Calif. Bill Would Permit Online Courses for Credit - Higher Education
Higher Education News and Jobs

Calif. Bill Would Permit Online Courses for Credit

Email


by Christina Hoag, Associated Press


LOS ANGELES — California would allow private, online education companies to offer courses for credit at state colleges and universities, under a bill introduced Wednesday in the state Legislature.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who authored the amended SB 520, said that, if approved, the law would be the first of its kind in the nation and promises to reshape higher education.

The bill is designed to address a problem that has increasingly cropped up in recent years at the University of California, California State University and community colleges systems due to severe state funding cuts that have caused reductions in courses, faculty and admissions.

Gov. Jerry Brown has said online courses could be a cost-effective way to increase offerings and has called on the institutions to do more with technology.

Many students now cannot get the basic courses that they must take in order to graduate, causing delays in graduation and fewer seats available for new students. In 2012-13, 85 percent of state community colleges reported wait lists for fall courses with an average of 7,000 students.

At the University of California and Cal State systems, only 60 percent and 16 percent of students, respectively, graduate in four years. Access to key courses was a major factor in the time lag, Steinberg’s office said.

“No college student should be denied a college education because they could not get a seat in the course they needed to graduate,” Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat, said at an online news conference.

The bill would allow online providers such as Udacity and Coursera to offer as many as 50 of the most in-demand courses at each institution. A panel of nine faculty members appointed from each institution’s Academic Senate would vet and approve the course content. Students would only be able to enroll if they could not get into the equivalent campus course.

“It is not a substitute for campus-based instruction,” Steinberg said.

Fees for the online courses are yet to be worked out but would not be higher than a campus class, Steinberg said. In addition, the institutions would share some of the revenue with the education providers.

Sebastian Thrun, co-founder and chief executive of Udacity, said his company is having good results with a pilot program with 300 students at San Jose State University, who each pay $150 for the for-credit course. He emphasized that his company provides only the technology.

“We leave the entire content of what happens on our platform to the faculty,” he said.

Richard Copenhagen, president of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, said the plan would help students realize their goals. Many students are frustrated because they have to take frivolous courses each semester so they can maintain financial aid, he said.

Representatives of the California Faculty Association did not immediately return phone calls for comment.

Cal State spokesman Michael Uhlenkamp said officials had not yet read the bill and could not comment on it.

RELATED ARTICLES >>
Education Secretary DeVos Praises Senate Action on FAFSA Legislation U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has praised a Senate committee for moving forward with legislation to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Education Secretary Betsy DeVos DeVos’ praise followed a hearing Tuesday ...
New Report Offers Best Financial Practices for Colleges’ Roles in Student Success College affordability and a clear understanding of financial aid are among the biggest challenges low-income students pursuing a higher education face. Education experts say that colleges and universities can play a larger role in increasing student ...
Professor Apologizes for Fiery Response to Muslim Student CINCINNATI — A University of Cincinnati music teacher has apologized for his fiery online responses to a Muslim student who was critical of Donald Trump’s presidency and talked about celebrating freedom and diversity. College-Conservatory of Music...
Colleges Wrestle with Issue of Using Students’ Fees for Controversial Speakers Katherine Kerwin didn’t like to see a portion of the student fees she pays being spent to bring conservative speaker Ben Shapiro to the University of Wisconsin. Kerwin didn’t agree with Shapiro’s criticism of what he said were attempts to chill fr...
Semantic Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *