There has been considerable buzz in recent weeks about the potential for online education to play a role in addressing some of the growing challenges facing California’s higher education system. Bay Area Council member San Jose State University inked a deal with a Silicon Valley start-up company for a pilot project to offer three remedial and introductory courses online. Governor Jerry Brown during a recent meeting with the Bay Area Council Board of Directors also highlighted his strong interest in aggressively pursuing online education and played an instrumental role in making the SJSU project happen. Such courses may provide cost savings over traditional classes. With double-digit tuition increases in recent years and declining state support for public universities and colleges, keeping higher education affordable for students has become a major issue. Online courses may also hold promise in taking on the increasing burden of providing heavily subscribed remedial and introductory course work. Still, many questions remain about the quality, cost and effectiveness of online classes, high drop-out rates and maintaining teacher-student relationship. Bay Area Council members have made higher education one of our focus priorities and we invite you to engage with us in this important work. To participate in our higher education policy work, please contact Linda Galliher.

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