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WVU’s Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination now available to worldwide class

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An internationally recognized program at West Virginia University's College of Business and Economics (B&E) has made its way to the masses. Literally.

Enrollment is under way for Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination (FAFE) to be offered through the Coursera Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform. Thousands — yes, thousands — have enrolled in the class thus far, even though statistical data shows a high MOOC dropout rate because of people who register simply out of curiosity. Still, an enormous number of online students will benefit from information presented in the internationally recognized FAFE program from WVU.

The B&E FAFE curriculum is offered through WVU Academic Innovation, formerly WVU Extended Learning, which has partnered with 73 top universities through Coursera, an education platform that has gained an international following of lifelong learners. In other words, students who enroll in these courses have the opportunity to interact with students all over the world.

“Right now we have nearly 6,000 students registered for the class, which seems kind of overwhelming but is commonplace in the MOOC platform,” said Dr. Richard Riley, Louis F. Tanner Distinguished Professor of Public Accounting, one of two B&E faculty to teach the course. Dr. Richard Dull, Associate Professor of Accounting, will team up with Riley, and the two will be joined by John Gill, J.D. and CFE, Vice President-Education of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Dr. Karen Donovan, B&E’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, said the MOOC offering represents a real opportunity for WVU’s business school.

“We have one of the most established and recognized Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination programs in the world,” Donovan said. “The MOOC platform provides us with a highly interested, highly engaged, international audience where we can offer the expertise we have in this area of study.”

The five-week course begins November 3 and will give participants an overview of the issues surrounding worldwide fraud.

“We will employ the case method of study, along with lectures and videos of actual fraudsters in action,” Riley said. “A report by the Association for Certified Fraud Examiners projected that in 2013, worldwide fraud approached $3.7 trillion, or as much as 5% of the productive economy. Thousands of businesses are victimized by fraud. In this course, students will learn who, why and how people commit fraud, along with the skills for catching them.”

Academic Innovation has led the effort to develop MOOCs both as a way to promote the academic quality of programming at West Virginia University and as a research project to understand the shifting dynamics of online education. The WVU community was invited to submit proposals for MOOCs, with FAFE being one of two courses chosen by a faculty committee.