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UCSB Announces First Online-Only Courses for Summer Session

The university will offer four classes, with registration opening April 9

For the first time, UCSB 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.

“Many courses on campus are impacted, so they become bottlenecks, which slows down the time to graduation,” said Cindy Bumgarner, assistant dean of Summer Sessions. “Also, due to the difficulty of rising prices, students often need to go home for the summer and work. 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, and move through school faster, in a way that makes sense for them.”

The venture focuses “on our programs and what our students need. 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 8, taught by Catherine Gautier-Downes) is available only during Session A, to be held June 25-Aug. 3. Three online courses are available during the Aug. 6-Sept. 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 Raise 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,” Bumgarner said. “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 April 9-17 and April 19-28. Incoming freshmen, transfer students and other UC students can register April 22-28. A third pass of registration appointments, available to all UC and non-UC (visiting) students, begins May 1.

Click here for more information about the summer session.

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