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ACM TechNews

Online College Courses to Grant Credentials, For a Fee

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Free online college course providers are experimenting with security features that will enable students who successfully complete the courses to pay a small fee and obtain credentials. However, the credentials will not translate into course credit toward a degree because there are still questions about how much schools are willing to grant students who do not pay tuition. As major universities across the U.S. develop massive online open courses, it remains unclear how they will generate revenue from them.

Classes sponsored by Duke University, the University of San Francisco, Georgia Tech, and the University of Illinois now will enable students to obtain a "verified certificate" that carries the university's logo by paying a small fee. The certificates are a "much more meaningful and valuable credential that they can use in their professional life or for their own personal reward," says Stanford University professor Daphne Koller.

To qualify for the certificate, a student would submit, via Webcam, a picture and photo identification. During the course, samples of the student's keystrokes would be checked as assignments are filed and tests taken, and the patterns taken from those keystrokes can serve as a biometric identifier to verify the user.

From The Washington Post
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