University of California Higher Education Tech Innovation

Primary Contact Name: 
DoQuyen Tran-Taylor
Funding Framework: 
Primary Challenge Area: 
Open Core Courseware
Course Redesign
Related Topics 

The Innovation: University of California Online Education (UCOE)

Institutional culture and acceptance cannot be underestimated in successful teaching and learning technology projects. The University of California’s experience illustrates this point. The project created high-enrollment, gateway undergraduate online courses for its nascent University of California Online Education (UCOE) program. The project provided faculty with a range of training and supports to design or redesign their online courses as they deemed appropriate. Academic peer review and an assessment component provided ongoing feedback to the faculty.

At the project’s inception, faculty expressed uncertainty about online learning’s role and value in the undergraduate curriculum. But continued conversations, education, and advocacy yielded a shift from opposition to acceptance. Faculty no longer focused on whether to include online learning in the curricula but rather on how best to integrate it and, importantly, how best to ensure academic quality.

Results: The project missed its target of creating 50 open online courses, but effective engagement strategies yielded the following:

  • UCOE collaborated with the UC Academic Senate to enact necessary policies for awarding credit for online undergraduate courses and establish process for faculty oversight and approval of online courses
  • UCOE assists UC schools, departments, and campuses to plan and implement online certificate programs.

UCOE is now an important voice in UC’s strategic adoption and use of technology in online learning.

The Grant Project:

The University of California received its NGLC grant in April 2011 under the “Open Core Courseware” challenge area.

UCOE developed ten online courses with NGLC funding, which comprised part of an initial program offering of 30 courses. Faculty developed the online courses with course design staff assistance. UCOE created an evaluation program to assess online instruction’s effectiveness, uses, and impacts.

Although UCOE intended to develop open courses, the courses are currently not available with an open license.

UCOE continues to help the UC community identify, develop, and implement online learning initiatives, and to develop its business model with the goal of becoming fiscally independent.

Partners: Nine UC campuses including Berkeley and UCLA