The leader of the California Senate is proposing legislation that would provide online courses for credit at the state’s colleges and universities. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the measure is both a work in progress – and a balancing act.
With California’s higher education system at capacity, the most popular courses fill up fast – especially courses students need to graduate. Richard Copenhagen is a College of Alameda student and president of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges.
“We’ve had many students who have had to take frivolous units – taking state subsidization in order to simply keep their financial aid in hopes of getting that one course that they need to graduate or to transfer,” says Copenhagen.
So the bill by Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg would set up online courses for the 50 most over-subscribed classes at the UC, CSU and community college systems.
“This is not technology for technology’s sake. It addresses a real challenge,” says Steinberg.
It’s not yet clear how much the online classes would cost and where that revenue would go. School administrators and faculty unions still have reservations. But Steinberg and Governor Jerry Brown have made clear they believe California campuses must offer these classes to serve more students – more efficiently and less expensively.