California State U. Will Experiment With Offering Credit for MOOCs

State universities in California, looking for creative ways to reduce education costs at a time of budget stress, are turning to MOOCs to offer low-cost options for students.

On Tuesday, San Jose State University announced an unusual pilot project with Udacity, a for-profit provider of the massive open online courses, to jointly create three introductory mathematics classes. The courses will be free online, but students who want credit from San Jose State will be able to take them for just $150, far less than the $450 to $750 that students would typically pay for a credit-bearing course.

If the project continues beyond the pilot, the university will keep 51 percent of any revenue after costs are covered and Udacity will keep 49 percent, said Mohammad Qayoumi, president of the university, in an interview on [January 14].

The University of California system may eventually decide to work with MOOC providers as well: Leaders of Udacity and Coursera, another for-profit MOOC company, are scheduled to appear before the university’s Board of Regents on [January 16].

The California State University project began when the state’s governor, Jerry Brown, e-mailed Sebastian Thrun, the founder of Udacity, to say “We need your help,” recounted Mr. Thrun during a news conference on [January 15].

The governor, a Democrat, said at the news conference that student debt is a “huge problem” and that “online is a part of that solution.” <Read more.>

Via Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle of Higher Ed.