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Category Archives: Free Online Classes

What is the difference between MOOC and SemesterOnline

MOOC – or massive open online courses is open to all regardless of qualification. If you meet certain pre-requisites you are able to take the course.

SemesterOnline is a open to only academically qualified students from consortium and other top schools. Although you are not able to get a degree from the semesteronline courses, because these are accredited courses, you can use them towards a degree. The degree would have to come from the home institution that the student originally was admitted too.

MOOC courses are not accredited. Upon completion of the MOOC courses you would get a certification of completion. For example Duke is part of MOOC through Coursera. They are also part of the consortium of the semesteronline. SemesterOnline is designed to offer the quality and rigor of on-campus education. There is interaction between the teacher and the student. MOOC subject matter is for free they have an enormous span they teach to any one interested but they don’t have the one-on-one interaction and the necessary academic rigor. SemesterOnline does offer the one-on-one interaction and the academic rigor.

The students who take semesteronline courses have unprecedented access to unique courses from some of the most prestigious universities in the country. Also, each member of the consortium have unique courses that other member of the consortium may not have. So the student can enrich their curriculum with courses that their home-institution may not offer. The class size is from 15 to 20 students. The classes are in real time. The students now have an expanded set of curricular options and more flexibility scheduling courses when they need whether or not they are in the campus at that time. By trying to find better learning outcomes and better teaching ways – this is also an experimental opportunity for the faculty.

Social media would be used to have group settings as is available in an on-campus experience.

A student can pursue his/her collegiate academic journey with out having to be at the campus. They could be taking care of their personal commitments or just travelling globally. They would have a larger asynchronous class on a regular basis and at regular intervals there would be a synchronous component where the large class would be divided into class size of 15 to 20. This would be called a section. So each class would have a 100 to 300 students divided into sections of 15 to 20. It is required that the class size be less than 20 because during the synchronous portion of the class, class discussions are encouraged.

Modes of delivery are different. Learn from these experiences and improve the learning process. Course operating institution will have about 13 courses in the beginning but over time this should grow rapidly. The courses will be initially at an introductory level.

Top Online Bachelor’s Programs

US News ranks colleges and universities nationally each year.  They rank colleges based on various factors.  These factors include faculty credientials and traning, student services and technology, and student engagement and assessment.  Top online bachelor’s programs are measured seperately for these factors.  In terms of student engagemetn and assement top 10 Universities are:

  1. Bellevue University
  2. Newberry College
  3. Troy University
  4. University of the Incarnate Word
  5. University of Phoenix
  6. Fort Hays State University
  7. Regis Universtity
  8. Palm Beach Beach Atlantic University
  9. Excelsior College
  10. Pace University

The universties are scored with a maximum possible point of a 100.  The factors gauged were “instructor response expected”, “instructor office hours” and “faculty track student login”.

The data for this study was collected starting in July 14,2011.  The study determined that there were 1,765 regionally accredited insitutions that offered Bachelor’s courses in 2010.  The course content needed to be atleast 80% accessible online to students.  The survey closing date was Oct 28, 2011.  Of the 1,765 instituions 969 institutions responded to the survey.  Of these respondents 194 said that they offered online bachelor’s degree programs.

This study is based on initial set of questions that were answered by the selected universitites.  To ensure that there was enough information for each of the questions selected for ranking, the quality of the answers submitetted and the number of respondents submitting the answers were also taken into consideration.  Based on these the three “indicator rankings” were selected.  As mentioned in the beginning these were:

  1. “faculty credientials and traning”
  2. “student services and technology”
  3. “student engagement and assessment”




List of Credit By Exam Programs

  1. TECEP® – The Thomas Edison State College Examination Program – for 35 years Thomas Edison State College has been providing college credit to non-traditional students through this program.  Aside from the TECEP program, this college also has other methods of giving credit to knowledge already acquired.  This includes credits earned from prior trainings, license and certifications etc. Their moto is knowledge isas more important that how it was acquired.
  2.  The College Board’s College Level Examination Program (CLEP) : this is one of the most popular examinations. It is recognized by over a 1000 colleges and universities in the US.  CLEP exam subject matter generally relates to entry level courses.
  3. Department of Defense – Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Subject Standardized Tests or DSST is popular among the armed forces of the US Government.  The idea is to transfer the field knowledge acquired as a military personnel into college credits by taking a subject matter exam.
  4. New York University Foreign Language Proficiency Testing Program – this is generally recognized by some Universities for their language discipline courses.
  5. Excelsior College Examinations (ECE) –
  6. UExcel examinations (a Pearson/Excelsior College alliance) – at this time this program is recognized by Excelsior college only.  But efforts are underway to create alliances with other institutions of higher learning.
  7. Foreign Service Institute Examinations
  8. The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP)
  9. The Defense Language Institute’s (DLI) Defense Language Proficiency Tests
  10. Ohio University
  11. OPI (Oral Proficiency International Foreign Language exams) reviewed by ACE
  12. TAL (Torah Accreditation Liaison (exams in Hebrew language)) reviewed be ACE or NCCRS

We have compiled this list through extensive research on the internet.  If you know of any other credit by exam programs, please let us know in the comment section of this article.  We will be happy to include any valid program in our list.

Cheap College Education Through Online Classes

Aside from being convenient online education has tremendously reduced the cost of education. This could be the reason why online education is growing faster than traditional campus based education. According to a study by Babson Survey Research Group and quoted by US News – the number of students enrolled in at least one online course has been increasing for nine consecutive years. The number has grown from 1.6 million in 2002 to 6.1 million in 2010. Inside Higher Ed published and article that states that in the fall of 2011 6.7 million (one third of all students) took at least one class for credit.

In the 2010 fall enrollment 31.3 % of the total enrollment was online enrollment. Here is an infographic of on the statistics of online education growth.

Here are the key findings of the survey:

The number of students taking online classes in 2010 fall term increased by 560,000 from the previous year. It was a little over 6.1 million for 2010.
Growth of students in higher education was 2%. Growth in online education was 10%
Of the total higher education students (for profit and not for profit) 31% take at least one course online.
Fully online programs for most disciplines are growing each year.
According to many academic leaders (77%), the level of online education is in par with the quality of face-to-face education. They thought that the learning outcomes were same or superior.
More than 65% of the institutions state that online education is a critical part of their long term strategy.

There are still some concerns about the quality of online education. But as technology improves and the concept of social interaction through the internet becomes more and more common, the reasoning against online education is bound to diminish.

Where is the growth in online education:
Education and Psychology programs – declined enrollment.
Engineering – increased enrollment
Business – steady growth
Computer and information science – steady growth
health profession – fastest growing

Kryterion HUE Camera

You might be asking whether you can use your own web cam to take a test through Kryterion. Unfortunately the answer is no. In order to make sure that the technology is compatible to the software, Kryterion insists that the student taking the exam use their approved camera.

The USB connected plug and play webcam cost about $45. It has a flexible/adjustable neck. The camera has low light sensitivity and also has a built-in micro phone.

Kryterion webcam

Kryterion webcam

It’s a 2 mega pixel camera and works both on Mac and PC. Below is a review of the web-cam. Many people who have bought it for purposes other than proctored exam taking have also been happy with it.

You can buy this camera from various sources including the company website Amazon also sells this camera.

But before buying the camera for testing purposes, you definitely want to confirm with the test sponsor what exactly is the model of the camera that they are approving. Different models may not be compatible with the testing environment. Kryterion website also has an approved link where you can by the camera from.