In light of plans to begin offering online UC courses to non-UC students, UC Online Education Interim Director Keith Williams discussed various short and long-term development plans regarding the future of the UC Online Education program during a teleconference last Wednesday.
Launched Spring 2012, the online initiative has offered six online undergraduate classes throughout the UC system, with each faculty-created class undergoing rigorous evaluations by university officials in efforts to ensure quality.
According to Williams, the program has proven successful as there are now 14 courses that have been implemented, with a total of 1,700 students. Williams added that the program attempts to create a system for online education that gives professors the freedom to engage the students in the best way possible.
“We are trying to create a really interactive learning environment that will let faculty teach in ways they think are most effective for the type of course that they’re doing,” Williams said.
According to Williams, one example of an online course that offers such a creative approach is “Dance: Cultures and Contexts,” offered this Fall at UC Riverside, as the class includes short videos featuring the professor’s lectures as well as weekly online discussion sections with a graduate student.
Williams said the university system considers the program to be successful since preliminary studies were conducted at the end of Spring Quarter.
“Overall, people felt that they had the equivalent experience to what they got on the ground,” Williams said. “70 percent of the students said they would
recommend this course to another student [and] 70 percent said they would take another course online.”
According to an update letter released by UC Online, 19 more classes will be made available in the next nine months. Beginning in July, the courses will begin opening up to non-UC students in exchange for transfer credits. The course fees from non-UC students will go toward the advancement of the internet program as well as the departments in which the classes are listed.