Online learning heading to new territory

Written by eduskeptic on January 26th, 2013
snow in the winter woods

Learn at your own pace, where ever you are. Photo credit: J. Ferris

The promise of online education has been in the air for quite some time now. So far, it hasn’t hit the big time in the public higher ed realm.

That may be changing, especially in California. In his State of the State address, Gov. Brown laid out his vision for California for the next few years.

His education focus is on more financial flexibility for school districts, and a better way to deliver high ed without ramping the cost up in terms of higher tuition.

He had announced earlier the initiative by San Jose State University and Udacity, Inc. to partner for an online pilot program. It is called San Jose State University Plus. The excitement here is embodied in the “online” partnership.

This online program will offer college classes, for credit, to San Jose State students and non-San Jose students. It opens up higher level classes for anyone wanting to learn.

Two math classes will be offered, along with a statistics class. These are classes that just about every student must pass to be successful in the college and university arena, and which cause a lot of heartburn among college students.

The classes will cost $150 each, about what it would cost at a community college. This falls into the initiative by the Governor to keep costs down in the college and University areas. If the program is successful, it could be expanded.

The beauty of it is the public/private partnership, along with the lure of online learning.

Online education offers students the ability to study when it is best fits their schedule. Whether it is 2 a.m. or 2 p.m. becomes irrelevant. The pace is whatever the student needs, within the confines of having to finish the course within a specified period of time.

While all of this has been bandied about for years, this just may be the point at which it launches into the realm of reality for more students.


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