University of Cincinnati Launches MOOC Offering Free Credit Hours

As the world's leading universities are offering free online courses through massive open online course (MOOC) providers such as Udacity, edX and ‎Coursera, the questions over whether free credit-bearing MOOCs have a role in higher education are growing louder.

The University of Cincinnati (UC) has decided to begin teaching its first MOOC and has nudged higher education in the direction of awarding credit. A seven-week MOOC2Degree course, titled Innovation and Design Thinking, will be co-taught by Lindner's Drew Boyd, assistant professor-educator of marketing and executive director of the master of science in marketing, and Jim Tappel, assistant professor-educator at CEAS. The online class will utilize weekly lectures, assigned readings, live chats and guest speakers.

Students who will successfully complete the course and enroll in a master's program at either of the two colleges will receive two free credit hours, the university said in a statement.

According to the university, there are no admission requirements and no prerequisites associated with the class, so individuals who have no current affiliation with UC can simply register online and immediately join the class.

Hundreds of students have shown an interest in taking a free MOOC that offers two free credit hours, according to the university. Currently, more than 200 people registered from around the world.

With this revolutionary approach, the university wants participants to sample the UC curriculum and simultaneously recognizes the work of students who complete the MOOC and ultimately pursue a UC graduate degree by saving them both time and money while on their degree path, the university said.

"Our MOOC2Degree course will allow students to experience our quality faculty and programs before making an investment in pursuing a master's degree," said BJ Zirger, associate dean for Online Education at the Lindner College of Business.

The MOOC2Degree course is designed to appeal to innovation practitioners from all backgrounds as the class will teach students to master the tools necessary to generate new ideas and how to quickly transform those concepts into viable new products and services, UC said.

The lineup of guest speakers will include Cindy Tripp, formerly the director of Global Design Thinking at Procter & Gamble; Dr. Michael Clem, vice president R&D, medical at Kaleidoscope; Elizabeth Edwards, CEO at Metro Innovation and author of "Startup: The Complete Handbook for Launching a Company for Less"; and Doug Ladd, chief marketing officer, EndoChoice.

The course's launch date is October 7.

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