Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider edX, a joint venture between MIT, Harvard, and the University of California-Berkley, has signed an agreement with Pearson testing centers that will allow students to take proctored exams at the end of a class. After passing the exam students will receive certificates of completion, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported.
While students who pass the optional exams will still be unable to receive credit from the edX partner universities the decision by the company to offer supervised, in-person exams might make it more difficult for other degree granting institutions to deny credit for edX’s classes, Inside Higher Ed reported.
Non-profit edX’s decision to offer proctored exams makes it the second MOOC provider to partner with Pearson, for-profit Udacity made a similar announcement in June. The announcement from edX comes after highly publicized reports of plagiarism in some of, rival MOOC provider, Coursera’s classes led pundits and publications to begin painting MOOC’s as “the downfall of online education.”
Coursera responded to the plagiarism reports by requiring students in some of its essay based courses to click through an honor code disclaimer, a move that was met with skepticism and spawned the sarcastic Twitter hashtag “honor code fixes everything.” However, Udacity’s use of proctored examinations has already led Colorado State University Global, an accredited online university, to offer transfer credits for an introduction to computer science class offered by the company.
Only one of the seven courses that edX is currently offering will have the proctored testing option, the organization has not disclosed which course that will be or how much the test will cost. Students pay an $89 fee to take the Udacity exams. Cost factor may be one of the reasons why only about 20 people have signed up for, or taken, the proctored exam for Udacity’s introduction to computer science course, according to the Inside Higher Ed report.
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