Students at seven UC campuses now can enroll in online courses offered at campuses other than their own through a pilot project launched this week.
Enrollment is open through January for winter quarter and spring semester on a new website that — for the first time — enables students at UC Merced, for example, to take an online statistics course from UC Berkeley and UCLA students to enroll in a psych course offered at UC Irvine.
The goal is to give students more enrollment options for high-demand courses that fill quickly and can be subject to long waitlists. Available courses include introductory classes in subjects such as statistics and pre-calculus, along with a few more specialized offerings, including American cyber cultures and global climate change.
All are taught by UC faculty and earn the same UC credit as face-to-face classes and are part of students' regular tuition.
"For the first time, students can easily find out about online courses being offered on their own campus and other campuses, making it easier for them to enroll in the classes they need and meet their academic goals," said UC systemwide Provost Aimée Dorr.
The pilot project marks the first step toward making it easier for UC campuses to share data and instructional costs in a way that fosters cross-campus enrollment. Until now, cross-campus enrollment has been a complex and time-consuming process. The new website will simplify the process.
The site is also part of an effort, launched earlier this year, to expand the number of credit-bearing online courses available to UC undergraduates. The Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI) is an effort that uses $10 million allocated to UC by the state to use online education to expand access to high-demand classes and help undergraduate students complete their degrees in a timely manner
"This initiative lets us take advantage of the most innovative things happening in online education on the UC campuses and make them more broadly accessible to students across the system," Dorr said.
In its pilot stage, the cross-campus enrollment site is open to undergraduates at seven UC campuses. UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara are resolving logistical issues and will be added to the program once those are resolved. For now, students at those campuses can peruse online offerings and use the traditional cross-campus enrollment process if they wish to enroll in any of them.
University officials hope to use the pilot program as an opportunity to address broader policy and logistical questions about how best to share student data across campus technology platforms and to allocate instructional costs.
"This process will show us where the issues are and how to begin addressing them, so that we can make cross-campus enrollment available on a larger scale," said William Jacob, chair of the UC systemwide Academic Senate.
In addition to expanding access to existing online classes, ILTI will also fund the development of new courses. Program officials have identified the first 18 courses to be developed through the program, selected from proposals submitted by faculty across the system. A second round of course proposals currently is being evaluated. The proposals include courses in high-demand subjects with submissions from highly sought-after faculty and innovative collaborations between campuses.
"These are courses that students need, and some are interesting courses that they won't find on their own campus," said Jacob.