UPCEA Partners with ACE to Evaluate MOOCs through Gates Foundation Grant

January 9, 2013

UPCEA has partnered with the American Council on Education (ACE) to examine the academic potential of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

UPCEA will collaborate with ACE to evaluate how MOOCs could integrate into traditional degree completion programs. ACE, through funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will work with UPCEA and Coursera, a leading provider of massive open online courses, to investigate the implications of MOOCs, and evaluate their impact on higher education.
Through a pilot program involving UPCEA member institutions, UPCEA will help determine how students succeed at traditional higher education institutions after having received credit for a MOOC.

ACE will collaborate with a UPCEA member institution, the University of Illinois Springfield’s Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service, to focus on what extent MOOCs reach low-income young adult and older adult learners and whether MOOCs may aid in degree or certificate completion. This work will be performed using data from several MOOC platforms, including Coursera.

Ray Schroeder, Vice Chancellor for Online Learning at UIS and UPCEA’s first Innovation Fellow for Digital Learning, will coordinate research in the grant project. “UPCEA is at the forefront of evaluating the emerging open online learning approach to teaching and learning,” said Schroeder. “The research that we are conducting is groundbreaking and will help to set the direction for those who seek to make a difference in higher education by utilizing online technologies to reach mass audiences of students in the future.”
ACE will be using its College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) to evaluate for potential college credit select courses offered by Coursera. “UPCEA is proud to partner with ACE, the premiere association in higher education today, on this timely grant,” said Robert Hansen, CEO of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. “As the  leading association for deans and directors responsible for serving adult students with online programs, UPCEA is a natural partner for this innovative initiative.”