Information about a wide-ranging set of initiatives to improve student success while reducing time to degree through the use of technology was shared with California State University Trustees today at their September board meeting. Some initiatives are currently in place, while others will be implemented soon with the potential of benefitting thousands of students in the 2013-14 academic year and beyond.
“California State University faculty members are on the cutting edge of incorporating technology into curriculum to improve student success. By providing concurrent enrollment and sharing best practices, Cal State can leverage our outstanding faculty across the system to increase access and improve degree completion for students,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. “As ongoing initiatives that are critical to the University mission, we will continue to evaluate the results of these efforts to enhance their outcomes, and to ensure we are making the best use of the resources we have available.”
For 2013-14, the CSU committed $10 million to use technology to alleviate curricular bottlenecks and facilitate degree completion. Among those initiatives:
Intrasystem Concurrent Enrollment
This summer, the CSU launched a system-wide concurrent enrollment initiative to provide full-time students enrolled at any campus with access to fully online courses offered at other CSU campuses. Credit earned at the CSU campus offering the online course is automatically reported to the home campus and included on student transcripts. For the fall, there were 33 fully online courses available for concurrent enrollment including courses in geography, statistics and life science, and nearly 200 students had enrolled in the first phase with more enrolling as campuses on the quarter system begin the academic year. Additionally, the CSU is looking to increase the number of offerings of fully online concurrent enrollment courses that have demonstrated high levels of student success for the upcoming spring term and continues to work with California Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) on their efforts to support this important work.
Course Redesign Workshops (eAcademies)
Beginning in June, CSU campuses have hosted six faculty workshops (eAcademies) focusing on the redesign of bottleneck courses and successfully incorporating technology into curriculum to improve student success. Courses reviewed during the eAcademies were engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics, critical thinking and statistics. Nearly 150 faculty members from campuses across the system participated in the eAcademies to learn to incorporate these best practices into their own courses as early as spring 2014. An additional eAcademy, focusing on biology, is scheduled for this fall.
The CSU will address bottlenecks that arise from limited facilities through a collection of virtual STEM labs that will be integrated into hybrid lab courses (courses that include traditional face-to-face instruction as well as online learning). These high-demand hybrid lab courses, which fulfill General Education course requirements, will free up the limited lab space for upper division coursework. This new solution expands student access to sections of lab sciences without compromising the learning traditionally associated with conventional wet labs. The CSU Chancellor’s Office will continue to leverage the CSU-MERLOT project to provide free access to high-quality virtual labs.
Over the next four years, all CSU campuses will use technology solutions to streamline advisement, registration and academic planning for undergraduate students resulting in more defined curriculum pathways to track progress toward a degree and increase degree completion rates.
About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 437,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. The CSU awards over 96,000 degrees annually and since its creation in 1961 has conferred nearly 2.8 million.