Yesterday’s State Senate Hearing on Online Higher Ed Bill

A California State Senate committee held a hearing yesterday on SB 520, a bill that in its original form mandated 50 online courses at UC, CSU, and the community colleges.  The bill is being pushed by Senate President Steinberg.

At the hearing, he offered amendments setting 50 as a goal rather than a mandate and allowing “public-public” partnerships as opposed to public-private.  The latter refers to deals with private MOOC companies.  Public-public would include, for example, cross-campus courses.  He also offered an amendment that no public monies would be used for the private side of any public-private partnerships. (It’s not exactly clear what the last would mean as a practical matter since money would come from both sides and whose was whose might be hard to define.)  After the hearing, the committee asked for written versions of the amendments rather than the oral descriptions offered at the hearing.  However, it was clear that the bill would eventually move ahead.

Since the amendments were new, the various witnesses did not have detailed comments on them.  Concerns were raised by UC Academic Senate Chair Robert Powell.  There was also testimony by the chair and vice chair of the UCLA Academic Senate.  Below is a link to a video of the hearing.  The portion on this bill runs from minute 9 to minute 136 (roughly).  The UC Academic Senate testimony is at minute 25 to 30 and the UCLA portion is at minute 45 to 47.  A short description of the hearing is at:
http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/04/25/california-senate-panel-mulls-course-outsource
The embedded version of the video of the hearing works poorly if at all.  To see the hearing, go directly to
http://calchannel.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=7&clip_id=1176 (and be patient while it loads).

An easier to use link to the Steinberg and Powell portions is at
http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2013/04/audio-of-steinberg-powell-on-higher-ed.html

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