Today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel features a front page article about the University of Wisconsin System’s new Flexible Option. The article examines the role of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Cources) in the flex degree and notes that students may use MOOCs to gain knowledge and demonstrate competency and possibly event receive college credit for their work.
Coincidentally, the American Council on Education (ACE) announced yesterday that ACE was recommending that five classes available through Coursera were worthy of college credit. ACE President Molly Corbett Broad is scheduled to address the Board of Regents tomorrow to discuss the future of higher education. Her talk is entitled “Higher Education at the Crossroads: Multiple Challenges, Leadership and Innovation.”
Many colleges and universities have already begun to offer MOOCs, while others are more cautious. At the same time, some states are exploring fixed-cost degrees, like the $10,000 degree proposed by Governor Rick Perry in Texas, Governor Rick Scott in Florida, and a legislator in California.
UW Sytem President Kevin Reilly explained System’s approach:
“The regents want to be sure we’re out on the cutting edge, but also that we’re good stewards and not taking unnecessary risks. With any innovation there’s risk. The only way to not have risk is to not innovate, but then there’s the risk the world passes you by.”
UW-Milwaukee will offer the first flex option degree next fall and other campuses may follow.