As I discovered myself, having paid a fee makes you far more likely to complete a course. However, that results in equity issues, where those less able to pay are barred form the course. Synergia have addressed this by having a full fee of CA$140, a reduced fee for those on low incomes of CA$70, and a "solidarity fee" of a minimum of CA$1. It would be interesting to see what effect a $1 fee has on completion.
Athabasca University are taking a cautious approach to credit for the MOOC. Rather than equating them to specific university courses, as some institutions have done (usually an introductory course), these are offered as Prior Learning Assessment credits. The catch, not mentioned in Synergia's documentary, is that Athabasca University's prior learning assessment process costs CA$884. This is less than the fees for a university course, but six times the full fee for the MOOC. This process is expensive as each RPL has to be individually assessed, and is difficult (I went through it for an Australian certificate). Given in this case the RPL is for a course designed by Athabasca staff, the process should be easier, and the fee lower.
The MOOC is interesting in offering three levels of involvement for students: Explorer (1.5 to 2 hours a week), Changemaker (3 hours per week), Deep Diver (more than 3 hours a week). MOOCs commonly rely on prepared videos and reading materials (much like pre-Internet distance education), however Synergia offer "Peer Working Groups", which are essentially tutor-less tutorial groups.
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