SUNY announced Thursday that it signed an agreement to partner with Coursera, a website with 3.7 million users that is a leader in offering what are called “massive open online courses.” Universities worldwide, including private schools in New York like the University of Rochester, upload video lectures and course materials onto the website in an effort to enhance educational access.
Starting with a course from Stony Brook University in the fall, SUNY is planning to offer some courses through the site, although how many is unclear.
Exact details are still to be worked out, but students could be granted prior learning assessment credits for MOOC courses taken through a SUNY campus or even elsewhere. These “would essentially act as transfer credits” that would require a fee, but not a tuition charge for each course. Presumably the credit transfer fees would be minimal, well below tuition costs.
A student might be able to get his SUNY degree at about two-thirds the cost of a traditional program.
SUNY allows only one-third of the coursework for a degree to be transferred.
“There would be a limit,” SUNY spokesman David Doyle said. “It’s not like you could get a free degree.”
This strikes me as not very different from the Advanced Placement program, which allows college students credit for up to one year ‘s worth of college courses.