What I mean is that it is a new world in academia, and I'm not at all sure it's brave. But at least it gives all kinds of opportunities for people to learn fascinating things. But the internet and the massively increasing use of online courses, and free ones from major univerities, means that the distinction between those and credit courses has to be very overt. It is a phenomenon of the last few years only that these free lectures are being made universally available. To have completed one means that David's partner worked at learning something very valuable. But this new internet teaching means there have to be clear distinctions, as in the disclaimers. This is not "distance learning" in the slightly earlier sense of credit courses on line.
But I disagree on your evaluation of the effect: The following is huge on the page, almost all of it. The disclaimer is small and at the bottom. They are not at all equivalent or even comparable, and I think focusing on the latter undermines the very real and impressive accomplishment of Judith Dakers. Brava! to her for caring.

Statement of Accomplishment

NOVEMBER 29, 2012



Modern & Contemporary American



>>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>12/02/12 11:12 AM >>>
 I'm not sure what you mean. Penn was not offering a course for credit, so there's no possibility of awarding credit. This should have been and likely was crystal clear in the registration process. On a certificate, which is not an official transcript, it need only be noted that the course was a non-credit course or a course for CEU's (which latter it apparently wasn't). My point was only that the negative list is so lengthy that the positive achievement is understated and loses force, and that could have been (and as a former distance learning administrator I think should have been) easily rectified. Are you familiar with the specific course?

On 12/2/2012 10:36 AM, Nancy Gish wrote:
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Penn would have to include these disclaimers to assure that legally the student had not acquired credits toward a degree. It's an acknowledgement of accomplishment of which she can be proud.

>>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>12/02/12 9:58 AM >>>
Oh my, could they have decorated their certificate with any more negatives? I'm betting it was a good course from which your partner profited, but twenty lashes with a wet noodle to the U of Penn and its English Dept for failing to put it in evidence on the certificate.  After reading all the "not's" in the fine print, one is left to wonder what the "is's" are, or if in officialdom's eyes there are any. Typical. Where have I seen that reflex before?

Ken A

On 12/2/2012 5:32 AM, David Boyd wrote:

Sadly, the OU's Twentieth Century Poetry Course has long ago been subsumed by more general 'Literature' courses, but I was very pleased to note that similar things are afoot across the www - see attached, which my partner recently very much enjoyed (I drag her to Eliotic events, so that's made her want to learn more...). I did find it very odd, though, that Eliot was largely excluded - for being UnAmerican, presumably........

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