- Arizona State University’s massive open online course experiment in partnership with edX was supposed to give thousands of students free access to freshman-year courses they could take online and pay for only if they passed.
- Inside Higher Ed reports, however, that just 323 of 34,086 people who registered for the Global Freshman Academy MOOCs — less than 1% — actually completed the courses with a C or better, making them eligible for the reduced-cost first-year credits.
- While Arizona State was hoping more students would enroll when it announced the Global Freshman Academy, it sees the small first year as a positive first step.
Justin Reich, a MOOC researcher at MIT, told Inside Higher Ed that many more students than those who qualify for credit may have had positive learning experiences in the Global Freshman Academy or become more familiar with ASU — two reasons why the experiment could be considered successful. With just one semester of data, it could be far too early to criticize. MOOCs historically have had very low completion rates. The promise of cheaper course credit may not have motivated a substantial portion of these early adopters to complete the Global Freshman Academy courses, but in future semesters that could change. The key will be watching to see what happens next.