On Wednesday, UC President of Mark Yudof said the system is at a turning point that will focus on delivering education online. California no longer has the means to support the UC system the way it has for decades, Gov. Jerry Brown reminded the Regents. Instead, he said it's time to embrace other ways of saving and making money. Enter online courses. "So there isn't a luxury of sitting in the present trajectory unless you don't mind paying ever-increasing tuition," he said.
The UC system already offers more than 200 online courses to its undergraduate and graduate students, and recently attempted to reach out to non-UC students, charging between $1,400 and $2,400 per class, but it's had little success. "There have been marked failures along the way. There were failures at Columbia. There were failures at Illinois. There were failures at other institutions," Yudof said.
But the Yudof promised that within the next two months, the UC system will present a new program to develop more online courses. This could bring in a new source of money. "Because I think it's those new revenue possibilities that then give us the possibility of cross-subsidizing our traditional bricks and mortar campus delivery of UC quality," he said.
The regents heard Wednesday from experts in the field of online education. The governor also heard from the student regent who said not every student wants an online education. "But we have thrown out sports, clubs, volunteerism, student leadership. I learn more outside of the classroom than I do inside the classroom," he said.
But Yudof said with more students applying every year, online courses would give those who can't get in the same quality education. "How do we serve them? And we admit them from community colleges and they don't participate in sports on campus because they're out at community college," Yudof said.
"People can learn more, better, and it will be cheaper in the long run. That's a powerful claim. We're not there yet," Brown said. The idea is to begin pairing faculty with instructional designers, people who know how to transform content for online use. Brown says it's time to reshape the landscape of higher education.