Is credit due?

Because it’s difficult to judge the quality of online courses or whether the student actually took the test, the University of California is limiting credit for online classes, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Some Internet classes allow students to take tests at home alone, where no one can see if they’re using books or notes — or even whether the student taking the test is the one enrolled in the class. Others offer the courses online but require students to appear for proctored exams where officials check ID.

. . . How are high school registrars and college admissions officials to know which online classes deserve academic credit and which are a joke?

Enrollment in online classes by K-12 students has quadrupled since 2003, according to a UC report.

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  1. Yes. These are MAJOR arguments the faculty on my campus have presented against online classes. Unfortunately there are individuals who see these courses as “cash cows” – you can “stuff” 100 students or more into a section and not pay the prof any extra. When we bring up the cheating issue, we get parroted some statistic (never with any attribution) that 80% of students in “conventional” classes claim to cheat. (And they never tell us whether that 80% is “cheated once and got nailed by the prof” or if they cheated repeatedly).

    I’m a biologist. How, pray tell, do you teach lab classes – especially field labs – online?

    Philosophically, I would argue that the upcoming generation needs MORE “realspace” time with people, not less. It’s harder to “build citizens” when your only contact with them is through the ethereal medium of a screen and typing.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    What are ed schools teaching about online teaching?

  3. Wayne Martin says:

    This is an exciting development in the evolution of distance learning. Certainly getting enough enrollment to be noticed is important for the validation of the technology.

    > How do you teach a biology lab on-line?

    Here’s a few places to start:

    Biology Labs On-line:

  4. well, you could have a *test*, see, and that test would answer the question of what you learned.

    but I guess that would be too much for the UC, which doesn’t even want the SAT used as a diagnostic test of preparedness.

    In all seriousness, you simply give an entrance exam to the kids, or the final exam from the UC equivalent brick-n-mortar course, and see how the students do. Done.

    But it’s ironic that the UC is confused about this. They authorize dozens of courses to be taken online or at local community colleges every year to satisfy UC reqs–how did they ever judge the value? Is the answer that they didn’t?

    They do this because they want to limit the number of students they have to handle on campus.