Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Governor, The UC Budget, and Online Education

This will be a rather long post that will discuss two related topics: Governor Brown’s new budget for the UC system and the Regents coming discussion of online education. In terms of the state budget, Brown proposes the following: “The state’s General Fund contribution to UC, CSU, and Hastings will increase by 5 percent per year in 2013‑14 and 2014‑15 and by 4 percent in each of the subsequent two years.” Although it is a welcomed relief to see increased funding for the UC system, it is not close to the amount that UCOP says the university needs. According to Brown’s budget statement: “UC and CSU have proposed budgets that call for increases in state funding of about 12 percent and 18 percent, respectively, from the preceding year. By comparison, over the past three years, personal income growth in California has averaged slightly less than 4 percent per year. California taxpayers cannot sustain institutions whose cost growth greatly outpaces the state’s income growth. Furthermore, the rapidly growing numbers of college graduates who are unable to repay their student loans is an indication that these costs cannot be forever pushed onto students through tuition and fee increases.” In other words, the universities are asking for too much, and they need to live within their means. Moreover, it is unclear from the budget document if the Governor is basing his increased funding on a future tuition freeze.

What is clear is that Brown feels that the UC can do things in a much more efficient and cost-effective manner: “from 2007‑08 to 2012‑13, when other public agencies were retrenching, UC expenditures increased by 15 percent and CSU expenditures increased by 3 percent. These expenditure increases were funded by approximately $1.4 billion in tuition revenue increases at UC and $1 billion at CSU, a near doubling of tuition and fees from 2007‑08 to the present. Specifically, UC’s tuition and fees increased by $5,556 over that period. CSU’s tuition and fees increased by $2,700 over that same period (see Figure HED‑01). These rapid tuition increases have been a significant hardship for students and their families, particularly middle‑income families who do not qualify for Cal Grants.” Thus, while the governor realizes that tuition increases have been in part the result of state budget funding for higher ed, he also thinks the universities need to do a better job at reducing their expenses.

Brown believes that too many students are not graduating in a timely fashion, and so the UC system has to do several things: stop students from taking extra credits, reduce tuition increases, make more classes available, and make the delivery of instruction less costly. To fix many of these problems, he wants to turn to technology: “All institutions will be expected to use these increases to implement reforms that will make available the courses students need and help them progress through college efficiently, using technology to deliver quality education to greater numbers of students in high‑demand courses, improving course management and planning, using faculty more effectively, and increasing use of summer sessions. With savings achieved in this way, in combination with the General Fund increases and realizing the savings of current efficiency efforts (e.g. UC’s Working Smarter Initiative and CSU’s Systemwide Administrative Efficiencies), the Administration expects the colleges and universities to maintain current tuition and fee levels over the next four years.” Governor Brown is arguing here that due to the combination of increased state funding and the use of new technologies, the UC should not need to raise tuition. In fact, he wants to help fund the UC online program: “the Budget provides UC and CSU $10 million each to increase the number of courses available to matriculated undergraduates through the use of technology, specifically those courses that have the highest demand, fill quickly, and are prerequisites for many different degrees. Priority will be given to the development of courses that can serve greater numbers of students while providing equal or better learning experiences.” Since the UC is already planning to spend $7 million on its failing online pilot program, the governor may be actually bailing out a bad idea and doubling down on the online gamble.

The Governor also extends the online panacea to the community college system, where he envisions the following use of technology: “This initiative will include three key elements: (1) the creation of a “virtual campus” to increase statewide student access to 250 new courses delivered through technology, (2) the creation of a single, common, and centralized delivery and support infrastructure for all courses delivered through technology and for all colleges, and (3) the expansion of options for students to access instruction in other environments and earn college credit for demonstrated knowledge and skills through credit by exam.” This strategy brings together some of the worst ideas circulating in higher education: let’s create virtual campuses for the most disadvantaged students as we continue to replace traditional courses with a wide-range of substitutes.

