aid and affordability agenda.

MOOC credits move forward

Some students may get college credit for passing massive online open courses now that the American Council on Education (ACE) has certified five Coursera MOOCs taught by university professors.

But it’s up to universities to decide whether to grant credit. Duke won’t even let its own students get credit for the ACE-certified Bioelectricity and Genetics courses taught by Duke professors.

MOOCs are popular, but not profitable

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are expanding rapidly, reports the New York Times. But where’s the money?

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — In August, four months after Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng started the online education company Coursera, its free college courses had drawn in a million users, a faster launching than either Facebook or Twitter.The co-founders, computer science professors at Stanford University, watched with amazement as enrollment passed two million last month, with 70,000 new students a week signing up for over 200 courses, including Human-Computer Interaction, Songwriting and Gamification, taught by faculty members at the company’s partners, 33 elite universities.

In less than a year, Coursera has attracted $22 million in venture capital and has created so much buzz that some universities sound a bit defensive about not leaping onto the bandwagon.

. . .  New ventures like Udemy help individual professors put their courses online. Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have each provided $30 million to create edX. Another Stanford spinoff, Udacity, has attracted more than a million students to its menu of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, along with $15 million in financing.

All of this could well add up to the future of higher education — if anyone can figure out how to make money.

Coursera is trying to create “revenue streams through licensing, certification fees and recruitment data provided to employers,” reports the Times.

Selling certificates of completion requires a way to verify students are doing their own work.  Verification could use typing patterns, reports the Chronicle of Higher Ed.

eCornell is trying to enroll MOOC students in a paid follow-up class.

If students can earn transferrable credit — or perhaps employer-designed certifications — then there’s gold in them thar MOOCs.

A wonderful site called Retropundit has the news from 1913:  In 50 years, Tufts professor predicts moving pictures will make professors obsolete.

In a speech reported by the Boston Daily Globe, Tufts Professor Edwin C. Bolles hailed recent inventions which “make moving pictures talk”  and predicted:

Fifty years from today a college faculty will consist essentially of a president, a janitor and a moving-picture man.  . . .  The professors will be able to give their lectures without even entering the class room, the moving picture films will reproduce their voice and every one of their characteristic gestures and postures.

“One suspects fifty years may prove too short a span of time for such radical changes in our system of higher education,” writes Retroprundit. ” Time will tell.”

Adults get credit for what they already know

A new tool is helping adults get college credit for what they’ve learned on the job, in the military or through independent study.

Credit where it’s due

Soon, more college students will be able to earn credits for competency, whether they learned through a free online course, on-the-job training, military experience or independent study.

Khan: Free learning, cheap credentials

Khan Academy founder Salman Khan talks about his new book, The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined, in an interview with MIT Technology Review. Instead of the Prussian model — students march in lockstep through the curriculum — Khan believes technology will make “mastery learning” practical.

Everyone advances at his or her own pace. Don’t try algebra until you know your arithmetic. Spend less time in lectures and more in hands-on problem solving.

Most students can be motivated to learn, if they can go at their own pace, Khan says. “The core reason for students disengaging is that they are frustrated. They’re in algebra class but don’t have a good foundation in pre-algebra or arithmetic.”

Khan Academy is “investing heavily” in analytics, says Khan. “What does a student know? What does a student not know? How effective is the tutorial?” In elementary and middle schools using Khan in the classroom, teachers are very enthusiastic about the real-time learning assessments — more so than the videos.

Online learning will revolutionize higher education and liberate students from ever-rising college costs, Khan says.

Here’s what I think it could look like in five years: the learning side will be free, but if and when you want to prove what you know, and get a credential, you would go to a proctoring center [for an exam]. And that would cost something. Let’s say it costs $100 to administer that exam. I could see charging $150 for it. And then you have a $50 margin that you can reinvest on the free-learning side.

If students can earn credible credits by taking free online classes, the college cartel will be broken, writes Jeff Selingto at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Now universities often reject transfer credits, claiming the quality of instruction doesn’t match their own, he writes.

. . . what happens when students arrive at the registrars’ office with credit-bearing courses from professors at Stanford, Penn, and Princeton? What will the excuse be then to reject the credits—that the courses were free? Such an excuse might finally expose the true reason many colleges refuse to accept transfer credits: They want students to pay them tuition for a class . . .

It all depends on assessment. If there’s a credible, cost-effective way to measure learning, then everything changes.

Adult students seek credit for experience

On Community College Spotlight:  Some colleges give credit for work and life experience, including military training. A new campaign will encourage more adults to earn college credits for what they’ve learned on the job or in the military.

Six years of credits, no degree

After earning six years of college credits, Sharon Miller hasn’t finished a four-year degree. Kevin Carey, who met Miller when she interned at Education Sector, tells the story.

Sharon didn’t expect to be at Kent State long — she had three semesters at Cedarville under her belt, plus the (two-year) degree from Akron. That seemed awfully close to four years.

But the process of transferring those credits to Kent State quickly turned into a maze. In theory there were advisers to help. But Sharon had a full-time job, and the advising office was open only during the day. She tried to go on her lunch hour, but they were closed for lunch. She sent e-mail messages and left voice mails but most were never returned.

Miller had taken several classes at Cedarville, a Baptist university, with “Christian” or “Bible” in the course name. None of those were accepted. Kent State also rejected “the vast majority” of University of Akron credits.

In total, she had earned 70 college credits — over two years’ worth — that had disappeared as if they had never been.

The reluctance to grant credit vanished once Miller was paying Kent State for the privilege, Carey writes. Miller was given three upper-division “Writing Seminar” credits for writing press releases for a church camp and promised 15 upper-division credits for a summer internship at Ed Sector.

Kent State appears to have no problem letting Sharon write tuition checks for credit when the experience in question involves little or no cost or work on the part of Kent State.

Miller dropped Spanish II when her advisor and her panish teacher told her she could test out of the foreign-language requirement. The testing center said no.

Now Sharon has to take Spanish II, III, and IV, consecutively, over the next three semesters. Because the job market doesn’t pay much for people without college credentials, Sharon has to take out student loans. But you can’t take out a government loan for one course per semester. So Sharon will pick up a minor in political science, and earn another 22 credits above the 175 she already has. It will cost her thousands of dollars and delay graduation by a year, all so she can learn enough Spanish to order dinner or read a middle-school textbook in Guadalajara, neither of which she wants to do.

“Our postsecondary system is phenomenally wasteful, inflexible, and inefficient in the way it awards and exchanges higher-education currency (credits) and turns that currency into assets (degrees),” Carey writes. We need “public-minded organizations that have the credibility and financial incentives to award credit based on rigorous standards of evidence.”

From the military to college

In her years in the military, CheekyReadhead passed demanding courses on ultrasound technology, then worked on cutting-edge equipment. Hospitals were eager to hire her when she left the military. But now that she wants to earn a degree, she can’t get her military training recognized by colleges, which want her to retake classes she’s already passed. Furthermore, she can’t get an explanation of what criteria colleges are using to reject her military coursework. She writes on Team Sugar:

Colleges award degrees to anyone that can obtain a “minimal” standard while the military will only take those who excel—they choose excellence over mediocrity.

Every soldier is expected to excel in their field or they are either moved to a less technical field, reclassified or simply discharged.

. . . The civilian job market recognizes this level of achievement by simply choosing a veteran over a new grad student because they know the value of actual working experience and the dedication required to be successful in the military.

She’s campaigning for a law requiring colleges and universities to give credits for college-level military training.  I think the military is working on this for people now serving but apparently it isn’t helping veterans.