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Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

on-line education, the 11th campus

In the coming months, on-line education is going to being receiving a lot of attention and some funds, especially in light of the Edley proposal for the 11th campus of UC. I think we all have to look closely at the new Dept of Ed study that claims that on-line education is more effective than face-to-face, develop studies of our own, as faculty of bricks and mortar institutions. We also need to say to people like Jonathan Kaplan of Walden University that we are already using a lot of teaching tools in on-line environments such as eee, and that the choices between face to face and on-line education are not either/or. We should ask Edley about his proposal, invite him to speak to faculty, CPB, Faculty Senates on the various campuses outlining what his proposal for an 11th UC campus would mean for the 10 existing ones. I would be very curious to know -- and I'm not pre-judging it at all. I taught part of a writing course on line last summer that worked beautifully. I would like to know how an entire campus goes virtual...


Julie Van Camp said...

I've been following the discussion of an on-line UC campus, and I am surprised nobody is looking back at the California Virtual University, attempted in the late 1990s. It was directed by Stan Chodorow, who had been provost at UCSD.

It ended up being little more than a listing of on-line courses available at the UC, CSU, and community colleges, with no pretense of offering degrees. Then even that collapsed, when it turned out it was extremely difficult, for bureaucratic reasons, for students from one campus to register for an on-line course at another without paying all sorts of extra fees.

In that same era, the Western Governors attempted something comparable, on-line courses with degrees to be awarded, but never recruited more than a few hundred students and it was shut down.

Some CSU extension offices (e.g., Dominguez Hills) are attempting to provide on-line "adult completion" degrees, but they are very limited. Experiments at other CSUs have run into serious issues with the accreditation agencies.

The for-profit on-line universities (Phoenix, etc.) seem to be thriving, so there does seem to be a market for such things, especially in this terrible economy.

But I do wonder if the persons proposing an on-line UC campus have reviewed these historic efforts in the state and the enormous difficulties they encountered. I tried teaching an "all-internet" version of my philosophy of art course in 1998 and was horrified at the bureaucratic roadblocks and the very labor intensive requirements of on-line teaching.

Julie Van Camp
Professor of Philosophy
CSU Long Beach

Catherine Liu said...

I didn't know about the California Virtual University. I think that we should reconfigure the group that tried to spearhead that and hear about their experiences in teaching in it and administering it. If a university goes completely on line, there will doubtless be a painful period of adjustment, but also a transfer of resources to tech rather than teaching salaries. Is this really the time to start something like this when admin staff and lecturers are being fired and profs take pay cuts?

Julie Van Camp said...

Here's a blog posting about the original California Virtual University:
I had some slight involvement with it in the late 1990s because I wanted my on-line course included, and the blog is accurate as far as I know.

I discovered (with a little googling) that the old CVU catalog of courses has now been taken over by a group from the community colleges, but it is still little more than a listing of on-line courses. It's now called the "California Virtual Campus."

It's one thing to offer some on-line courses, although they are expensive, not only for the tech requirements, but also the staffing. It's quite another enterprise to offer a degree entirely from on-line courses.

But there is a lot to learn from the aborted effort ten years ago that should be considered before charging into establishing an on-line UC campus.

Gerry Barnett said...

Put it another way, it may be important-heck it is important-- to consider how to reshape university instruction away from standard classroom/lecture compromise methods, at least when doing so will advance learning opportunities. In that, digital immersive stuff may be important, as may be hybrid approaches in which digital overlays other social exchange, as does, for instance, text messaging or live blogging of the discussion projected on a wall. Similarly, time shifting instruction, using field work rather than sitting in chairs to listen, and the like also are worth bringing into play.

But on the general theme of reshaping instruction--digital or otherwise--when did that become an administrative thing? Talk about something that faculty should take control of!

And in that, on-line course management tools, or "open curriculum" on-line, or even "self-paced study guides" do not make for "taking a course of study" or "earning a degree" any more than one would we were talking about using secretaries to manage interactions with students, and requiring stuff to come from a big file cabinet rather than performed live.

University education as instruction mediated by secretaries and file cabinets--now digital, virtual, buzzhorpal! Do administrators dream of electric sheep?

Toby Higbie said...

For a flavor of the experience at the University of Illinois with an online campus, see this Chicago Tribune article:


As a witness to the early phases of the UI "Global Campus," I would say that much of its failure is attributable to the way the administration tried to ram their ideas into operation, and the poor financial model they used, which sucked off too much of the tuition revenue into central administration. It was pretty clear that this was the President's baby, and he suffered through faculty "input" sessions (a.k.a., the faculty senate) with thinly veiled disdain.

If you read the Tribune article carefully, you'll see that online education is doing quite nicely at Illinois. But it isn't growing through the centralized "Global Campus." Growth in online teaching is mostly happening through the regular departments.

I would definitely like to see the proposals coming forth, and I am interested in finding ways to utilize online formats for our teaching. But I'm very dubious of centralized approaches.

Unknown said...

I agree that these days Online education really gaining more attention and in coming days it will gain its popularity worldwide.. The students can learn any time and from any where through online education.. Also its a time saving process.. Online education is much less intimatating than the class rooms..
It also make instructors more approachable and student can talk openly with their teachers without any hesitation through online chat..

Good Idea i must say about online education..


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