Thursday, May 13, 2010

Here’s The Future: A Virtual University of California

A recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, “U. of California Considers Online Classes, or Even Degrees: Proposal for virtual courses challenges beliefs about what an elite university is—and isn't,” outlines the first real effect of the Commission on the Future of the University. According to the Chronicle, “Administrators hope the online plan will ultimately expand revenue and access for students at the same time. But the plan starts with a relatively modest experiment that aims to create online versions of roughly 25 high-demand lower-level "gateway courses." A preliminary list includes such staples as Calculus 1 and Freshman Composition.” In its effort to downsize undergraduate education, and hopefully turn a profit, the university hopes to place high-demand courses online.

While the initial project appears to be modest, this is only the first step: “UC hopes to put out a request for proposals in the fall, says Daniel Greenstein, vice provost for academic planning, programs, and coordination. Professors will compete for grants to build the classes, deliver them to students, and participate in evaluating them. Courses might be taught as soon as 2011.” In other words, faculty will be motivated to sacrifice the future of their own departments in the quest of landing a grant to re-design their classes for the Web. In fact, the UC plans to offer a great deal of cash for faculty willing to enter the digital future: “The university plans to spend about $250,000 on each course. It hopes to raise the money from external sources like foundations or major donors.” One has to wonder why the university does not simply use the $6 million it plans to raise on funding existing programs; moreover, we have to examine what kind of deals does the UC plan to offer private and corporate sponsors of these new programs. Will Apple be able to fund a new iCourse, which would require students to purchase Apple products?

We also have to question what the turn to online education will do to the quality of instruction and the reputation of the UC system. As the Chronicle article reports, most elite universities have not pursued online courses because they are afraid of losing their elite status. After all, what differentiates the University of California from the University of Phoenix is the fact that in the UC system, students are brought to the same place to study with expert faculty and researchers. Furthermore, once courses are moved online, the value of a UC degree will be downgraded.

As someone whose specialization is the use of new media for the teaching of writing, I can attest that online writing courses actually increase the amount of work for the faculty. Also, due to the high cost of technology, staffing, equipment, and facilities, these programs end up costing a huge amount of money. Moreover, online education casualizes the academic labor force as it hurts student retention rates.

None of these factors seem to affect Berkeley’s Law School dean Christopher Edley Jr. who argues that, “"Somebody is going to figure out how to deliver online education for credit and for degrees in the quality sector—i.e., in the elite sector. . . I think it ought to be us—not MIT, not Columbia, not Caltech, certainly not Stanford." Perhaps Edley should spend some time pondering why the other elite institutions are not going down this path; however, he seems intent on forcing online education down the throats of resisting faculty and students.

In a very telling moment in the Chronicle article, we find the following passage: “Building a collection of online classes could help alleviate bottlenecks and speed up students' paths to graduation. But supporters hope to use the pilot program to persuade faculty members to back a far-reaching expansion of online instruction that would offer associate degrees entirely online, and, ultimately, a bachelor's degree.” We can read this statement as positing that the grants will offer faculty a large amount of money to design their classes for the Web, and once the faculty have bought into this process, the move will be to transfer as much of the instruction online as possible. Let’s hope the UC faculty resist these bribes—I mean grants.

29 comments:

  1. In countless arenas it's a proven fact that nothing takes the place of face to face interaction. UC has a crisis of priorities, as most know.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am really curious how they plan to find the $250K per course for development and evaluation. Foundations and donors? Would any of those be connected to corporate interests that would benefit from this shift possibly as vendors?

    I'm not opposed to experimenting with moving some of the big classes online (or better yet hybrid). I agree that it is likely to mean more time for instructors, and that the ultimate goal of this plan seems to aim at faculty developing the courses so that lecturers can "deliver" them to students. Still, if those instructors are paid well and have job security then it might not be so bad. (Of course, paying instructors competes with the goal of lowering costs.)

    For faculty there has got to be one big question: intellectual property. Who will own it once the course is developed. Consider that when faculty write textbooks that they then assign to their students, they get a royalty. Will there be a similar set up? How will the royalty be computed, enforced.

    Time to join the Writers Guild of America?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have been visiting various blogs for my dissertation research. I have found your blog to be quite useful. Keep updating your blog with valuable information... Regards

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is an interesting post. I expect that new people study this and acquire what I obtain from it. Great work and great post, I can’t stop to study further, keep them coming.

    Buy Dissertation

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your blog is really helps for my search and amazingly it was on my searching criteria.. Thanks a lot..
    Buy Dissertation Online

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your blog is really very interesting. I am totally impressed with this. So keep posting.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is an interesting post. I expect that new people study this and acquire what I obtain from it. Great work and great post, I can’t stop to study further, keep them coming.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Will Apple be able to fund a new iCourse, which would require students to purchase Apple products.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no definition of beauty, but when you can see someone's spirit coming through, something unexplainable, that's beautiful to me.

