Udacity's Credit Path

ACE considers credit recommendations for a batch of Udacity courses.

January 16, 2013

Udacity had a busy Tuesday. The MOOC provider announced two partnerships that could lead to college credit for versions of its courses.

The American Council on Education (ACE) said it would evaluate four Udacity courses, all of which are entry-level, for credit recommendations. And San Jose State University announced a deal to jointly offer three $150 courses with Udacity, in a trial run enrolling 300 students. (See accompanying story.)

The arrangement with ACE is similar to one struck in November with Coursera, which, like Udacity, is a for-profit MOOC provider. The council is also reviewing several Coursera courses for potential credit recommendations.

The primary umbrella group for higher education, ACE has for decades been a leader in determining whether military or corporate training programs should be worthy of college credit. Teams of faculty experts, who are on contract with ACE, assess whether college-level learning occurs in the training programs and issue credit recommendations based on those determinations.

Students can qualify for credit recommendations from ACE if they complete the training or, presumably, MOOCs that make the grade in this initial batch of those being reviewed. Some, but not all, of the council’s 1,200 members accept its credit transcripts.

Three of the four Udacity courses ACE will evaluate are introductory math classes created at San Jose State. The fourth is Udacity’s introduction to computer science.

ACE is studying MOOCs, with a research project that will look at the demographics of students who take Udacity courses and attempt to identify “effective pedagogies and practices that can help students succeed when enrolled in MOOCs,” the council said in a written statement. It is also working with college leaders to consider the “disruptive” potential posed by MOOCs.

“As the postsecondary landscape continues to evolve, assessing where MOOCs may fit into that landscape for credit purposes is an important part of the national completion agenda,” said Cathy A. Sandeen, vice president of ACE’s Center for Education Attainment and Innovation, in a written statement.

Share Article

Paul Fain

Paul Fain, Contributing Editor, came to Inside Higher Ed in September 2011, after a six-year stint covering leadership and finance for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Paul has also worked in higher ed P.R., with Widmeyer Communications, but couldn't stay away from reporting. A former staff writer for C-VILLE Weekly, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., Paul has written for The New York Times, Washington City Paper and Mother Jones. He's won a few journalism awards, including one for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association and the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award. Paul got hooked on journalism while working too many hours at The Review, the student newspaper at the University of Delaware, where he earned a degree in political science in 1996. A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a long-suffering fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Fain plays guitar in a band with more possible names than polished songs.

Back to Top