Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Legislation awaits making its way into the California Senate that would ensure that all faculty-approved online courses get campus credit by public universities, colleges and educational institutes.
Typically, students enrolled in these online courses are candidates who weren’t able to register for oversubscribed on-campus courses. And if the legislation succeeds in making its way through, public universities/colleges will be instructed by the state legislators to give credit for courses that aren’t even their own, which also includes courses offered by private vendors.
According to D. Steinberg, the Senate’s president pro tem, California is expected to be the first state in the country to ensure that no college student is deprived of their right to move through education just because they were out of luck, when it came to getting a seat in the course of their choice.
Moreover, Gov. Jerry Brown has been promoting online education as a powerful initiative that can lead to significant reduction in college costs. Besides, recent budget cuts have added to the misery of thousands of Californian students who aren’t able to make it through the gateway courses that are needed for meeting their basic academic needs or proceeding with the major of their choice. In fact, a number of students are forced to waste additional semesters, or even years, to acquire degrees.
If this new legislation passes, some of the courses to benefit from it would be free open online programs or affordable online courses that are offered by accredited companies.
Looking back at the past year, Mr. Steinberg actively worked to get a law passed that ensured the availability of free online textbooks for the fifty most popular introductory college programs, and while doing so, a faculty panel was created to choose the needed materials.
The new legislation is expected to use the same panel for deciding on the most oversubscribed introductory courses from those fifty college programs and for determining which online versions of those courses will be eligible for credit. The decisions would take several factors into account, including proctored tests, open-source texts, etc. Students may get credits from third-party courses provided that the course was full at the home college/university, and if the associated college/university did not have the course available online.
According to the California Faculty Association’s President, Lillian Taiz, it would be too early to conclude that online courses from third-party vendors can serve as a good substitute for on-campus classes at state universities/colleges.
However, a number of higher education leaders are more positive about the idea. For instance, University of California’s President, Mark Yudof is quite optimistic about the idea and so is Timothy White, California State University system’s chancellor who believes that demand surpasses capacity on each of the university’s campuses. At the end of the day, this will be more about enhancing the university’s capacity with the existing resources, especially when giving credit to online study can help meet the growing demand.
This article was written by Staff