Academic Council voices concerns over online education pilot

Read the letter from Academic Senate Chair Dan Simmons and the project plan for UC Online Education »




Related Articles »





  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

As new specifics about the University of California's controversial push into online education continue to emerge, the chair of the Academic Senate sent a letter to UC President Mark Yudof last Friday detailing numerous faculty concerns about the directions of the online effort and advising that no new courses be developed until its concerns are addressed.

In the letter - written on behalf of the Academic Council, the senate's administrative arm - Chair Dan Simmons says that the since the UC Online Instruction Pilot Project secured a $6.9 million internal loan through the UC Office of the President in April, faculty members have raised new questions about the project's goals and the pilot's altering direction.

The online pilot's latest project plan, released in March, says the program will offer courses to non-UC students as well as enrolled UC students on a "revenue-generating" basis with the hopes that their fees will pay back the loan. This and other new details contained in the March plan differ from the plan the Academic Council approved in May of last year.

"There are questions on oversight and evaluation of the program, the dependence of the budget model on enrollments of non-UC students, the corresponding focus on lower division requirements and possible competition with the Community College mission, and the financial feasibility of paying back the loan," Simmons said in the letter. "In short, while the pilot project was intended to enhance access and to generate revenue, it is now unclear whether these goals may be meshed and met."

The letter goes on to request that no more courses - other than the 27 already selected for funding - be developed through the pilot until its concerns are addressed. UC officials were not available for comment Wednesday.

The online education program was developed through the UC Commission on the Future and was given approval by the Academic Council in May 2010, though the council made its approval contingent on the use of non-UC funds. At the project's inception, Christopher Edley, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law and the chair of the project, estimated that $30 million in privatized funding could be secured for the effort, though since then, only a single $748,000 grant sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has materialized.


Contact Javier Panzar at [email protected]



Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Higher Education
Image Student regent resigns after sex crime allegations
Jesse Cheng officially announced his resignation from his positio...Read More»
Higher Education
Image UC spared additional cuts in budget revision
While the University of California escaped further funding reductions M...Read More»
Higher Education
Image UC Board of Regents wary of unreliable state funds
SAN FRANCISCO - Following the release of Gov. Jerry Brown's revis...Read More»
Higher Education
Image UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng announces his resign...
Former UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng announced in an open le...Read More»
Higher Education
Image Reform caucus sweeps executive positions in electi...
A little more than five months after a contentious contract rat...Read More»
Right Arrow




Job Postings

White Space