Public Universities Expand Web Education Offerings

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Budget cutbacks to state universities appear to be speeding ongoing efforts to increase online education as resources shrink and timely access to prerequisite classes becomes more difficult.

Whether taking online course material from the comfort of home, or as an enhancement to a traditional class, online learning allows students to take courses that may be harder to find or get into, because of faculty reductions and reduced course availability.

Educators are increasingly looking to online courses as a way to handle more students with less funding.

The development of hybrid online courses, in collaboration with faculty in recent years, has helped more students move past "bottleneck courses" - classes in which there aren't enough faculty to handle large numbers of students, Cal Poly Pomona President Michael Ortiz said.

Students need the courses to move forward on degree work, but often find them hard to get into, or scheduled just a few times a year.

"Bottleneck courses keep students from moving into their next level of coursework," Ortiz said. "One of the things we've probably benefitted from this crisis is looking at ways to deliver courses to individuals on a broader scale that utilizes technology, as opposed to face to face, and creating more web-based online hybrid courses."

Faculty at Cal Poly Pomona have been using online material in conjunction with traditional curriculum for more than a decade. It was in spring



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