Student Senator Brian Sun concerned students may drop UO’s ersatz remote classes, take real on-line classes at other univs.

Posted with permission:

Dear Senate President Skowron, Provost Philips and the Academic Council,
     My name is Brian Sun. I am a student senator on the University Senate. I hope everyone is staying healthy at this crazy time.
     We had lots of meaningful conversation regarding the continuity of this university in the next term during yesterday’s senate meeting. I am glad to hear that everyone is trying to put students at the center of this conversation.
     However, we are seeing many senators raising concerns about the ability of faculty to teach their course remotely. It is a totally valid point that the new remote teaching will create obstacles for instructors to teach.
     But by saying it is “acceptable” to teach in a lower quality is not something we as students want. We need to keep in mind that students pay a tremendous amount of tuition to go to this university to get a quality education. Even it is remote teaching, there are still expectation from students for the quality of classes.
     If our courses are all moved to remote teaching during the entire spring term, why would students take a low quality “online” class here, instead to take online classes at a professional online education institution at a lower cost?
     I appreciate the hard work of everyone in the academic council and Office of the Provost and all faculties who is working hard to provided students with quality education here. Please take into consideration of student expectations in the changing operation.
Brian Sun
ASUO Senate Seat 18
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10 Responses to Student Senator Brian Sun concerned students may drop UO’s ersatz remote classes, take real on-line classes at other univs.

  1. Dog says:

    I did extensive ON line classes over the Period 1998-2015 – I had a lot of students from other universities in the early part of this period doing precisely what the student senator suggested. However, appropriate transfer of credits proved to be inordinately difficult in many cases, and over a short period of time, that particular student population dissipated.

  2. Dumpster Fire says:

    “why would students take a low quality “online” class here, instead to take online classes at a professional online education institution at a lower cost?”

    Because the online class at the “professional online education institution” might actually be garbage and given what I know about the faculty at the UO, the remote teaching efforts will not be “low quality”. Come on student senator.

    • CSN says:

      Students have been concerned about finances — I’ve fielded questions basically saying “if we’re not able to come to class or stay in the dorms, why should we have to pay for those things?”

  3. Get Real says:

    Given UO’s short-sightedness regarding investment in online education, Sen. Sun is not being critical of the professor; rather, the criticism is with Johnson Hall’s incapacity to embrace the platform years ago to enable highly-credentialed professors to reconfigure content (with help from online learning staff) into a conducive online learning environment. Certainly, some courses are more difficult than others to retrofit… for example, ensemble instruction in the arts and humanities and lab time in the sciences. Had Johnson Hall been proactive instead of insisting in-person learning was the “true” differentiating Oregon ed experience, we also could have avoided the dips in enrollment when travel bans went into place.

    I’d like to see continued advocacy for a robust online learning platform. Last time I checked, online learning didn’t require new dorms with deferred maintenance. Rather, it requires strategic thinking around new learning methodologies supported by the administration. If budget and tuition stability requires increased enrollment, particularly from out-of-area students, this critical investment is well worth the support.

    • charlie says:

      Problem for the flagship is that premier unis placed entire courses, taught by their best profs, on line for free for many years. Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, etc, without cost. The only thing is, of course, you can’t get credits, but that’s changing. Point is, if I’m someone looking to take on line content, would I look to UC Berkeley, or UO?

      • uomatters says:

        Hi quality on-line courses require lots of faculty time to run – not just set up. Lots of interaction with students, just not face to face. They’re not MOOCs. Berkeley is not going to double it’s on-line capacity in 2 weeks. Nor is OSU, for that matter. I think UO’s “remote” plan is going to be the least bad option for most of our students. The faculty I know are certainly working hard to try and do that, and the level of support from the OA’s and Deans is ramping up quickly.

      • Fishwrapper says:

        But, wait — I heard that the flagship’s online campus, or “Ecampus” was ranked fifth in the nation

  4. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    If the remote classes are not held, with the students paying tuition, the university will not be able to pay us, and will soon be bankrupt. Under the circumstances, I think UO is doing pretty well, the best it can for everyone concerned. If the student senstor has constructive suggestions, by all means let’s hear.

  5. anon and on and on says:

    A variety of people at extension and in the various schools and colleges have long pushed for UO to have a unified online education unit, something that is still nascent and seems to be moving glacially. We have a fabulous model just up the road in Corvallis, at OSU, which is one of the truly great distance-learning institutions in the country.

    Instead, it seems like we’ve dithered for the last 10-12 years, and as a result we don’t have a decent infrastructure and body of courses optimized for online enrollment. I’ve only briefly talked with colleagues in Corvallis in the last few weeks, but I suspect somehow that they’re going to leverage that well in this crisis. At the very least, that is who we’ll lose a lot of credits to in-state. It’s too late to do anything about the situation other than try the best we can, and hope we come out of it in good enough shape to change, perhaps, our attitude towards empowering a rigorous and forward-thinking distance education division or school within UO. We have many of the people we will need already – we just need to make it a priority. Let faculty teach, say, one online course each year in-load (or incentivize their creation), provide strong guidance and training, and thereby really promote robust offerings from departments that have been reluctant to create them,

  6. Oldtimer says:

    We need not even look to other schools for good models for online courses. Several departments on our campus have decades of experience and high quality offerings, my own department among them. OSU has done an excellent job in ramping up their scale of offerings, and some are excellent. Even so, others are thrown together, with little structure or proctored testing, at least that is my impression from the online courses I have seen via students taking them.

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