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Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Academic Senate and Others Respond to SB520

The Chair and Vice-Chair of the System-wide Academic Senate have responded to SB520.  You can find their letter here.

The Berkeley Division has also sent out a letter (co-signed by their EVC).  You can find it here

For those of you who may have been wondering how this bill may fit in with UCOP's continuing desire to promote UCOE you may want to read the fascinating Senate Report on the Continuing failures and false promises of UCOE.  It came out in December.  I am sorry I missed it.  But you can find the link here.


You can find the text of the proposed legislation here.   Senator Steinberg's office has offered a "fact sheet" to persuade everyone it is a good idea.   Steinberg's proposal is actually an amendment to his earlier proposed legislation to create a California Virtual Campus.


Bob Samuels has dissected the strategy towards outsourcing embedded in SB520.

Both Angus Johnston and Jon Wiener have noticed how it is predicated on the continuing privatization and defunding of public education.

Kevin Carey offers some fawning praise of the idea.


The NYT story that first highlighted the bill.

The LAT "reporting" can be found here.

Some context from the SacBee.

And some more context from Insider Higher Ed

The Chronicle of Higher Education has coverage here.


Anonymous said...

From text of bill:

"Students would be able to enroll in
such courses for credit only if they were
unable to enroll in the same course offered
in a traditional classroom format."

There are many things that are looking half-baked about this bill, but I'm surprised by how little comment this has generated.

I suppose this is supposed to reassure colleges that the new providers would not be pirating students. But think of the verification bureaucracy actually implementing this would entail. In addition, it would create all kinds of scenarios game theory theorists could only dream about: is it better not to register for a class in the hopes it will fill up so that you can then take the easy A online variation? etc. The burdens on schools and instructors of just this one provision would likely be huge.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, back again, couldn't leave well enough alone.

So to expand on the "verification bureaucracy" comment: what does it mean to say that a student was unable to enroll? Were no seats available at all? Or no seats at times the student could attend? I would imagine for most students, the latter is the real condition. And yet it is inevitably somewhat fuzzy. Unable to attend for what reason? Work? Family? Commuting times? Conflicts with other activities? Some mixture of the above? How will all this be balanced, verified and treated, and by whom? Which condition triggers access to the must-accept online variants? At what point in the term? It really opens mind boggling cans of worms.

In addition, I can't help but smile at this sophistry in the 'fact sheet'. One goal, we are told, is to

"help faculty put
quality first"

Yeah, that's going to improve instruction, inventing a whole category of book-keeping and excuse evaluating (some of which by necessity wades into matters students may well want to keep private), to add the other ones faculty already do. I can imagine how many presentations, how many rounds of feedback, interactions, etc., will be improved by this busy work.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that enrolling in core classes is a serious problem in CSU, not in UC (don't know about CC). In CSU there are many many students who can't get into classes because there are not enough spaces and this bill looks likely to pass because it seems to address this genuine problem in the short run (that the shortages are due to drops in funding levels is beside the point for the legislature). The problems for UC would be immense, perhaps for CSU too, but unless more faculty start talking to the outside world , the public and legislature, instead of to themselves as we do here, we're likely to be left out of the coming decisions.

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