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Free Mini-MOOC on Academic Skills Required in U.S. Online Bachelor's Degrees

Includes assessment of reading and writing skills, of special interest to English Learners

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., April 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Align Degree Services (ALIGN) announced today the launching of a MOOC Sampler at that offers participants free access to university-level courses. The three-week online experience will introduce them to segments of three six-week courses that are typically part of first-year study at US universities. ALIGN courses are designed for online learners and are recognized as credit-bearing by the American Council on Education (ACE).

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Enrollment, which begins in the 3-week MOOC Sampler on April 1, 2014, will be open (free) to International and American students who have plans to earn a US university degree, providing them an opportunity to assess their reading and writing skills, as well as their ability to participate in active university-level discussion of academic content. 

The most difficult challenge students face in obtaining a US university degree is not the cost or being accepted by an institution; it is surviving the academic requirements of the first year of study.

Students in the MOOC Sampler will participate in segments of three social science courses, Strategies for College Learning and Goal Setting, Introduction to Psychology, and Introduction to Sociology

The learning objectives built into the full version of each course address the five core outcomes recommended by US employers: "critical thinking, complex problem-solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge in real world settings."

The learning experience in the ALIGN platform includes rich academic content available in digital textbooks, videos, and access to online library databases--combined with peer interaction in assigned discussion forum exchanges. Students will use self-assessment tools to test their ability to complete assigned reading successfully; their writing skill level may be evaluated for a small fee. A professor hosts a blog, guiding discussion of subject content and its relationship to contemporary global culture. 

Each MOOC Sampler course consists of assignments that are typical in a single week of ALIGN's 6-week, university-level online courses offered in a self-paced learning environment. Students who successfully complete assessed assignments in a MOOC Sampler course will be given credit for that work, if they subsequently enroll in the 6-week ALIGN course. The MOOC Sampler is an open-entry, open-exit format. Enrollment can begin any time, between April 1 and April 10, 2014, with all work to be completed in the 3-week experience by April 30.   

The site also provides students optional access to skill-building resources through Upskilling Academics, where personalized help is just a click away. 

To view this video on YouTube, please visit:

Media Contact: Steve Clugston, Align Degree Services, 309-807-4321, [email protected]

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SOURCE Align Degree Services

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