MOOCs and Academic Accreditation in the UK

In their survey of MOOCs in the UK, the Higher Education Academy, an independent HE support body, outlined a set of policy recommendations which included a push towards academic accreditation. Presently, only two British MOOCs have been offered for credit: First Steps in Teaching and Learning (Oxford Brookes University) and Vampire Fictions (Edge Hill University). The Vampire Fictions MOOC enabled participants to attend the course for free, with the option to acquire 20 credits in return for £200 if provided passable results were achieved. Written by Philippe Roesle, Science and technology office  in UK.

Earlier this year, Times Higher Education published the statistics of this experimental MOOC. Of the 1’000 enrolled students, 31 students finished the course and not a single one opted to pay for academic accreditation. Read here what convenor Ben Brabon thinks this means for the future of academically accredited MOOCs.

If Brabon is indeed right that certain pre-requisites are crucial for the academic success of MOOC students, what does that imply for the HEA’s suggestion that MOOCs should strive towards academic accreditation? Does it make sense to measure MOOC students’ success in academic terms, or will accreditation inevitably have negative implications on the notion of ‘openness’ (both in terms of its costs and requirements)? Will MOOCs seeking to achieve profitability eventually have to become simply MOCs?

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