Once again, I should stress that I am in favor of using new technologies to increase the effectiveness of university education, but there is no proof that this will save money, and it fails to deal with the real cost-drivers, which are administration, construction, sponsored-research and graduate and professional education. This failure to understand the real spending streams in higher ed is also evident in the UC Online project report that has been developed for the next UC Regents meeting. In a virtual copy of the Governor’s own discussion of how new technologies will save higher education, we find the following argument about the UC online program: “Anticipated benefits from for-credit online undergraduate courses include additional opportunities for high-quality instruction throughout the UC system, decreased time-to-degree, increased student success, and decreased costs of instruction. Future directions include streamlining cross-campus and systemwide processes, increasing enrollment in for-credit online undergraduate courses, using innovative learning technology, enrolling non-UC students, and establishing viable long-term financial models and short-term investments.” As we will read later on, the initial discussion of saving money through online education is centered on a call to increase funding for online initiatives: “It is clear now that both the campuses and UCOE would benefit from an infusion of funding on a temporary basis to facilitate continued development. The cross-campus hub needs to be developed, and there is currently no budgeted fund source. Additional instructional designers for UCOE and instructional designers at the campuses would greatly increase the rate of creation of new online courses, the improvement of existing online courses, and the movement of courses to approval for both academic-year and summer offering and then to systemwide approval. Current estimates are that an instructional designer can develop three to four courses per year, provide a major update for three to four courses already offered per year, and provide a minor update to several courses per year. Several campuses, if not all, and to a lesser extent UCOE would also benefit from additional equipment and facilities for the production of online, hybrid, and technology-assisted courses and from a fund for the short-term contracting out of particular development tasks. UC will continue to elaborate on resource needs as campus plans and systemwide goals become clearer.” Let’s see, we are going to save money by finding money to fund course developers, technological hubs, new equipment, new facilities, and outsourced development people. As I have previously written, once you start to take into account all of the expenses related to developing an effective online program, you quickly run up the tab.

Like the expanding sponsored research mission, it is hard for online programs to pay for all of their related costs. It just seems like you never have enough administrators and staff as you push to downsize the faculty. If you think I am being paranoid here, let us look at one of the ideas for replacing current courses taught by regular UC Faculty: “some of the Extension XB, XD, etc. online courses might be considered for approval as courses to be offered during regular terms and systemwide if the course is appropriate and is not currently offered online to UC students.” In other terms, more students will be able to get UC course credit for extension courses that are often taught by non-UC faculty. In fact, the extension teachers do not have benefits, job security, academic freedom, fair compensation, or the same credentials as UC faculty who teach in the “regular” programs.

Moreover, the other way that the UC thinks it can save money is by using new technologies to simply expand the size of classes and eliminate the need for the faculty: “The increased enrollment capacity possible with online for-credit courses could result in a cost-savings to campus departments. An on-ground course that enrolls 100 students may require an instructor and two teaching assistants (TAs). To teach 500 students, the department would have to offer and cover the instructional costs of offering the course five times. An online course could enroll 500 students in one offering; it may still require the same number of TAs, ten in this example, but it will save the department in instructor expenses and time.” Not only might this model save the department money, but it may also eliminate the jobs of most of the faculty members.

The fantasy underlying most of these proposals is a high-tech university staffed with high-paying administrators and exploited graduate students. With large online courses and graduate student assistants, there is no need to hire more faculty members. Furthermore, as I have stressed elsewhere, undergraduate instruction is the most cost-effective part of the university, and so instead of turning their attention to the real causes for increased costs, the administration wants to standardized the curriculum and develop system-wide courses: “UC is developing a mechanism that will easily allow UC students to take courses at campuses other than the one in which they matriculated. This cross-campus enrollment process will allow UC students to take full advantage of one of the key benefits of online courses – the opportunity to learn from experts outside their own campus.” The problem with this notion is that once departments lose their cash cows--lower-division undergrad courses--there is no need to fund these programs.

UC argues that one area of potential savings could come by lowering the need to build more classrooms: “Online courses also allow the university to enroll students without the proportional need for new capital projects. It would cost the University approximately $1.8 billion to build the brick and mortar infrastructure needed to serve 11,000 new full-time equivalent students. The online infrastructure required to support the same number of students would cost approximately $20 million, a savings of over $1.7 billion. Because online courses will not require classroom space, greater adoption of online instruction can alleviate some classroom scheduling constraints and some need for new instructional space.” This seems to make sense, unless you know that during the recent surge in UC enrollments very few new classrooms have been added. Instead, the UC spends its money building medical facilities, research centers, and dorms.

In an apparent nod to the faculty, the report does offer a way for professors to make more money: “UC will undoubtedly continue to identify how it can leverage current and evolving trends in innovative learning technology to benefit UC students and faculty. One aspect of this might be to encourage UC faculty to develop MOOCs with the various for-profit or non-profit groups while simultaneously working to develop ways to provide UC credit for MOOC students either currently at UC or with intentions to enroll at UC. This might be accomplished by developing specific exams for current or future students to take that would certify a competency appropriate for UC credit or by adding additional learning activities and instructor involvement that rounds out the MOOC experience in ways that make the totality eligible for UC course credit.” I read this passage as saying the faculty can make some extra money by selling their courses to other content providers, while the UC saves money by giving course credits for online classes developed by outside providers. So let me get this vision right: UC faculty stop teaching UC courses as UC students start getting credit for courses developed outside of the UC system; meanwhile, the remaining UC faculty could increase their earnings by selling their courses to the highest external bidder as UC courses are outsourced to other providers.

