An invitation to faculty has been sent out by the UC to participate in a pilot project used to help determine whether online courses can have enough caliber to be considered UC quality.

Many online courses are already being offered, but completion of these courses does not win one UC credit, just UC transferrable credit. As the demand for education grows, the UC must think of ways to expand number of students. According to a study by the Public Policy Institute of California, by 2025 California is expected to have 1 million fewer college graduates than its work force will need. Since UC lacks funding for new buildings, online classes are a potentially good option.

Faculty concerns include keeping up the same level of education: will students learn and retain as much information if they are taught online?

Jia Frydenberg, director of UC Irvine’s Distance Learning Center, is optimistic about an online approach, “Online serves a valid student need because it allows students to individualize their learning experiences,” Frydenberg said.

“If students prefer to hear things, they can listen to audio. If they prefer a more visual experience, they can view lectures, and they can do it as many times as they want over and over until they feel they have mastered a complicated topic such as statistics. You can’t do that in the classroom.”

Would you take an online class over physically attending a class? Is it possible to achieve the same standards through virtual learning?

Image Source: Don Fulano under Creative Commons
Faculty online course ideas sought [UC Newsroom]

Lucky said:
Nov 3, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Fo Sho! I agree with Frydenberg. The UC can and should broaden impact of a UC education by using the internet. If students don’t mind interacting with GSIs and teachers through skype for discussion then electronic learning would work. Much of learning is already taking place electronically at Berkeley as students watch webcasts instead of physically attending lecture. Learning material is disseminated through Bspace. You only see your GSI in discussion once a week and your professor in OH if you are inclined to go.

Geoff said:
Nov 4, 2010 at 12:51 am

Using technology like webcast lectures is all well and good, but it eventually it gets to the point that you’re just too detached from the class. With online lectures it’s easy to fall behind, because you can watch them whenever you want, and asking questions in class is also useful a lot of the time.