March 20, 2012
UCSB Summer Sessions Announces First Online-Only Courses
Santa Barbara, Calif. For the first time, UC Santa Barbara students can take summer classes without actually spending the season in Santa Barbara. The Office of Summer Sessions has just announced four fully online courses for summer 2012 an entirely new effort for the program.
The inaugural endeavor stems from a 2011 pilot project that sought to ameliorate the scheduling conflicts that historically precluded some students from taking UCSB summer courses plus pave the way for participation not just from off-site, but also from out of town. Online classes allow students to enroll in courses whose bricks-and-mortar sections may be full.
"Due to the difficulty of rising prices, students often need to go home for the summer and work," explained Cindy Bumgarner, assistant dean of instruction and technology for summer sessions. "This gives them the opportunity to have quality courses from UCSB faculty, with a focus that what we offer online matches the level of excellence you expect from a UCSB course. And it gives them the opportunity to do that from home in a way that makes sense for them."
The venture focuses "on our programs and what our students need," said Bumgarner. "It's a local idea that matches the intention of UCSB and who we are."
After putting out a call for course proposals from UCSB faculty, the program ultimately ended up with four all-online offerings. Living with Global Warming (GEOG W 8, taught by Catherine Gautier-Downes) is available only during Session A, to be held June 25August 3. Three online courses are available during the August 6September 14 Session B: Biochemistry Lecture (CHEM W 142A, with Kalju Kahn); General Biochemistry (MCDB W 108A, with Duane Sears); and Probability and Statistics I (PSTAT W 120A, with Drew Carter and Raisa Feldman).
"Some of these faculty saw a need in their department, perhaps a backlog in a particular course. And some are simply interested in online learning, how students learn and how technology influences the way students are learning," said Bumgarner. "All of them are very focused on making sure there is a lot of student engagement, that their presence is very real, and very felt, and that they're using technology to the best of their ability to improve the learning process for students."
The pilot project was designed to facilitate the development of online courses particularly suited to UCSB curriculum, vetted by the UCSB Academic Senate, and assessed by UCSB faculty and staff. It was also meant to enable the development of campus policy in conjunction with campus experience of developing and teaching online courses. Faculty and staff collaborated to design the courses with strict attention to research-proven best practices in online instruction.
For continuing UCSB students, summer session registration runs from April 9 through April 17, and from April 19 through April 28. Incoming freshmen, transfer students, and other UC students can register from April 22 through April 28. A third pass of registration appointments, available to all UC and non-UC (visiting) students, begins May 1.
For more information about summer session, go to http://www.summer.ucsb.edu/.