But what about quality? Here is the best line from the whole report: “The Academic Senate has established procedures and criteria at all campuses that consider the unique aspects of online courses, and the Senate’s systemwide University Committee on Educational Policy (UCEP) has established guidelines for extending the approval process to make campus-approved courses available systemwide. Early information from the Senate’s requested UCOE evaluation are that courses are successful, valued, and “high quality curriculum.” Similar evaluations of campus-produced online courses would undoubtedly yield similar results.” According to this circular logic, since the past courses have been deemed high quality, the new classes will “undoubtedly” be high quality. This line of thinking does not increase my faith in the ability of the university to maintain educational quality.

At one point, the report does recognize that virtually all of its previous predictions concerning the pilot online program have failed: “When the original marketing study was done 16 months ago, there were relatively favorable indications of interest in enrolling in UC for-credit, for-fee online courses within California, and many of the online options available now were not in place or even envisioned. For a number of reasons, development of online courses in UCOE is approximately six months behind the original schedule, but the number of course offerings that could enroll non-matriculated students for 2013-14 exceeds the original budget planning assumptions. However, projections as to the market for these courses may turn out to have been overly optimistic.” This is an understatement since we now know that UC has spent $5 million to enroll 5 students and not the planned 3,000 non-UC students. And yet, it looks like the state will bail out the UC online pilot program so they can double down on their delusional bet. We all need to educate the governor and the regents about the realities of this online venture.


  1. Thanks for this. As a UC Berkeley alum (PhD English 1983) I find this deeply troubling if unsurprising. The same thing is happening in the University of Wisconsin System, where my home institution, UW-Milwaukee, is taking the lead in Governor Scott Walker's newly mandated "Flexible Degree Option." I've blogged on that here:

  2. This website has very good content.
    Thank you for the great article I did enjoyed reading it,
    I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back from
    again. I want to encourage that you continue your great job,
    have a good day
    dich thuat tieng nhat

  3. For higher education in foreign please contact here.....
    Higher Education Plans

    1. Ada beberapa pengecualian untuk aturan ini. Jika saya di pertandingan persahabatan, jika saya di pertandingan kandang, atau bahkan jika saya dalam suasana hati yang santai dan bermain dengan orang lain yang juga ada untuk "bersenang-senang" tidak "bisnis", maka saya mungkin menunjukkan beberapa lebih tangan dari saya biasanya. ratupoker

  4. You share such a wonderful information with us I like it very much. Keep sharing regularly!.
    Hire .NET Developer | Expert Wordpress Developer

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. The underlying assumption of MOOCS by the UC is that students will continue to pay the high costs of a course taught online, while the delivery cost is reduced. This makes no sense to me, especially as if you are correct that undergrad courses are cash cows.

    The price of the course will decline as well with competition from other accredited courses.
    Since there is little constraint on the number of users of any system, but at some point an upper limit on students, competition should drive prices for courses down and concentrate revenue and profit in a small number of courses per topic. If those courses are not UC courses, then what?

    If MOOCS deliver on their promise, the universities will ultimately become institutions for grant funded research and graduate research training only, with perhaps some revenue from sweating legacy assets, such as labs.

    It seems to me that UC hasn't really thought through the implications of this move.

  7. Graduate TA's receive significant stipends, tuition remission, and healthcare. It's not possible for the UC to save money by hiring more TA's to take over equivalent teaching obligations as lecturers. The true cost of TA's would seem to dismantle the idea that there are savings to be achieved.

  8. I really love reading your blog. Thanks for sharing informative post.
    college advice online

  9. I stumbled upon this site through search engine and I have been reading along all the blogs posted. They are very well written indeed. Thanks. buy dissertation

  10. Thanks for such a wonderful information. raise money online

  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.

  12. I can suggest my own personal point of view on this problem or buy a good one essay at made for me and other students. In general, great deal of meaning of all educational matters that are gathered in it derive from practical life, historical facts and scientific researches. Some information nevertheless remains an open question for me as well as for any educated man or woman in united states.

  13. Replies
    1. Apakah Anda pernah mengunjungi setiap agen ibcbet Dengan sekolah khusus agen sbobet, maksud saya sekolah Game Ibcbet Terpopuler untuk anak berkebutuhan khusus Tips Memilih Situs Agen Ibcbet Terpercaya. Anda mungkin belum agen bola tangkas, jika anak Anda tidak menderita autisme tangkas online indonesia. Saya berharap bola tangkas tidak ada yang melakukan. Saya agen bola tangkas akan mendorong Anda tangkas online indonesia untuk menyenangkan mengunjungi tangkas online sekolah tersebut beberapa hari. Jika agen poker Anda adalah manusia dewa poker yang nyata, Anda akan pergi keluar, berubah. poker online poker online indonesia

  14. I believe in Governor Brown’s future plans for education. I hope there are more institution that will support Brown's plans.

