The University of California’s interest in offering an online degree is opening a new chapter in the debate over online education, TMCnet.com 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 rigor online and that doing so will allow the university to reach more of those stellar students at a lower cost. “How do we provide access to UC quality when the state is not there for us and the student demand is growing? We need an alternative to the bricks-and-mortar model, and this may be it,” said Edley, who is kicking off the online initiative by raising $6 million from private donors to cover the cost of a pilot project. The money will be used to produce 25 to 40 online courses in subjects such as calculus, chemistry, and freshman composition that typically draw huge enrollments at the lower-division level. Students at any of UC’s 10 campuses will be able to take the online classes, which might be available by spring. For the pilot, they’ll pay the same tuition as they would taking classes in person. Edley envisions steadily expanding UC’s web presence, but his plan has drawn some resistance by faculty members. Even professors who support a greater use of technology say the plan has flaws. Some like the idea of expanding online offerings but don’t think UC should offer an online degree. Others think online curriculum should be developed and controlled by academic departments on each campus, not by UC’s statewide bureaucracy……Read More
A judge has ruled that the University of California police illegally searched the camera of a photojournalist covering a protest outside the chancellor’s campus home, reports the Associated Press. Alameda County Superior Judge Yolanda Northridge on June 18 invalidated the search warrant used by UC Berkeley police to review photographs taken by David Morse at the Dec. 11 demonstration, according to the Oakland-based First Amendment Project, which represented him. The judge also ordered the university to return all copies of Morse’s photos, which campus police were using as part of their investigation into violence and vandalism the night of the protest. The First Amendment Project called the ruling a “huge and hard-fought victory for freedom of the press,” noting that the judge upheld a California law restricting police searches of journalists’ unpublished work. The UC Police Department has not had a chance to review the ruling, said Capt. Margo Bennett. But she said campus police wrote the affidavit for the search warrant in good faith, and a judge signed it. Morse was covering a demonstration outside Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s campus residence, during which campus police arrested eight people after dozens of protesters broke windows, lights, and planters outside of Birgeneau’s home. The protesters were demonstrating against state funding cuts that have led to course cutbacks, faculty furloughs, and sharp fee increases……Read More
An analytics system designed to manage risks and improve security has saved the University of California’s 10 campuses and five medical centers more than $160 million since 2006, officials announced March 25—helping the university system cut costs during an economic crisis that has crippled campus budgets.
The universities in the UC system have used IBM’s analytics software since 2006 to better aggregate massive amounts of data from the 228,000-student system and help administrators target wasteful spending and isolate dangerous areas on campus that result in injury or operation failure.
Using IBM’s Enterprise Risk Management System program, UC officials said decision makers at every campus and medical center have been able to mine the system’s database and spot trends, such as pushing and pulling injuries at medical centers.…Read More