Our View: Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal is vague

Jay Jenkins

Staff

Gov. Jerry Brown has unveiled his budget proposal, and while it includes more money for the Cal State University system, it also pushes for more technology to be integrated with education.

According to Brown’s budget proposal, $10 million of the allocated $2.2 billion to the CSU should be spent on opening up bottleneck courses through the use of technology.

However, the word “technology” is pretty vague. Does Brown want the CSU to focus more on its new Cal State Online degree completion program? Does he want more online tools available for students? Or is it a mixture of both?

It’s hard not to notice the desire for the Cal State Online program to be successful.

An online degree is more cost efficient for both the CSU and the student. Students are not paying for the physical classroom; they are just paying for the content and the time of a professor. Also, students get to complete their degree online in the comfort of their own home.

But, even though online courses may be more cost efficient for everyone, is it the best way for a student of the CSU to get an education?

We at the Daily 49er do not believe the educational value of a course taught in a classroom fully translates to an online class.

Yes, we do have the technology to make online education possible. Lectures can be done through Skype, and professors can answer questions through email. However, there is no way to match the attention a student receives through physical interaction with their professors in the classroom or during office hours compared to online.

Classes are impacted and tough to come by. Bottleneck courses seem to be a continuing problem, and they do need to be addressed. Making most, if not all lower-division and general education courses available online for students may be a solution.

Keeping students coming to their upper-division courses on campus, which are more in-depth and require more student involvement and interaction, would be a good way to help balance and curve the impacted courses problem. It creates a balance where students still need to be on campus for their most important classes but can still graduate on time.

We understand that the CSU is trying to keep up with the times. More and more online degrees are popping up each day. If the CSU does not have an online degree completion program, it is hard to be competitive. But, asking for us to spend more money on “technology” is not the best allocation of our funds right now.

We shouldn’t ignore technology and new ways to earn a degree, but the brick and mortar courses that form the foundation of our education should draw more of our financial focus.

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