St. Scholastica to offer credit for online classes

  • Associated Press
  • November 27, 2012 - 12:49 PM

DULUTH, Minn. - Students at the College of St. Scholastica will now be able to receive class credit for free online classes offered by other institutions, as part of a growing nationwide effort to improve access to higher education.

St. Scholastica already offers class credit for off-campus experience such as military service or work history. Now its students will able to get credit for taking online courses, even if the content is produced elsewhere, according to a Duluth News Tribune report (

"It could provide a less expensive way to get a degree," college President Larry Goodwin said. "This is potentially a great new development in higher education, and we want to be a player in it."

So-called MOOCs, or massive open online courses, are free classes that don't offer credits. Some are offered through companies such as Coursera and others are provided by elite universities such as Harvard and MIT.

The concept has been catching on at universities around the country, even though schools are still working out the details of how to implement the program. In general, college officials rely on MOOCs to provide the backbone and resources local institutions can't offer, but the schools still handle the one-on-one interactions and award the credit.

In St. Scholastica's CSS Complete program students could earn credit through exams given by St. Scholastica faculty. They can also work with "completion coaches" work to determine whether any prior learning can count as credit.

The idea is twofold: to give more people access to higher education, and also to cater to non-traditional students who might not be able to come to campus every day.

"We're not, as a country, graduating enough students with four-year degrees to be competitive in the global economy," said Don Wortham, the school's vice president of strategic initiatives. "And students are looking for nontraditional yet valid ways to earn a degree. In CSS Complete, the college offers a flexible pathway so that more can."

While as many as 96 credits can be earned through CSS Complete or related methods, at least 32 credits must be earned through St. Scholastica.


Information from: Duluth News Tribune,

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