California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg proposes bill to ensure quality online courses

Valery Fregoso

 

Through Senate Bill 520, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg proposed a bill to California Senate to enforce University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges systems to give class credit to approved online course providers on March 13.

According to the Senate Bill 520 fact sheet, Steinberg wants to ensure “high quality postsecondary education [to be] available to all.”

If this bill is passed, the California Open Education Resources Council will create a list of 50 ‘bottleneck’ lower division courses to be available for students to take at outside entities through online education and then receive full credit at the UC, CSU and California Community Colleges.

The author of the bill mentions that this will decrease wait lists for students and help those students graduate within the four year span.

“On surface, SB 520 sounds like a good idea to help students achieve their academic goal more quickly than they can at the present time,” Irvine Valley College Dean of Academic Programs Dr. Kathy Werle said. “But I do know that there are issues regarding wait lists that the author may not be aware of.”

According to Werle, Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College both use data from wait lists and class fill dates to help develop their course schedule for the next years.

On a press release from the office of the Senate President, it also stated that the bill proposes a budget that includes “$10 million in 2013-2014 towards new online courses at the UCs and CSUs and $16.9 million for online education at the community college level. “

“Clearly people have been talking about this [and] because of the technologies we have, these are possible opportunities that colleges need to look at,” Saddleback President of Academic Senate, Bob Cosgrove said. “We offer 15% of our classes at Saddleback online, one of the highest in the state and so if we are doing it here, there is no reason someone else shouldn’t do it if they are an accredited institution.”

The set hearing for this bill will occur on April 10.

 

 

 

 

 

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