Yes, I think so.
I think that if a person received a certificate for a MOOC–which usually involves not only viewing the lectures but also participating in online discussions, completing activities, reading assigned materials, and paying some money for the certificate–s/he should be able to transfer those credits to an institution of higher learning.
My reasoning behind it is simple: (a) Online courses on MOOCs are provided by respected universities and professors; (b) Completing a course requires meeting deadlines, doing tests, and submitting homework; (c) Getting an official certificate is not a ‘by default’ option, plus not all courses provide certificates. Taking into account how few people actually complete a course, these are motivated and disciplined people who know what they need and want from life. Should they choose to go to a university where they need to take the same course there, they should be able to have this certificate transferable.
Transferring credits in actual universities will allow to synchronize what is being taught at universities and what is offered in MOOCs. It will also raise the prestige of MOOCs and probably raise the bar for completing certain online courses. In addition, I wouldn’t worry too much that a person would want to transfer as many courses as s/he wants (hence, save money to be paid to the university), because most online courses are beginner’s level courses (introductions), so there is little chance that, for example, a graduate student will find an online course that his or her gradschool will let him/her transfer. I also think that such certificates demonstrate to the university how dedicated and committed the student is, if s/he has spent his or her time to complete an online course on his/her own. I see only pluses.
P.S. Since this was my last post about MOOCs, I have to admit that this topic has become even more interesting to me than before. I believe MOOCs are not a harbinger of the future, they are our future–in the sense that they add up to what it means to be a learner. I don’t see them replacing traditional institutions of higher learning, but I view them as a door of opportunities to millions of people around the world.
P.P.S. My next topic is still not approved; however, I want to focus of a learning management platform–Moodle. I do a tech project related to this platform, so it would make so much sense to reflect on what I’m involved in rather than on something unrelated.