  15. Burberry Outlet Cheap Hollister Clothes Coach Black Friday Coach Black Friday 2013 Coach Cyber Monday Coach Factory Coach Outlet Factory Coach Outlet USA Coach Purses Factory Coach Purses USA Coach Store Outlet Coach Purses On Sale Monster Beats Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Factory Marc Jacobs On Sale MCM Outlet MCM 店铺 cheap oakley sunglasses Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Factory Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Factory Online Coach Factory Outlet North Face Outlet Online Polo Outlet Store Ralph Lauren UK Sac Longchamp Pairs Coach Outlet Online Coach Factory Oultet Ugg Australia Barbour Jackets Outlet Online Canada Goose Outlet Gucci Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Moncler Clearance Moncler Jackets Outlet Online North Clearace Outlet Polo Ralph Lauren Outlet Online Woolrich Clearance Michael Kors Factory Outlet Coach Outlet Online USA Beats by Dre Coach Purses Outlet Online Michael Kors USA

  16. Kabar kabar berita Kpu di
    Kabar berita liga champion di
    Kabar berita capres jokowi di
    Kabar berita timnas indonesia di
    Kabar berita partai hanura di
    Kabar berita prabowo subianto di
    Kabar berita partai politik di
    Kabar berita calon presiden 2014 di
    Kabar berita jadwal piala dunia di
    Kabar berita klasemen liga inggris di


  18. thank you for sharing of some of the articles we read this one article is very interesting for us, i like it alat bantu seks and very helpful to me cara menghilangkan tato

  19. Hal ini penting juga agen ibcbet , bahwa Anda menggunakan kata kunci agen sbobet yang paling pencari akan ibcbet menggunakan ketika mencari untuk jenis produk bola tangkas atau jasa. Ada beberapa generator kata kunci agen bola tangkas gratis yang tersedia secara online tangkas online yang tidak hanya memberikan beberapa kata kunci tangkas online untuk jenis bisnis Anda tangkas online indonesia, tetapi peringkat agen bola tangkas mereka dengan seberapa sering orang menggunakannya poker online ketika mencari jenis bisnis agen poker atau produk. Sebagai contoh, pencarian dewa poker cepat untuk "rumah gratis berbasis agen sbobet Generator kata kunci bisnis" mengungkapkan bahwa agen bola indonesia "bisnis berbasis rumah" kata kunci agen sbobet jauh dan menjadi agen bola tangkas pilihan utama. Namun, "berbasis agen bola terpercaya rumah peluang bisnis"

  20. Nice article, thanks for the information. It's very complete information. I will bookmark for next reference
    jaring futsal | jaring golf | jaring pengaman proyek |
    jaring pengaman bangunan | jaring pengaman gedung

  21. Its wonderful blog really very nice site and blog facility.every title is very nice and very fatastic concept. Thanks for sharing the information.

  22. Training in school, school and college has turned out to be extremely costly. Guardians and understudies are discovering it progressively hard to pay for their instruction or once in a while even to get money related guide from private organizations. Payday Loans Chicago


  23. Great website! It looks really professional! Sustain the great job!
    Judi Bola | live casino


  24. شركة نقل عفش بالدمام الشرق الاوسط متحصصه فى نقل عفش واثاث بالدمام ونقل العفش بالخبر كما انها توفر شركة نقل عفش بالجبيل والخبر وشركة نقل عفش بالقطيف والاحساء وجميع خدمات نقل العفش والاثاث بالمنطقة الشرقية بارخص اسعار نقل عفش بالدمام وتقدم ايضا شركة تخزين عفش بالدمام والخبر
    نقل عفش بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر
    شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
    شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
    شركة نقل عفش بالقطيف
    شركة نقل اثاث بالاحساء


  25. شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة وشقق بالمدينة المنورة شركة غسيل خزانات ومكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة ونقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة مؤسسة صفوة المدينة
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة مؤسسة صفوة المدينة انها الاولى فى مكافحة ورش الحشرات بالمدينة المنورة رش البق رش الصراصير مكافحة النمل الابيض بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Thanks for providing good information,Thanks for your sharing.


  28. All our writers understand Already Written Essays standards, and they are always ready to work for you. Students can Cheap Custom Term Papers in any field and on any level of education.

  29. Online health & safety essay writing services are very difficult to complete and many students are always searching for Health & Safety Writing Services to help them complete their health & safety research paper writing services and health & safety coursework writing services.

  30. American history paper writing services are essential for american history assignment writing service students and American History Writing Services seekers.

  31. You made some good points there. I did a Google search about the topic and found most people will believe your blog. 메이저사이트

  32. discover this info here Dolabuy Bottega Veneta their explanation my sources visit this website click to find out more