10 MOOC Partnerships We’re Excited About

As massive online open courses, or MOOCs, transition from their infancy into toddlerhood, part of the growing process involves establishing more and more relationships between hosts, teachers, students, and “” most importantly “” the colleges and universities themselves. Some of these hold the potential to result in some real game-changing efforts, or at the very least set a historical precedent. Like these, for example:

  1. edX + Community Colleges

    Bunker Hill and Mass Bay Community Colleges, both located in Massachusetts, teamed up with edX to help students transition into the workforce with all the skills they need to perform their duties well. Since so many students at two-year schools face more budget and time constraints than their four-year counterparts, the MOOC structure works perfectly for their needs. And building courses revolving around understanding all the ins and outs of scoring and succeeding at a job directly addresses general criticisms levied at higher ed’s emphasis on teaching theory over reality.

  2. Colorado State University + Udacity

    Last fall, Colorado State University announced that it will accept credits from students who complete select Udacity online college courses, marking an industry first in the United States. For now, this offer only extends toward certain computer science classes. And students must pass the final as well as a formally proctored Pearson exam in order to receive recognition on their transcripts. Because only one full semester has passed since this partnership initially launched and no new departments embraced the arrangement, it remains to be seen how much of an impact this could leave on the future of MOOCs and traditional college settings. Best case scenario is that more and more schools embrace the open education craze and provide another outlet for students to learn within a setting that meets their needs.

  3. Futurelearn

    MOOCs, despite their potential global outreach, largely remained an American innovation developed by American schools and companies. Futurelearn challenges this technological and educational control by partnering up colleges and universities across the United Kingdom. Twelve schools, including the already edtech-savvy Open University, are set to start offering these courses to an international classroom. They plan to launch later in 2013, keeping MOOC enthusiasts in suspense about what courses will wind up on the menu.

  4. San Jose State University + Udacity

    Meanwhile, on the West Coast, San Jose State University (SJSU) has started experimenting with MOOC juggernaut Udacity to develop three simple math classes. Offered for credit in the wake of Colorado State University’s apparently trendsetting example, the arrangement will see profits split, with 51% towards SJSU and 49% toward Udacity. If both parties wind up bringing in more funding as a result of this arrangement, this could very well mean a positive financial step for colleges and universities faced with tightened purse strings.

  5. Antioch University + Coursera

    Also following the precedent set by Colorado State University, both Antioch University campuses harnessed themselves to a major MOOC provider in order to offer up full-credit open courseware options online to its prospective students. They hope to expand their programming to include full-blown Coursera-based degree plans as well as classes meant to assist high schoolers in their transition to college. Announced in October 2012, this partnership plans to move forward slowly, with the more major changes set for 2013 implementation.

  1. Morgan State University + Udacity

    Morgan State University in Maryland boasts the distinction of being the very first Historically Black College or University (HBCU) to partner up with an established MOOC provider. Talks between the school and Udacity currently remain entirely private, though some news sources believe they’ll publicize the details of their relationship in late January of 2013.

  2. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation + Its 12 Grant Recipients

    In its quest to generously fund education initiatives around the world, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spread $3 million worth of grants across 12 different institutions. Nine of these are American universities hoping to develop their own MOOCs meant to provide low-cost, schedule-friendly alternatives to an international student body. With such a generous amount of money filtering into the research, it’s entirely possible that some riveting, effective innovations might crop up within the next few years.

  3. Canvas.net

    The brand new Canvas.net, launched by Instructure in 2013, allows schools to create and share their own MOOCs rather than partnering up with a site like Coursera, edX, or Udacity. Best of all, any teachers, colleges, and students hoping to participate do not have to pay anything to take advantage of the hosting or the classes themselves. This might very well prove a game-changer, especially with finances a mounting concern for institutions of higher learning.

  4. Wesleyan University + Coursera

    Coursera’s relationship with Wesleyan University inspired more than a few raised eyebrows, as liberal arts colleges tend to thrive based on their comparatively smaller class sizes. But despite this traditional ambiance, they found the “massive” part of “massive open online course” appealing. With so many students needing to enroll in basic and introductory courses (like social psychology, set to launch in July 2013), MOOCs ensure they don’t have to watch the classes fill up before they can even access the sign up form. Shortly after this partnership went public, the similarly named Wellesley College “” also a liberal arts institution “” announced experiments with edX to see how MOOCs might work for them. If successful, students get to enjoy the best elements of a large online course and more intimate classroom settings these schools provide.

  5. MOOC2Degree

    So far, about 40 public colleges and universities across the United States participate in the MOOC2Degree initiative. Its premise remains short and simple: open up MOOCs for credits toward degree programs. Schools themselves dictate the curriculum requirements, meaning students do not come away from the experience with an unregulated education irrelevant to their plans. Best of all, the program costs absolutely nothing, which grants it an edge over fully online degrees. While enrollees will have to pay up once they transfer their credits, but this should still save them some money in the long term. And everyone can be excited about a slightly fatter wallet.

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