Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Online Education

San Francisco Chronicle in their article UC online degree proposal rattles academics reported that "University of California wants to jump into online education for undergraduates, hoping to become the nation's first top-tier research institution to offer a bachelor's degree over the Internet comparable in quality to its prestigious campus program."

"'We want to do a highly selective, fully online, credit-bearing program on a large scale - and that has not been done,' said UC Berkeley law school Dean Christopher Edley, who is leading the effort."

This proposal is controversial not only in doubt of the validity of the claim that by teaching online, it will save money, more important, many people, students and faculty included, don't believe that face-to-face interaction is dispensable, even for the courses lab hours are not needed.

At this very moment, a minor academic scandal is raging in China. A former Microsoft executive turned entrepreneur, Mr TANG Jun, was confronted with the unpleasant fact that his doctorate degree in Electronic Engineering was issued by an uncredited Pacific Western University ("PWU"), which was established in 1988 and closed in 2006.

In 1994, Louisiana's Board of Regents closed PWU's office in that state, because PWU gave theses too many credits, had too few lecturers and did not provide enough courses, amongst other reasons.

One has to shudder to think that the glorious Cal will be mentioned in a single sentence of other uncredited diploma factories.

Even with better monitoring and administration from the universities, what can they do to prevent someone else other then the enrolled students "take" and courses and exams? Are we to dispatch monitors to the remotest part of the world to guarantee that the online education is just as good as they sit in the classrooms with stimulating discussions with peers and professors?

Interaction by Matthew Felix Sun on Flickr


According to Wikipedia,

Pacific Western University in Hawaii and Pacific Western University in California were once owned and operated by the same party. According to Inside Higher Ed, the association ended in 2004 when Pacific Western University in California) was sold and began operating under new ownership, administration, and faculty.

Pacific Western University in California has subsequently changed its name to California Miramar University. On June 6, 2009, California Miramar University received accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council.

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