MOOC certification?

Sure, you read the books, watched the video lectures, answered to quizzes, completed the exams, and even did some of the “additional readings”.  But can you prove it?

edX and Coursera have begun to offer varieties of “certificates” upon completion of their courses.  Each offers some evidence that you have consumed and digested the course material, but some courses offer different levels of “certification.”

edX courses offer an “honor code certificate of achievement,” a “verified certificate of achievement,” and an “XSeries certificate of achievement.”   The honor code certificate says you completed the course, but without verifying your identity.  The certificate includes a URL at which employers or others can check on the validity of this certificate.  A verified certificate includes a small fee, continuing proof of identity from a photo ID and your web cam, and an authenticating URL.  An XSeries certificate is earned upon the completion of two or more verified courses:  for example, MITx offers a two-course astrophysics series and a seven-course computer science series.  The total cost of these ($275 and $425, respectively) is less than what you would expect to pay just for books.

Coursera offers similar tiers:  a “statement of accomplishment” and a “verified certificate” via “signature track.”

In general, though, what these do not offer is college credit.  And in fact, you may not even get any certificate of completion.  I recently completed edX’s “Scientific Humanities” from France’s Sciences Po, and was told that in fact no, students would receive no acknowledgement of completion etc.

Sometimes education really is its own reward.

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