Open Praxis

From OER to PLAR: Credentialing for Open Education

Norm Friesen, Christine Wihak


The world of OERs and MOOCs is fast-changing, indeed. In the few months since this article was first published in January 2013 in Open Praxis (a peer-review journal on distance education and eLearning), the American Council on Education CREDIT service has approved five Coursera offerings for postsecondary credit. The Saylor Foundation ( has had three courses evaluated by the National College Credit Recommendation Service, and Excelsior College and Thomas Edison State College have crosswalked some of the courses to their existing exams. EdX, the Harvard-MIT founded MOOC provider, will be piloting a rigorous exam-for-certification system through Pearson Testing Centers. The California State University system is experimenting with incorporating edX courses into its curriculum. What do these developments auger for the future of PLAR? To quote Zhou Enlai’s response to a query about the impact of the French Revolution, it is “too soon to tell.” Although Zhou was referring to events of 1968, not 1789, his insight still seems completely apropos. …

The essay was originally published in the January 2013 issue of Open Praxis, International Council for Open and Distance Education, 5(1).

The essay can be viewed at .


Thank you to Open Praxis and authors Norm Friesen and Christine Wihak, Thompson Rivers University, Canada, for allowing us to share this resource with our readers.

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