Forum discusses logistics of online education

At a forum hosted by the College of Letters and Science Wednesday on the “Virtual University,” panelists discussed the logistics behind creating more online classes and how online classes could generate needed revenue for the University of California.

Christopher Edley, Jr., dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law and special adviser to the UC President Mark Yudof, said in a presentation that if an online course is offered four times a year and the enrollment for the class is 100 students, the course could generate up to $163,000 for the educating faculty and its department.

Edley said the online education would be mainly catered to students who have the grades from community colleges but do not necessarily have the money and time to attend the University of California.

Although panelists mainly discussed the logistics and proponents to online education, the open forum also elicited dissenting comments about translating the university’s academic excellence to a virtual domain.

Edley addressed these comments by saying that upholding academic excellence in a virtual domain will have to be monitored by those in the Academic Senate.

Currently, the program is in the process of identifying about 25 high enrollment classes to be offered online, including campus professor of public policy Robert Reich’s popular course “Wealth and Poverty.”