      Delete
  9. You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site. reputation management company

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am just catching up but holy crapoly, that sounds like an awesome tailgate! I have to say - they aren't all that amazing. Deep fried Prime Rib? My god. Thank you for providing this information.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I just wanted to comment on your blog and say I really enjoyed reading your blog here. It was very informative and I also digg the way you write! Keep it up and I'll be back soon to find out more mate.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great blog article about this topic,I have been lately in your blog once or twice now.I just wanted to say hi and show my thanks for the information provided….

    ReplyDelete
  13. The article is written in a very good manner.It help me in my college project.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am so much excited after reading your blog. Your blog is very much innovative and much helpful for any industry as well as for person. If you want to know about

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is the kind of blog I want to visit to start my day. I also admire your selection. I’ll be back soon for more discussions. As of the moment I’ll just leave a quick post just letting you know I love your blog.Sleeping Pills Online

    ReplyDelete
  16. it's a great post and ai like your mind in this post thank's for yoru information
    do might also like in order to obat alami kanker otak yang aman

    ReplyDelete
  17. http://www.coachoutletstoreinc.com/ Coach Outlet Store Online
    http://www.michaelkorsoutletmkinc.com/ Michael Kors Outlet
    http://www.coachfactoryoutletwebsite.com/ Coach Factory Outlet
    http://www.tomsusashoes.com/ Toms Shoes
    http://www.cheapjerseysinc.com/ Cheap Jerseys
    http://www.michaelkors-bedford.com/ Michael Kors
    http://www.coachoutlet-sale.com/ Coach Outlet
    http://www.coachfactoryoutletorg.com/ Coach Factory Outlet
    http://www.coachoutlet-buy.com/ Coach Outlet
    http://www.coachhandbagsonlineoutlet.com/ Coach Handbags
    http://www.giuseppezanottionline.com/ Giuseppe Zanotti
    http://www.coachfactoryoutlet-handbags.com/
    http://www.coach-factory-outlet-online.com/ Coach Factory Outlet Online
    http://www.coachstoreonline.com/ Coach Outet Store Online
    http://www.coachfactoryoutlets2014.com/ Coach Factory Outlet
    http://www.michaelkorsoutletonlinemk.com/ Michael Kors Outlet Online
    http://www.celineoutlet-online.com/ Celine Outlet
    http://www.michaelkors.name/ Michael Kors
    http://www.michael-kors-outlet-store.com/ Michael Kors Store
    http://www.tomsshoescompany.com/ Tomss Hoes
    http://www.pradaoutlet-store.com/ Prada Outlet
    http://www.fitflopfootwear.com/ Fitflop Footwear
    http://www.celinebags-outlet.com/ Celine Bags
    http://www.fitflopsflipflops.com/ Fitflops Flipflops
    http://www.fitflopusaonline.com/ Fitflops
    http://www.giuseppezanottidesigner.com/ Giuseppe Zanotti Designer
    http://www.fitflopflip-flop.com/ Fitflops
    http://www.giuseppezanottisneakersmen.com/ Giuseppe Zanotti Sneakersmen
    http://www.fitflopsandalssale.com/ Fitflops

    ReplyDelete
  18. ex Hormone Binding Globulin(SHBG) binds a high percentage of testosterone to fat cells making it inactive. When testosterone is bound, it becomes unable for use in the body. Free Testosterone is responsible for providing the body with energy, mood enhancement, increasing and maintaining muscle mass and enhancing sex drive. 
    http://www.amazon.com/Testosterone-Booster-Supplement-TEST-WORx/dp/B007FZLXGI

    ReplyDelete
  19. Situated in a popular residential road in close proximity to local schools, shops and BR station serving London Waterloo is this excellent four bedroom detached family home which occupies a bold corner plot.The property offers light and airy, well proportioned living...
    http://www.gpees.co.uk/forsaleoffice/hinchley-wood/89/

    ReplyDelete
  20. Land tenure arrangement has enhanced not merely to the government. But additionally to the area at large. Its significance could be learned from the pursuing three angles
    http://www.gpees.co.uk/forsaleoffice/ewell/697/

    ReplyDelete
  21. Compra asics baratos tienda en línea, bienvenidos a comprar.
    http://www.barataszapatillases.com/

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think Virtual University of Australia is also working in entire country as virtual university..!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am always looking for blogs related to education. Thanks for the info. Expecting more informative blogs. Case study report writing services

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is really very informative blog which I have found luckily while searching something similar on the net.Buy Cheap Dissertation Online

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is incredibly spellbinding idea that you have share on the internet. Just keep posting your glorious thoughts so may enjoy your reading.Dissertation Writing Services in UK

    ReplyDelete
  26. This blog offers an invaluable insight which is just worth sharing and I would like to share it with my friendshttps://dissertation-writers.uk/dissertation-writing-services-uk/

    ReplyDelete