Help, I Took a MOOC – Now What?

Jeffrey Simons

Getting Credit for MOOC courses

Or, “How to get credit for what you learned in a non-credit-bearing course”

By Jeffrey Simons

Taking a MOOC sounded like a great idea. Who wouldn’t want to take a free online course from top professors at the best universities in the world, like Harvard and Stanford and MIT? That’s probably why hundreds of thousands of students signed up for them. Some of them even finished the courses, although sadly, fewer than you’d think. (Many MOOCS have dropout rates of 90% or so, according to articles like this one in The Chronicle of Higher Education.)

But let’s assume you’re one of the students who stuck with your MOOC to the end. Now what? What do you do with what you learned? Because you see, with MOOCS, to some extent, you get what you pay for. MOOCs don’t give you college credit. Knowledge, yes. Credit, no. Not at Coursera. Not at EdX. Not at Udacity.

What if we told you that there was in fact a fast and easy way for you to get the credit you deserve for the knowledge you gained in your MOOC?

There is.

Credit-by-Exam: Earn College Credit for Your MOOC

It’s called a credit-by-exam (CBE), and it’s the perfect option for students who took a MOOC. In fact, StraighterLine offers over 30 different tests-for-credit in subjects like:

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Basic Genetics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Business Law
  • Accounting
  • English Composition I
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Workplace Communication with Computers

And many more. You can find the full list of credit-by-exams here.

Accepted at 2,500 Colleges and Universities

Our CBEs aren’t just any old test-for-credit. They’re Excelsior College Exams (ECE), and they’ve actually been around for more than 40 years. They’re produced by one of our accredited partner schools, Excelsior College, and they’re accepted for credit by more than 2,500 colleges and universities.

They’re also an excellent way to convert your MOOC-knowledge into college credit. That’s because when you buy an ECE, you don’t just buy a test. You get an entire study program, complete with a content guide, course guide, open courseware, open resources guide and a practice test. So you can use the course materials that come with your ECE to fill in any holes you may have in your mastery of the subject while you study for the test. It’s the ultimate study guide.

Earn 3 College Credits for $95

And do you know one of the best things of all about a credit-by-exam? It’s affordable. In fact, many of our CBEs cost as little as $95 each. Some of them cost more, of course, but some of those also give you even more college credits. For instance, Anatomy & Physiology costs $415 and gives you 6 credits.

In addition to being affordable, taking an Excelsior College Exam is convenient. You’ll take your ECE at the nearest Pearson VUE Test Center, the world’s largest network of test centers with locations in 175 countries around the world. The tests take between 2 and 3 hours, on average. Registration is easy and online, and scheduling is flexible. In other words, you can convert your MOOC into credit as quickly as you need to.

Another Option to Earn College Credit for Your MOOC

If you don’t find a subject that corresponds with your MOOC, never fear: you can also take a PLA, or Prior Learning Assessment. A PLA lets you translate the knowledge you've gained through independent study, or in the real world through jobs, civic and military engagement, volunteering, and even hobbies into college credit. In fact, if you’re one of the millions of students who’ve gained knowledge via the Khan Academy, a PLA may be just what you’re looking for.

That’s because a Prior Learning Assessment is more than just a test. It’s a process that colleges and universities use to evaluate what you've learned outside the classroom for the purpose of assigning academic credit. In other words, perfect for MOOCS and Khan Academy alumni alike.

And there’s not just one type of PLA. You can choose different types of PLA to fit your style and your budget. Some are self-directed, and others are instructor-led with specific start and end dates.

Knowledge Is Power, but You Need Credits for a Degree

It would be nice if MOOCs automatically gave you credit, but they don’t. For you to make the most of the knowledge you got in your MOOC or through independent study like with the Khan Academy, you have to go the extra mile to gain college credit that counts towards your degree. Luckily for you, there’s a way to travel that mile cheaper, quicker, and easier than you thought possible.

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