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For Credit College Statistics MOOC Unveiled Packaged with Free Open Source Textbook, Free Peer Tutoring

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 20 Million Minds Foundation (20MM), a non-profit dedicated to bringing down the cost of higher education, andOpenStudy, an online community of practice, have partnered to bring learners everywhere an exciting opportunity to showcase soft skills to employers and earn college credit with their completely free Introductory Statistics Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) unveiled today.

Using open textbook Collaborative Statistics, by Susan Dean and Barbara Illowsky, the headless or mechanical  MOOC will provide learners with a vibrant online social learning environment with free tutorial support that allows students to demonstrate strong teamwork, problem solving, and engagement competencies.

Both motivated self learners and struggling students will benefit from the completely free MOOC. Students interested in documenting their progress will be able to register for a $30 Certificate that tracks participation, progress through the course, and three important soft skills to employers: teamwork, engagement and problem solving skills.

More importantly, 20MM has partnered with Excelsior College, an accredited online learning institution, to offer a $95 credit by examination option where students can earn transferable college credits for the 20MM Introductory Statistics MOOC by passing a proctored exam. Upon passage, students will be able to transfer credits to colleges with whom articulation agreements have been established, which for example currently include 3 community colleges in California: San Diego City College, San Diego Miramar College, and Santa Rosa Junior College. 

"The credit by examination option offers students multiple benefits," said Dean Florez, former CA State Senator and President of 20MM. "For one the $95 exam is a more affordable alternative to the current $136 for the course across CA community colleges, not including the additional $100+ students have to pay for a textbook. Second, for high demand introductory courses, the credit examination option gives students unable to enroll in impacted courses a viable alternative. Motivated students wait listed or denied enrollment in Introductory Statistics courses will now have the option to move through the system faster with the proctored credit bearing exam."

How does it work?  Just as in a face to face course, students will have to participate to successfully earn a certificate or prepare themselves for a proctored exam . Documented participation will require that students stay active and engaged by asking questions, working on assignments for each section, and helping others as they progress through the material for a minimum of four weeks in the OpenStudy group or the recommended 90 study hours for the entire 3 unit MOOC course versus a 15 week long semester.

"We are delighted to be working with these innovators in education who realize the potential of  free open online courses and who are focused on helping not only high achievers but also at-risk learners," said Preetha Ram, CEO of OpenStudy.  "For high school students, this is an opportunity to engage with college level content and add credible documentation of engagement, helpfulness and academic competence to their college applications. For college students it serves multiple purposes, including enhancing their performance in a college course, creating a verified e-portfolio for their first job, and the potential to earn college credit."

Additional OpenStudy MOOCs will be offered by OpenCourseWare Consortium member institutions, including the University of Notre Dame, UC Irvine, and TI Delft. Mary Lou Forward, Director of the OCW Consortium says, "The Certificate of Participation is just what self learners have been asking for: a signal to employers of skills and competencies and a real incentive to keep them engaged with the learning.

Individuals can register for these courses at openstudy.com/courses. Partners plan to roll out additional courses in the following weeks.

20 Million Minds is a non-profit organization dedicated to greatly reducing textbook costs. The foundation is currently leveraging leading-edge technologies to create more affordable, engaging and effective educational materials for college students throughout the nation. Visit 20mm.org.

OpenStudy's vision is to help learners anywhere anytime.  Their social learning platform connects over 300,000 learners to each other each month, with over 2,000 questions asked each day.  Their SmartScore soft skills assessment  is now available to MOOC providers.

The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a non-profit organization of over 300 member universities that has played a leadership role in the development of free online courses.  Twenty million users visit over 20,000 OCW courses annually.  

Excelsior College is a recognized leader in educational innovation, offering global learners the option of earning college credit after passing an Excelsior examination.  

Mayra Lombera
20 Million Minds Foundation

SOURCE 20 Million Minds Foundation

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