Reports: Texas college students may soon be required to take online courses
8/8/2010The Houston Chronicle reports that a Texas higher-education panel has recommended that students be required to complete at least 10% of their degrees outside the classroom, through options like online courses. This suggestion is one of several ideas prepared by a 20-member panel tasked by Governor Rick Perry with creating cost-savings recommendations for Texas higher education. The committee, made up of business and education leaders, is expected to present a final report to the governor by November 1, 2010.
The Houston Chronicle continues that the report’s suggestions are aimed at forcing lawmakers, institutions and students to focus on degree completion while making smarter use of space and money. Online options are seen as a viable and a necessary way to bring down education costs, along with other panel recommendations that include encouraging students finish college in four years, more internships, placement exams for credit, and dual-credit classes. These recommendations would apply to all undergraduates at public institutions in Texas.
The Chronicle of Higher Education adds that Texas hopes to add 630,000 more students by 2015 under a plan called "Closing the Gaps" to improve the state's higher-education performance. The plan requires using buildings more efficiently and making better use of technology, said David W. Gardner, deputy commissioner for academic planning and policy for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The recommendation to move towards online courses represents a way to serve “Closing the Gaps” by minimizing construction needs and maximizing technology use.
Continuing & Innovative Education (CIE) offers online college credit courses through University Extension (UEX). Currently enrolled students at The University of Texas at Austin may take an online course from UEX with their dean’s approval as a complement to their on-campus experience. These students might use an online class to solve a schedule conflict or to take a course that is not offered that semester. Online courses supplement the regular course offerings and help students progress to graduation.
UEX is currently holding a contest giving students an opportunity to win free enrollment to a UEX course. Details are found on UEX’s Facebook page.