Colleges to alleviate impacted classes

Saddleback and Irvine Valley Colleges’ logo ( & )

Valery Fregoso

Saddleback and Irvine Valley Colleges had already been working on trying to deal with the bottleneck courses since before the California Senate President Pro Tem Darl Steinberg’s Senate Bill 520 was proposed to the California Senate on March 13. 

Senate Bill 520 is a bill proposing the possibility to enforce University of California, California State University and California Community College systems to give class credit to approved online course providers to help clear the impacted classes. 

Steinberg is proposing a budget for the online education proposal of $10 million to the UC’s and CSU’s and proposing $16.9 million towards California Community Colleges.

According to Dr. Kathy Werle, Dean of Academic Programs at Irvine Valley College, these impacted classes would not be occurring if the Senate issued more money to the schools.

“We have been working out this problem for a long time,” Werle said. “In the context of the budget crisis in California, lack of growth in money, and reduction of the work force, we have cut back the number of courses and sections we have offered because there has been no money coming forward from the state.”

Even though the budget has been low toward education, Werle said that IVC and Saddleback have been working on numerous of solutions to help with the impacted classes even before the new Senate Bill was proposed.

One solution Werle said IVC and Saddleback are proposing is to try to build a student-centered schedule. This will allow students to plan ahead the classes they need after they take their assessment tests. Through this, they can see the needs for the classes prior to making the schedule. 

Another solution the colleges are proposing is the use of massive on-line courses to help students prepare for assessment and placement tests. This can help students skip basic level courses to speed their completion time and to lower their cost of schooling. After getting the assessment data, they can plan for the courses needed.

At IVC and Saddleback, they already have a high majority of their courses offered online. IVC currently offers approximately 10 percent of their courses online.

“We offer 15 percent of our classes at Saddleback online,” President of the Academic Senate Bob Cogrove said. “[This is] one of the highest in the state.”

Werle said that pieces from Senate Bill 520 already fit into what they are currently working on.

“We are both colleges working to make sure that students get through our programs,” Werle said. “There’s a lot of motivation to do that is outside the bills accountability.”

Senate BIl 520 is currently being proposed and amended in the Senate. The hearing date for the Committee of Education is on April 24.  

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