University of California System Bans Fully Online Undergraduate Degrees!


Laptop with broken screen


Dear Commons Community,

The University of California system has never had any fully online undergraduate degree programs at any of its 10 campuses. But a loophole existed in which a student or department could have crafted—either inadvertently or intentionally—a fully online undergraduate degree through individually approved online courses. 

That loophole was closed this month when the University of California Academic Senate approved Senate Regulations 610 and 630, which instituted an undergraduate residency requirement. Students must now earn a minimum of six course credits per quarter (or semester) for three quarters (or two semesters) in courses where at least half of the instruction is in person on a UC campus, according to the Senate document. This corresponds with one out of the four undergraduate years, according to Melanie Cocco, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at UC Irvine.  The UC Academic Senate exercises direct control over academic matters of central importance to the university, including determining academic policy and setting degree requirements, according to the UC websiteInside Education has an excellent review of this story that can be found here.

I was also glad to see my colleague, Jeff Seaman, quoted in the Inside Education article.  He has done as much research on faculty attitudes to online learning as anyone.


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