The University of California's interest in offering an online degree is opening a new chapter in the debate over online education, reports. Many professors question whether the state's premier university system should tread so deeply into cyberspace, where other prestigious universities have failed—and where some less selective colleges have thrived. The professors are concerned that a virtual UC will waste limited resources, compromise the university's academic reputation, and divert it from its primary mission of educating California's top-performing students. The plan's creator—Christopher Edley, dean of UC Berkeley's law school—says the opposite is true. He contends UC can maintain its...

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    staff and wire services reports