ASU/edX Global Freshman Academy

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by SteveFoerster, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    This apparently was the big news of the day in American higher education circles. From the Chronicle article:

    The bottom line is that the MOOCs are free, but to get credit you have to pay ASU $200 per semester-hour, a price point that I personally find awfully underwhelming.

    Anyway, I'm sure there will soon be an ocean of commentary, but what I've seen so far is Matt Reed at InsideHigherEd asking pertinent questions.
  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Jeff Davidson from the Saylor Academy weighs in:

    EdX + ASU "Global Freshman Year" is a Step in the Right Direction
  3. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Well, there are two components:

    1. The actual cost. At $200 per semester hour, meh
    2. The risk

    If they made a significant gain on the "risk" aspect, then I'm most intrigued by the whole thing. What I mean is, if I take a course with FHSU, I have to pay them up front. I pay a relatively low amount of money. However, there is a risk that, at some point over the 16 week semester, I will drop off. Maybe my family life will get chaotic. Maybe my boss will give me an impossible project with unrealistic deadlines. So, I might lose all of the tuition money I just laid out PLUS I have the risk tarnishing my academic record with a bad grade.

    Coursera has a system in place which allows me to take a MOOC for free. However, at any time (someone jump in if they know the actual cutoff) during the course, I can pay and get my verified certificate.

    So $200/credit hour is a bit steep if I have to pay it up front. BUT, if I can take the course for free and then say, 3/4 of the way through pay for the credits I think the reduction in risk makes up for the higher tuition cost.

    But I think this is a step in the right direction. For years I've been able to take an MIT course for free. Most recently, I have been able to be tested on that course content and receive a certificate showing that I completed the course. The idea that now I could get credit for that work is nothing short of excellent. I take MOOCs for fun. I abandon some part of the way through. Others I complete. As long as I don't have to lock in at the very beginning, I think this is a major win. But if I have to pay it all up front, I think I'd rather take a regular online course.
  4. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    It was only a matter of time before someone began using MOOCS for credit. Good for ASU for taking a step into the future.
  5. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    The price is certainly an issue that would factor in whether or not "I" would use this option- of course I'd use (and do use) MOOCs all day long and then take that knowledge into a CLEP or DSST. I find 3 things interesting: 1) potential upper level credit offerings which are almost always more expensive and more difficult to obtain than lower level credit. 2) These credits are RA, not ACE, which is huge imo. 3) Creating a market.
    These guys are first, so while it may or may not work well for them, there will be lots of followers who work this out, and I think where this will be in 5 years (as opposed to this specific program) makes this a game changer.
  6. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I agree with Jennifer. While the price is not great compared to many CC courses, it's better than a lot of other schools that we talk about. I know it may not be perfect but I personally don't expect perfection right out of the box. As time passes it will get better and other schools will follow suit and put their own twist on things. Upper level courses will appear and then what starts out as as just a Freshman year becomes an Associates degree program and then a BA.. Be a bit patient. You'll see.

    I'll add one more thing. If anyone should be getting nervous it's all those adjunct instructors out there.
  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    MOOC hype doesn't make up for the unexciting prices and lack of federal financial aid eligibility. But maybe Starbucks will pay the fees for their people. Or something.
  8. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Meh. I'm still not into this MOOC hype. The only promising partnership I've seen between MOOCs and a college is the Georgia Tech partnership with Udacity for their computer science program. Udacity had another partnership that failed. Coursera gave up on ACE credits for some reason; the ACE-approved courses they did have were rarely offered. Udacity also gave up on ACE credits before they even gave themselves a chance to offer them. They were supposed to require some kind of test for credits, but never developed it. What Saylor is doing seems promising, but I always thought they were considered semi-MOOC.

    I agree with Matt Reed. ASU and edX really aren't solving anything with this. I wonder how often these courses are going to be offered. Coursera has many courses that are only offered once per year. I even came across courses that were offered once per two years. Community colleges offer gen ed courses every semester including summer semesters. Many CCs now have 8-week terms, too.

