Michael and I have written about California’s efforts to leverage online education to address the challenge of students having access to needed courses, but it would help to hear what students have to say. Towards that end, I am sharing a student newspaper article about Cal State’s new online concurrent enrollment program. The student is my daughter, Hillary Hill, who is in her third year at Sonoma State University. You can find the original article here.
As a student attending a school that is part of the California State University system, specifically Sonoma State University, I know the dread and frustration associated with registering for classes.
In some ways, it seems like we are being set up to fail; we have a 16 unit cap, registration times get mixed up, and it seems like every class you need is full after five minutes.
This especially applies to general education, or GE, classes. It makes sense, as everyone has to fill the same GE requirements, and there can only be so many different classes offered. However, wouldn’t you like to be fully informed about any possible way to make filling those GE requirements easier and faster? I know that I would.
That is why I was thrilled to learn about a new program that would make completing these classes easier. My dad works in the online higher education field and sent me a link in late July to a website for the California State University Intrasystem Concurrent Enrollment program.
It is a new program that allows students currently enrolled at a CSU campus to take fully online GE classes administered at other CSU campuses. The only requirement is that students at schools on the semester system take classes from campuses that are also on the semester system and likewise for quarter system campuses.
The classes are automatically transferred to your home campus, there are both upper division and lower division courses, and they all fulfill a GE area.
Sounds pretty perfect, right? I bet you’re wondering why you might not have heard of it. The answer to that lies with both the CSU system and our own campus.
It has been obvious for a while that the needs of the students far surpass the University’s ability to accommodate them.
Online classes eliminate the need to add more classroom time and don’t require a professor to be on campus each week to teach, so it seemed like untapped potential. The California State University system recognized this and joined other universities, such as the University of California campuses, in the endeavor to alleviate physical and financial burdens by hosting classes online.
The problem is that for the 2013-2014 school year, this was too little too late. The Intrasystem Concurrent Enrollment program was announced at the very end of July, mere weeks before we came back to school.
That’s not a lot of time to rearrange your schedule and figure out what classes would benefit you. That is the fault of the CSU system. It feels like the program was rushed to be put into action and wasn’t promoted nearly enough. It could really change the lives of CSU students, but no one really knows about it.
At Sonoma State, we had even less time to learn about this program. Part of the reason why not a lot of people at our school know about this is that we only received one email about it, and that email was sent about one week before classes started.
That’s right – one of the many emails that the University sends to all of it’s students, which you probably delete without much thought, contained all of the information about this program and how to enroll in it.
We get bombarded about who’s playing at the Green Music Center at least once a week, but we only got one unassuming email that could potentially save students time and money.
I feel that over the next few years the Intrasystem Concurrent Enrollment program can produce the “radical” changes that CSU spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp believes it can.
It’s a little too late for it to make any real difference this semester, but I encourage Sonoma State students to do research on it and be prepared to use it to your advantage in the coming semesters.
We have a lot working against us, but I believe if we’re proactive in bettering our futures, we will be successful.