UC faculty blasts bill to expand online courses

SAN FRANCISCO - University of California faculty members are criticizing a state lawmaker's proposal to allow public college students to earn degree credit for online courses from outside education providers.

In an open letter, the leaders of the UC Academic Senate say legislation introduced last week by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg "raises grave concerns."

Steinberg's bill would allow students who can't get into overcrowded classes at their home campus to instead take similar courses from outside institutions, including private providers of "massive open online courses" or MOOCs.

But UC Academic Chair Robert Powell says the UC faculty will not "shirk its responsibility to our students by ceding authority over courses to any outside agency."

Powell said Tuesday he plans to meet with Steinberg and UC administrators this week to discuss the legislation.

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