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American Council on Education Approves First Round of Coursera Courses for Credit Equivalency

Coursera Becomes First Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Provider to Offer Credit Options

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 02/07/13 -- Today, Coursera announced that the American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT®) has made credit recommendations for an initial five courses, creating unprecedented opportunities for students who complete select courses on Coursera's online platform to potentially apply their credit toward a college degree.

The five courses chosen to be evaluated in November of 2012 and, as of today, approved include four undergraduate credit courses: Pre-Calculus from the University of California, Irvine; Introduction to Genetics and Evolution from Duke University; Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach from Duke University; and Calculus: Single Variable from the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, one course, Algebra from the University of California, Irvine, was approved as vocational credit.

"A rigorous evaluation of these courses showed that they meet ACE's standards for college credit recommendations," said Molly Corbett Broad, President of ACE. "This is an important first step in ACE's work to examine the long-term potential of MOOCs and whether this innovative new approach can engage students across the country and worldwide while helping raise degree completion, increasing learning productivity and deepening college curricula."

Beginning today, students wishing to receive ACE CREDIT recommendations for an eligible Coursera course can do so by signing up through the course website, joining the course's Signature Track, which consists of a series of identity verification measures, then taking a special online proctored exam after the course ends. Currently, Coursera is working with a third-party, ProctorU, to enable online proctoring so that students anywhere in the world can take these special proctored assessments via a webcam at their convenience. Coursera charges will range from $60 to $90 for the proctored exam and $30 to $99 for the Signature Track. Students will be eligible for ACE CREDIT recommendations for the equivalent of two to three college credits per course, for a total cost of $100-$190.

Students who meet all requirements and successfully complete one of the five pre-approved courses may request a transcript with credit recommendations from ACE, which they can then present to the college or university of their choice for prerequisite or undergraduate credit consideration, to be granted at the discretion of the institution. ACE CREDIT is a recognized authority in assessing non-traditional education experiences, and more than 2,000 colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.

"We are excited by this opportunity to experiment with new ways of using our MOOC courses to extend our educational reach and provide credit for students who would not otherwise have access to our faculty," said Duke Provost Peter Lange. "MOOCs, often in combination with the creativity of individual universities, have much potential to open and enrich the educational offerings available to students across the United States and the globe. We are pleased to be part of these efforts."

"Increasing access to education is one of our most important goals in working with Coursera," Penn Provost Vincent Price said. "We are gratified by ACE's recognition, and we are excited by the potential of this course to help people learn more about calculus around the world."

"As educators at UC Irvine, it is exciting to be a part of an online education milestone," said Sarah Eichhorn, Ph.D., Assistant Vice Chair of Undergraduate Studies at UCI's mathematics department. "The two classes we're offering through Coursera are the foundation for success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. My colleague Dr. Rachel Lehman and I are thrilled that students around the world will now have the opportunity to view math as a doable, beautiful, powerful tool."

"We're delighted to now offer students more avenues for academic success and achievement, particularly at a time when rising higher education costs mean, for many, an incomplete degree, or no degree at all," said Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera. "The possibilities that will come from allowing our students to receive transferable college credit are great, and we look forward to expanding this option to more courses and subjects in the coming months."

"By expanding formal credential options for students pursuing credit toward a college degree, we hope to increase the rate of degree completion, and reduce the burden of college debt," said Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera. "We firmly believe in the value of the college degree, and are working to provide credit options that are flexible to students' schedules and budgets."

Coursera plans to work with ACE to evaluate additional courses offered on Coursera's platform in the coming months. Additional information, including registration information, about the courses being offered can be found at Coursera.org.

About Coursera
Coursera is on a mission to change the world by educating millions of people by offering classes from top universities and professors online for free. Coursera's comprehensive education platform combines mastery-based learning principles with video lectures, interactive content and a global community of peers, offering students from around the world a unique online learning experience. Coursera has partnered with top-tier universities to provide courses across a broad range of disciplines, including medicine, literature, history and computer science, among others. Coursera is backed by leading venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. For more information, visit Coursera.org.

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Iz Conroy and Charlotte Crawford
coursera [at] launchsquad [dot] com

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