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Taking Saylor's Open Courses

Saylor Academy (under its legal name, The Constitution Foundation) was established in 1999 and is dedicated to reducing the cost of education and expanding access to quality open educational resources. Open courses offered by the Saylor Academy have been designed by trained instructional designers and subject matter experts. On the surface, these courses resemble syllabi. They contain learning outcomes, time advisories and break the course down into individual units. Within these units, students will find educational materials such as readings, videos, activities and assessments. Additionally, when students create a free account, they gain access to discussion boards and the Saylor learning community, and can track their progress through courses.

Saylor courses are different from Thomas Edison State University courses in three important ways.

  • First, these courses are entirely self-directed, self-paced, and have no mentor support. Students are free to take as little or as long as they want to work through a particular unit or course.
  • Second, the assessment structure is different. Thomas Edison State University courses generally have discussion board posts, assignments, and assessments throughout the course. While some Saylor courses also have assessments throughout, these assessments do not count towards a student's final grade.
  • Third, Saylor courses do not earn a student credit, unless they take one of the assessments we list on the Open Course Option page.

To get started taking Saylor's open courses, visit and follow these steps:

  1. Create a Saylor account. This will allow you to track your progress, access Saylor's student forums and collaborate with other students.
  2. Next, select the course you want to start take. Those courses that are directly transferable to TESU can be found on Saylor’s College Credit Opportunity Guide.
  3. Once you are on the course page of the course you want to take, read through the introduction and syllabus. This will give you important instructions and advice for completing the course.
  4. Move on to Unit 1 and begin to work your way through the units in sequential order. It is important to note that with Saylor courses, students do not have direct contact with mentors. However, in some courses, Saylor Academy faculty are available through the online forums.
  5. Once you have completed the course, there will be a final exam. This exam can be used as practice if you wish to earn credit through one of the formal exam options (TECEP®, CLEP®, Saylor Direct Credit), but it is not required unless you plan to earn credit through the portfolio option, you must take the final exam. The results of this exam will be part of the evidence section in your portfolio.

Finally, if you wish to use the Saylor Direct Credit  exam to transfer credit to TESU, please consult Saylor’s transcript guidelines.