Legislators in Florida and California are pressing to force universities to accept credit from MOOC courses, especially if students can’t get into the in-person versions of the courses they need. Peter Stokes, an expert on education innovation at Northeastern University, said more such efforts will follow — likely to the alarm of some faculty.

“It almost seems to promote the notion that there is this no-cost alternative for higher education,” he said. “It feeds into the fear that many public institutions have that the political solution to higher education is to continue to divest.”