California is apparently going to be taking a leadership role in promoting the adoption of massive open online courses (MOOC) in its state's system of higher education.
Push to Widen Online Study in California has the story:
"A California lawmaker is scheduled to unveil a bill Wednesday that would make his state the first in the nation to offer college students a statewide system of faculty-approved, online college courses for credit.
The bill, to be filed by California Senate President Darrell Steinberg, comes as so-called massive open online courses have begun to revolutionize education, reaching millions of students who often pay nothing. At the same time, state aid for higher education is being slashed across the U.S., raising tuition and creating long lines for classes. The problem is particularly acute in California, where colleges have been underfunded for years.
"The goal is to help out students who are having a tough time getting classes," said Mark Hedlund, a spokesman for Mr. Steinberg.
Several schools such as San Jose State University and Georgia State University, have accepted MOOCs for credit. Last month, Coursera—the largest MOOC provider—won recommendations for credit by the American Council on Education for five of its courses. The bill in California is significant because if it passes it would clear the widest pathway yet for students to get academic credit for MOOCs.
Michelle Pilati, president of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, said if a student took a MOOC they would still have to pass a test to get credit for the course. But the implications could be significant.
"We have access issues and this will help address that," she said.
Andrew Ng, the co-founder of Coursera, called the proposal significant "because so many students are having trouble getting into classes and this opens up another option to them."
However, he added that the student-professor relationship shouldn't be allowed to get lost in the rush online.
"There is something very sacred about that relationship," Mr. Ng said. "I think here in California we need more professors, more universities and more capacity.""
The movement to adopt massive open online courses, aka MOOC, is gathering steam across America.
The need and potential for a vastly improved educational system at a much lower cost is real.
And this better educational system with a much broader course offering can be taught by nationally renowned professors as well.
So get ready to hear and learn more about MOOC. It's real and it's going to be a legitimate game changer.
And we definitely need to improve our educational game, while lowering the cost of doing so at the same time.
We can indeed change our game for the better in a major way, but only if we're first willing to change our minds about how things have to be done.
That's my take.