Course-Size Accreditation

Career College Central summary:

  • A growing clamor is calling for an accreditor to oversee the quality of college-level learning that occurs outside of college.
  • The challenge could be taken on by an existing accrediting agency — or a new one — that develops a specialty in non-institutional providers like StraighterLine and Udacity. Or, with more of a trailblazing approach, an accreditor could approve individual courses rather than degrees.
  • If either idea becomes a reality it would add a seal of approval for a constellation of online course providers and, perhaps, open the door for them to federal financial aid.
  • The current accreditation system has taken plenty of hits lately. President Obama, Congressional Republicans, think tanks and Bill Gates are among many critics who say accreditors — who are outsourced gate-keepers for the federal government —  need to do more to encourage innovation and competition.
  • Whether or not that charge is accurate, accreditors have their hands full of late, given the rapid rise of potential “disruptions” like competency-based education, prior-learning assessment, digital badges and free and low-cost online courses.

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