Low-cost credit for free online courses

Students will be able to earn college credit for free online courses thanks to a partnership between the Saylor Foundation, which offers  free, self-paced college courses, and StraighterLine, which offers low-cost online courses.

Saylor students will be able to take a StraighterLine exam to earn credit backed by the American Council on Education, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. Or students could enroll in a StraighterLine course but use Saylor’s free course materials to save money.

Alana Harrington, director of the Saylor Foundation, said her group’s repository of free online courses won’t go anywhere, and will still grant certificates of completion. But the partnership with StraighterLine will give students a way to get credit for low-cost online courses that’s more meaningful than a certificate.

“We understand the fact that to some students, the pure acquisition of knowledge or the certificate proving their competency isn’t enough,” she said. “Credit is a form of currency today.”

StraighterLine and Saylor will work with George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College to help students transfer credits easily.