Darrell Steinberg, California Senate President pro Tem, has introduced a bill that would require public colleges and universities in California to give credit for online courses taken at 3rd party providers. Steinberg stated that the bill would ensure that California students will not “be denied the right to move through their education because they couldn’t get a seat in the course they needed.”
The bill would ensure that MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Course providers) like Cousera, EdX, and Udacity would be able to offer introductory courses to students for full college credit. The courses will only count if the students are unable to get into the classes they need. There will be 50 introductory courses offered by MOOC’s that will be pre-determined by a faculty-led panel.
Steinberg stated that California has 112 community colleges, and that each college had an average of 7,000 students who were on wait lists for classes. At the California State Universities (CSU), there are over 420,000 students enrolled across the 23 CSU’s, but only 16% graduate within 4 years. With the increasing budget cuts, even more classes are cancelled and more students are being waitlisted. Tomorrow, students from the City College of San Francisco will be rallying together to combat the downsizing of their campus.
The passing of this bill would ensure that more students would be able to get the courses they need to graduate from college on time. Students won’t have to try quarter after quarter (or semester after semester) to get into the classes they need. There’s no guarantee that this bill will pass, but it is being viewed positively. The bill’s main opposition would be universities. Rhee-Weise, an Innosight Institute researcher, says that the bill will be controversial. “These low level courses are really the largest source of revenue for the university because they’re large classes often taught by grad students and few instructors.” However, a student’s education should outweigh “revenue” in this case. We’ll keep you posted about this bill.