Competition in higher education
When undergraduate students at Southern Methodist University peruse their course catalogs this fall, several listings may strike them as odd.
First, the courses will be taught entirely online—an option that Southern Methodist has never before offered to undergraduates.
Second, the courses will be taught by professors at other universities—including Emory University, the University of Notre Dame, and Washington University in St. Louis, among others.
Southern Methodist, along with Baylor University and Temple University, plans to announce on Tuesday that it will allow undergraduate students to take online courses from other colleges for credit.
The courses, offered through the online-education company 2U, will come from a consortium of colleges participating in 2U’s Semester Online program, which is focused on undergraduate education at selective institutions.
Southern Methodist, Baylor, and Temple will be “affiliates” of the program, meaning they will not produce courses but will list certain courses developed by other members of the consortium and will grant “elective credit”—that is, general-education credit—to students who pass.
Participating in the 2U consortium as an affiliate will allow Southern Methodist to see how well online courses work for its students without committing resources to building its own, said Stephanie Dupaul, associate vice president for enrollment management at the university.
In California, however, plans for for-credit MOOCs in public universities have been put on hold.