Massive open online courses have the potential to alter how we teach and learn as a society, but unlike other methods that are steeped in centuries of trial and error, the MOOC concept remains experimental and unproven -- often criticized as better suited for edification than rigorous education. Like edX, Coursera is working to challenge that assumption, and today the online course provider announced partnerships with ten public university systems that'll integrate lessons from Coursera into the classroom. Most notably, The State University of New York is participating, which boasts 64 campuses and an enrollment of nearly half a million students. While its implementation remains up in the air, SUNY aims to introduce Coursera materials this fall and over the next few years as part of its Open SUNY initiative.

Like SUNY, all partner schools may adapt lessons from Coursera as they see fit, and professors will have the opportunity to develop online courses for Coursera. Most significantly, the pilot programs will give universities an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of Coursera material, which could go a long way toward legitimizing the MOOC concept. As another happy consequence, universities may choose to offer for-credit courses from Coursera to non-matriculated students. For a greater understanding of this grand experiment, just hit up the source links.

[Image credit: Dave Herholz / Flickr]

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SUNY partners with Coursera for massively open online course experiment