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Richard Pan Pushes to Improve Online Education at CSUs

Assembly Member Richard Pan of Sacramento recently made headlines for authoring a bill that would increase access to data that could improve online education courses across the state of California. 

Authored by Pan, Assembly Bill 46 would require providers of online courses to share information about student achievements in online courses with the California State University (CSU) Academic Senate, the body that represents faculty from the 23 CSU campuses.

Pan authored the legislation after being made aware that the CSU faculty group lacked sufficient access to data from other online education programs, like course enrollment and completion rates, grades, student demographics and the use of university resources such as libraries.

“Instructors didn’t have an easy time getting access to data,” Cay Horstmann, a professor who taught the SJSU Plus introduction to programming course during the summer of 2013, said. “It seemed more of a technical issue than Udacity’s unwillingness to provide it, because their platform hadn’t really been designed to run courses for universities.”

“If we’re going to talk about online education, we need to be sure the faculty have the information they need to engage the students...We’re not asking for a whole lot. What we can’t do is have an organization say, ‘Well, we don’t want to share this information with you,’” Pan adds. 

The bill, which bypassed the Senate Appropriations Committee because it was found to have a low cost, could be voted on in the Senate as early as Wednesday.

Read the full article on the Merced Sun-Star.