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Education Portal Claims a Million Students for Free Online CLEP Prep Courses
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A company that offers free video courses to help students prepare for exams that will earn them college credit claimed that it had reached a million students in its first year of operation. Education Portal recently added its 18th course. Each course offers sets of short video clips as well as transcriptions and assessment materials that help participants prepare to take a CollegeBoard College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam in order to earn college credit and opt out of introductory courses.
Among the classes currently offered in complete form are Psychology 101 and Math 104: Calculus. "The psychology videos were a great study tool. I aced the CLEP exam and earned three college credits," said Claire Steiner, a nursing student who used the site's free videos to test out of prerequisites at her school.
Many of the programs are still under development by the company. For example, Math 101: College Algebra, is 85 percent developed and Psychology 102 is 70 percent done. Subjects such as United States History, College Composition, and Introductory Biology are expected to be available in complete form by the end of the year.
To boost its usage, Education Portal has also begun awarding a thousand dollars to the first 10 students each month who use its courses to earn credit by passing a CLEP exam. The CLEP program has 33 exams leading to college credit among many institutions of higher education.
"Many people have heard of AP exams but are unfamiliar with other options for earning low-cost college credit, such as CLEP," said Jessica Bayliss, director of education for Education Portal. "We're dedicated to breaking down barriers to education, and cost is one of the biggest barriers students face. Our courses are a free resource that students can use to earn credit at over 2,900 colleges, including DePaul University, University of Arizona, and Michigan State University."
The company's business model is to run advertising on articles and guide pages that it has published through its Web publishing division. "We advertise on these pages, and the revenues pay for the entire development of our free courses," Education Portal explained on a frequently-asked questions page. "Our free courses are funded by successes in other parts of our business and do not generate any revenue themselves. We understand the skepticism you may have when reading this, but really, there are no hidden revenue streams."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.