The nonprofit is giving university partners two options for sharing in the money its MOOCs bring in.
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In a deal with Udacity, courses will be free online, but students who want credit will be able to take them for just $150.
Several high-profile tech companies have already signed up for Coursera's new employee-matching service. Udacity offers a similar service.
In a pilot project, the American Council on Education will evaluate five to 10 Coursera offerings and may recommend that colleges grant credit for them.
Designed to revolutionize the University of California system, the venture now struggles to compete with the likes of Coursera and Udacity.
Faculty members at California State University were similarly skeptical and warned of "Walmartization" last year as trustees charged each campus $50,000 to help fund CSU Online.
In a move that expands higher education to a global audience, the University of Michigan has begun to offer online courses to anyone for free.