Lawmakers Hope to Revolutionize Education in California with Online Proposals

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SACRAMENTO –

Thirty-seven million dollars? That’s roughly how much the latest California Powerball jackpot started at.

But to put it in perspective, it’s how much Governor Jerry Brown has set aside for state colleges to offer online courses.

Both Senate President Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), and State Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego), hope California adopts a statewide system of faculty-approved online courses for credit.

Block wants CSU, UC or California community college students who aren’t able to get into classes at their school to be able to find an open virtual seat in another college, as long as that particular class was approved by a faculty panel. (His bill was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee last week, but he hopes to take action on the proposal through the state budget.)

During a Google+ hangout with FOX40 and viewers recently, Block said his bill will, “… speed up student time to graduation, which means less tuition in long run, which means they’re getting out to the workforce earlier.”

Viewers in FOX40’s Google+ hangout with Block supported his proposal. Viewer Michael Tucker sees colleges rapidly embracing the web in future years. He says, “I don’t see universities and colleges being in the same structure they are.”

Block’s proposal goes hand-in-hand with Steinberg’s online bill, which proposes 50 online college courses for credit. Both senators want to increase access to education while keeping quality high. This means cost and class sizes stay the same.

The President of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges,┬áMichelle Pilati, has taught online class since 2000 and sees issues in both proposals. She says, “There’s a lack of understanding of our curriculum processes. both bills have language in there as if you’re going to have a course and everyone should accept it.”

She says no senate-appointed faculty has the expertise to determine whether one course fills all the necessary requirements for other schools. But she says she’s pleased the legislature is interested in online courses.

Watch the entire Google+ interview with Block here.

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