The UC Office of the President recently launched a program allowing students at the UC system to take online classes offered by any of the main nine UC campuses.

Students will not be charged an extra fee and will receive the same number of credits for each course as they would for going to a class on campus. In addition, the program is a part of dual-campus enrollment and is expected to simplify the Dual Enrollment process.

According to Nicole Freeling , a UC Office of the President Communications Coordinator for Academic Affairs, the program is meant to help students enroll in courses that would otherwise be difficult to get into.

“The goal is to give students more enrollment options for high-demand courses that fill quickly and can be subject to long waitlists,” Freeling said. “Courses include introductory classes in subjects such as statistics and pre-calculus along with a few more specialized offerings, including American cyber cultures and global climate change.”

Students at seven of the UC campuses will have access to the site beginning this winter quarter, but UCSB and UC San Diego do not currently have access to the program due to logistical issues, according to Freeling.

Anthony Schmid, an Associate Registrar for systems operations and development, the UC Online Education program varies among schools, with each campus deciding whether or not they want their courses to be offered as a part of the UCOE program.

“As of right now, UCSB is offering a handful of online courses, but due to course size or for whatever reason, they have not chosen to offer any online courses through part of the UCOE program,” Schmid said.

According to Schmid, although UCSB is not currently participating in the program, the campus is working to make it available to its students in the future.

“There are certain criteria that would need to be met. It’s to be treated very much like Simultaneous Enrollment,” Schmid said. “Even right now, if a student wanted to take a course, for example at UCLA … they would be able to do so assuming certain criteria were met, and the same basic requirements are being used for the UCOE program.”

Kalyn Simms, third-year financial mathematics major, said the website could help students graduate on time.

“I felt like it was a good idea,” Simms said. “I changed my major really late into the school year, so I would probably use it during the summer when I don’t want to be on campus.”

However, the program holds different benefits and downfalls for students, depending on one’s major and general educational needs. Fourth-year art major Marina Woodbury said the program would not necessarily be useful to her since online classes do not give the same sort of experience as an in-person class.

“It seems kind of iffy that you would have to pay the same amount of money to take an online course and not have a professor,” she said.

Simms agreed and said despite her interest in online classes, she would generally prefer going to class on campus.

“You wouldn’t have that hands-on help that professors can give to you,” Simms said. “You can’t ask questions or discuss the topics with other students.”
A version of this article appeared on page 4 of December 5, 2013’s print edition of The Daily Nexus.