District probes viability of online courses


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Earlier this year, Governor Jerry Brown, pushed for more online classes in order to speedup students college education amidst decreasing educational spending cuts by the state government.

In response, colleges throughout the state, even four year colleges like the University of California, have taken action to increase the number of students who take online classes through marketing them and making them more available for students.

In more recent news, Skyline College, CSM, Canada College and the Board of Trustee have been looking into developing online classes in the future, ensuring that students have the resources available to be successful and move on with their education.

In a Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 17, SMCCD Chancellor Galatolo mentioned that he would like to see a small pilot program with Udacity, similar to San Jose State University own online classes program with Udacity.

Udacity is a startup company founded by Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens, and Mike Sokolsky.

The company aims to reinvent education for the 21st century, allowing students to be fluent in new technology and to always learn throughout their life.

President of the District Academic Senate Diana Bennett said during the meeting that the Academic Senate had met with Udacity and the Distance Education Advisory Committee to talk with them, additional meetings have been planned for the future.

However, Trustee Richard Holober raised concerns during the meeting that Udacity was still an unproven enterprise that had yet to deliver any students and that the district should consider working with another provider who can work with them to provide online classes for students at Skyline College and her sister colleges.

Board of Trustees President Dave Mandelkern also mentioned during the meeting that while he supports innovation, especially in student education, he cautioned that there is more to an online class then just a flashy provider.

The district will move forward with Udacity for the pilot program while at the same time exploring other potential partners whom they can work with.

This article has been updated to fix an mistake on when the meeting took place, it did not take place on Mar.17 but Feb.17. 3/15/2013 11:26 p.m.