    Currently, this is only for freshman year courses.
  9. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    wow....hadn't considered that. Interesting consideration!
  10. workingmom

    workingmom New Member

    How would ASU certified that the student who paid for credit, is the one that completed the course? Especially, if a person can start a course and then mid-way through decide, "Hey, this is going well, let me pay for college credit for it." I mean, I know this is hard enough for traditional DL classes, but at least with them the student enrolled beforehand and announced his intention to seek credit.

    I'm in the middle of reading Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It by Ian Leslie. Some of the case studies in there about education have me thinking about the direction of teaching. MOOC's are an extension of the emphasis on student-directed learning, but this type of learning works for those that are self-motivated, self-directed, curious, and have a certain knowledge base to begin with. If we change education at the lower grades, then I'd have more hope for MOOCs, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.
  11. jhp

    jhp Member

    MOOC concept good, implementation and fees bad.
  12. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I think the easiest way to answer those questions would be to send you to the Coursera website and ask you to read through their introductory material.
  13. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    How illuminating.:cool2:
  14. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

  15. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

  16. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    You don't necessarily need to have the money "lying around." While many of us self-fund, there are a good number of people who take advantage of tuition assistance programs. My company, for example, will pay up to $60k toward higher education. If you shop wisely, that could easily pay for multiple degrees. But if I had a job lifting heavy stuff all day and I really needed a B.A. To be considered formy dream job in marketing (or HR?) cost might not be my primary concern. I might focus more on flexibility.

    That isn't to say that this is the best option. But it is an option that really didn't exist before. So that always makes me happy.
  17. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Coursera has a proprietary system which involves you taking a photo of yourself when submitting assignments. You also have to type a certifying statement and their system is able to determine if the same person has consistently typed the statement.

    That said, for assignments requiring submission, you COULD capture in someone else's work.

    Then again, if you were attending courses at a B&M school you could turn in someone else's work there even easier.

    Others likely will resort to ProctorU or a similar service.

    Of note, however, is the fact that some schools don't even use objective tests as a measurement. At CTU i was measured all by writing assignments. Even at UofS, I had only a few courses give me an actual test. Most gave us essay exams (fill up the blue book).
  18. workingmom

    workingmom New Member

    Thanks, Neuhaus, that's helpful. It's been a few years since I've completed DL courses for credit. At that time, I has several in-person proctored finals I took at a local CC testing facility (where I also took my CLEP/DSST exams). I mean I realize people will always find ways to cheat, I was just curious what measures were in place to deal with this head-on.
  19. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I, personally, thought ProctorU was a terrible idea when I first heard it. Then I actually took a course that used ProctorU for final testing. I'm sure that if someone really had it in mind to cheat they would find a way. But I found that they pretty well covered any apparent means of dishonesty.

    I think that you're right; people will always find a way to cheat. I think that distance learning is pushed further to "prove itself" even though there are a number of vulnerabilities in B&M schools. I think that, overall, DL is handling the challenge well.

    At UofS, I took at least two classes where the final exam was proctored by someone other than our professor and the proctor didn't check IDs. Of course, even if they had, they didn't take attendance. They just collected the books. So Joseph Neuhaus could have sat down and shown his ID while turning in a blue book for, well, anyone.

    I think the plagiarism detection software used by many online programs is also rather interesting (if a bit annoying).
  20. workingmom

    workingmom New Member

    I came across an interesting blog today, Confessions of a Community College Dean, that brought up a valid point since these are paid for out-of-pocket, without benefit of financial aid, wouldn't it just be cheaper to take part in the MOOC and then take a CLEP? Which he also points out has been an option for years, but not many take advantage of. Or, are MOOC's trying to gain "legitimacy" by "laundering credits"? The later is more likely to me, not in a sinister way but in way that both parties (the MOOC provider and the school) are trying to find a business/financial model. Confessions of a Community College Dean

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