Best Practices

Best practice: Guidelines for using open scale courses for credit in graduate programs

best practices
By Janet Duke on February 10, 2020

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are predesigned open scale courses that can be used by students to sample coursework required for ASU master’s degrees. Students can then use up to 12 credits towards an ASU master’s program. The following guidelines will assist ASU faculty and staff to implement graduate program development through open scale opportunities.

Download the PDF: Guidelines for Utilizing Open Scale Courses for Credit in Graduate Programs

Open scale course credentials are made up of a series of approved graduate courses designed to advance professional careers that result in specialized knowledge in a specific field. Developing open scale coursework that mirrors ASU accredited coursework can create an alternative pathway into an ASU master’s degree. Students would be able to take the open scale coursework and, if successful, articulate to a pre-approved master’s program pathway. A graduate program must be approved for open scale coursework through the Provost’s Office, the Graduate College and ASU Online. 

A MicroMasters (edX) or MiniMasters (other open platforms) is a non-credit credential that can be offered for successful completion of a series of predesignated open scale graduate courses. Ensure platform capability is able to ID Verify or authenticate the user enrolled in the MOOC course and ensure that it matches the identity of the student admitted to the ASU program.


  • Programs and courses must be proposed and approved through the normal ASU approval process. They are then developed on the open platform of choice (i.e. edX, Coursera, or even Canvas), to ensure that they meet all ASU standards (i.e. contact hours, content, titles). Information on approval and university guidelines can be found at
  • Programs developed on an open platform must include a method of ID verification to ensure student identity
  • A letter grade of B or better must be earned in each class on a MOOC platform to be eligible to earn ASU credit. 
  • Courses will be eligible for ASU credit in the applicable term the course was taken. For Example: a course taken in Spring 2019 session A will be posted to the Spring 2019 term enrollment. 
  • Students interested in using this pathway must apply to an ASU master’s program and meet all university/program admissions requirements to be considered for admission. Programs may give special consideration to students with a completed open scale course credential (i.e. MicroMasters or MiniMasters) for admissions decisions. 
  • Students who are in an approved open scale course credential can apply to a master’s program at ASU and use up to 12 credits earned prior to admission towards an ASU master’s program. 
  • Students must self-identify as an open scale course credential student in the supplemental application process. 
  • ASU will not issue transcripted credit to students who do not enroll in an ASU master’s program. 
  • Only courses taken within three years of admission to the ASU master’s program will be considered. 
  • Once admitted to an ASU master’s program, the student will have six years to complete. 
  • If ASU faculty will not be teaching the MOOC courses, additional documentation will be required.

Download the PDF: Guidelines for Utilizing Open Scale Courses for Credit in Graduate Programs