Monday, June 10, 2013

California Dreams for MOOC Credits Getting Trimmed

In response to faculty protests during a hearing this spring, California legislators are trimming the ambitions of MOOC providers to offer academic credit at all three levels of the state's higher education system. The latest amendments to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's SB 520 transform the originally envisioned universal online platform to an "incentive grant program." The change shifts downward the number of eligible courses for MOOC credits beginning fall 2014 from the "50 most impacted" to a set of "20 high-demand" lower division courses. The change also moves away from framing the MOOC system as a "one stop" platform for California students to a series of grant-supported efforts led by faculty and leaders within each of the three educational segments. The legislation now calls for the grants to foster collaboration among the three higher education systems--the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges--and to offer the courses to high school students. In an April hearing, faculty leaders expressed concern about "unproven" private companies being put in charge of students' education.

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