All the PowerPoint slides and chat rooms in the world can’t replicate the power of an in-person learning experience, and it’s hard to see how a cyber UC degree would have the same status as a regular one. UC faculty members are skeptical now, but in the future, employers and graduate schools will be. Complaints about how a cyber college would dilute the university’s status and dumb down learning helped bring down a similar project at the University of Illinois after two years.

… [T]his endeavor could be profitable. There is also the possibility that it could be a disaster…

The editorialist reviews the growing research pointing to the distinct possibility that online learning sucks.

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4 Responses to “Editorial, San Francisco Chronicle”

  1. Bill Gleason Says:

    Berkeley has much to lose. I’ve got a post up ( http://bit.ly/9KKuDP ) about the source and destination of NSF fellowship recipients. These are the best and the brightest in science and engineering – including social science – and where they come from and go to is telling. Note that this post only covers public universities. Berkeley far outclasses any other public research university as far as fellowship recipients – 67 – and destination – 192. Closest competition in the recipients: Texas at 35. As a destination, the next school down the list, Michigan, clocks in at 74. Quite impressive performance for Berkeley.

    You can argue about university rankings, but the choices of 2000 high quality grad students-to-be is hard to blow off.

    Don’t mess with success?

  2. Brad Says:

    San Francisco Chronicle, 1995

    … All the emails and websites in the world can’t replicate the power of the in-person newspaper reading experience, and it’s hard to see how online reporting would have the same status as news written by a regular journalist. Chronicle journalists and readers are skeptical now, but in the future, everyone will be. Complaints about how online reading would destroy the reader’s pleasure and dumb down the news helped bring down a similar project at the New York Times after two years.

    … [T]his endeavor could be profitable. There is also the possibility that it could be a disaster…

    The editorialist reviews the growing research pointing to the distinct possibility that online reporting sucks.

  3. david foster Says:

    Why is it necessary for this to be either-or? Just as the traditional university uses a *combination* of book reading and in-person classroom experience, aren’t there classes that would benefit from a combination of books, on-line, and classroom?

  4. Bill Gleason Says:

    David,

    I don’t think this “combination” is what is being talked about at Berkeley:

    From SFGate ( http://bit.ly/cnpxwx )

    Now the 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.

    But a number of skeptical faculty members and graduate student instructors fear that a cyber UC would deflate the university’s five-star education into a fast-food equivalent, cheapening the brand. Similar complaints at the University of Illinois helped bring down that school’s ambitious Global Campus program last fall after just two years.

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