Spartan Daily: General Ed Classes Online? Maybe Soon at SJSU

Some general education classes could head online for 1,000 SJSU students

Published by Spartan Daily May 1, 2012.

By Angelisa Ross

Recent meetings with the Provost Ellen Junn have sparked discussions that some general education classes may soon be offered online.

“What we have proposed is an innovative course on global challenges that will be offered in hybrid mode, partly online and partly in a large lecture in an auditorium with tutoring groups and online discussion groups to support it,” said Dennis Jaehne, associate vice president of undergraduate studies.

“I would love it,” said Yesenia Solis, a junior interior design major. “I feel like general education courses take away from focusing on your careers. They have nothing to do with it. They feel like two different entities.”

There has been discussion of creating general education classes online in an effort to save the school approximately $1 million per semester.

At an Associated Students’ board meeting on April 25 Jaehne said there might be a pilot class that will be offered in the fall.

Students’ time in the classroom would be utilized if they had the opportunity to hear lectures or learn about facts prior to entering class, Jaehne said.

“Most of the research that we do — the studies that look at years worth of data from the whole country seem to indicate that if it’s a hybrid class with part of it’s online and part of it’s in the classroom using engaged learning techniques,” Jaehne said. “The students do better in those hybrids.”

This idea would allow students to have proactive discussion and profound engagements, according to Jaehne.

“For the most part, I think we as a campus would prefer models that are demonstrated to be effective,” she said.

In the third provost forum last Thursday, Junn discussed the school’s budget and the academic affairs instructional budget was explained.

Junn stressed that to prevent the CSU from receiving more budget cuts, the university should think of effective ways to cut back.

“I need you,” she said. “I desperately need you because we’re all in this together.”

She said there are 10 principles in which we as a school can improve such as safety, quality of programs and enrollment management.

According to the provost forum, the school needs to cut about $16.5 million next year.

Junn asked the audience to think outside the box to create new ways to save the school money.

“I want you to stop thinking about the way we’ve always done things because we can not do those,” Junn said. “We are no longer funded to do those. So what are we doing to think outside of the box?”

Saving the school money by offering the global challenges course online was not an idea proposed in the forum.

The possibility that a pilot global challenges class will be offered, that would fulfill one general education requirement, was discussed during the A.S. board meeting.

Around 1,000 freshmen and transfer students will have the option to take the class.

The possible pilot class would feature live web streaming with a professor, which would frame learning objectives regarding global challenges.