Mar 13 2013

Inside Higher Ed: Outsourcing Public Higher Ed in California

Newswire | Published 13 Mar 2013, 7:26 am | Comments Off on Inside Higher Ed: Outsourcing Public Higher Ed in California -

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A powerful California lawmaker wants public college students who are shut out of popular courses to attend low-cost online alternatives – including those offered by for-profit companies – and he plans to encourage the state’s public institutions to grant credit for those classes.

The proposal expected today from Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat and president pro tem of the state Senate, aims to create a “statewide system of faculty-approved, online college courses,” according to a written statement from Steinberg’s office. (A spokesman for Steinberg declined to discuss the bill.)

Faculty would decide which courses should make the cut for a pool of online offerings. Likely participants include Udacity and Coursera, two major massive open online course providers, sources said. Another option might be StraighterLine, a low-cost, self-paced online course company.

Those online providers are not accredited and cannot directly issue credit. But the American Council on Education (ACE) offers credit recommendations for successfully completed StraighterLine courses and is currently reviewing MOOCs for credit recommendations, with five from Coursera already gaining approval. Potentially credit-bearing MOOCs will likely include efforts to verify students’ identities and proctored exams.

The proposed legislation might require all of the state’s public institution’s to accept ACE’s recommendations, according to sources familiar with the bill. But whether that requirement would be binding or might include flexibility for colleges was unclear. And the legislation is likely to change as it is fought over and amended.

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Inside Higher Ed

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