FAQs Cal State Online

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1 FAQs Cal State Online 1. What is Cal State Online? Cal State Online is a coordinated systemwide collection of services that not only support the delivery of online programs from systemwide campuses but also supports students who chose to take advantage of such coursework. The services include training for faculty, support services for students, 24 hour help desk and marketing and outreach. 2. What is the goal of Cal State Online? The goal of Cal State Online is to increase student access to CSU campus programs by leveraging technologies as well as outreach and marketing of our programs and courses statewide. We also hope that the program will help the CSU develop selfsupport programs for students who would not otherwise be able to complete their degrees. Deployed military and their spouses and dependents are one example of potential students that can be served through Cal State Online. 3. What is the vision of Cal State Online? The Cal State Online vision is for CSU campuses to become the nation s leading providers of high quality flexible online academic programs and to serve student populations who might not otherwise be able to pursue a CSU education. Cal State Online will provide students with a comprehensive and expansive set of CSU online program offerings combined with world class student support and a variety of current and relevant innovative learning technologies. Cal State Online also seeks to support and market the best possible online education to help the state develop the well-trained workforce the state and nation needs for today and tomorrow. 4. How is Cal State Online different from what the campuses and system are doing today? Cal State Online will provide a centralized place where CSU eligible students can learn about and apply to completely online program options throughout the CSU system. Cal State Online is not an academic program but a system to support the development of more courses and programs, expanded options for students to have access to and complete their college degrees, and supports all 23 campuses and their faculty in marketing and outreach to potential students.

2 5. How is Cal State Online going to expand access to college for students? Cal State Online will expand access by leveraging technologies that enable geographically displaced students, students who cannot take advantage of on campus programs and students who prefer a completely virtual program full access to CSU degree programs. 6. Who can participate in Cal State Online? CSU campus eligible students can take advantage of Cal State Online if they want to do so. Under long-standing CSU policy, matriculated students in state support programs can take up to 24 units towards their degree through self-support programs and this initiative does not restrict this option. However, initially Cal State Online programs will focus on students who have completed some college and seek to complete their degrees as well as working adults interested in graduate programs. 7. What student groups will attend Cal State Online? Initially the focus will be on students who have stopped out of the CSU, and would otherwise find it difficult to return to campus in a traditional manner due to campus impaction, work and life necessities, or due to distance and geographic limitations. Cal State Online has the potential to Reconnect tens of thousands of students who have started at a CSU campus but have not been able to complete their degree due to their particular circumstances. However, Cal State Online will be open to students elsewhere across the state, and on a national and international level. 8. How did Cal State Online determine the necessities for these key audiences? Cal State Online will help current and future students by analyzing the State of California s economic and workforce development needs based on the 2025 targets for baccalaureate level graduates in California per the report, California s future workforce, will there be enough college graduates? conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California released earlier this year (Reed, D. (2012). Cal State Online is also working with campuses to identify impacted disciplines and programs that are important to meeting the state s workforce requirements so that alternative degree completion pathways can be developed by our faculty. 9. Several reports have noted that California needs at least 1 million more workers prepared beyond high school by our college and universities. How will Cal State Online help the state meet current and future workforce requirements? Cal State Online will help meet California s economic and workforce development needs by making baccalaureate and graduate degrees more accessible for students. Cal State Online will initially emphasize degree completion programs for students with many college credits but who stopped short of graduation. These CSU Reconnect programs are built around career pathways that are important to the future of California. Over time the goal is to offer a comprehensive set of degree and certificate program choices. 2

3 10. What kinds of programs will be offered through Cal State Online? Undergraduate? Graduate? Certificates? Others? Cal State Online will offer a broad array of undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as certificates. 11. Will students graduate with a degree from the CSU or a specific campus? Students will graduate from a specific CSU campus. Cal State Online facilitates access to campus programs and courses, supports faculty with program development and connects students to online options that are available to them throughout the system. 12. How will Cal State Online draw on the strengths of individual campuses? Cal State Online will support and assist with the delivery of new and existing online self-support degree programs from the 23 campuses as determined by those campuses. 13. How is Cal State Online different from Extended Education? Cal State Online provides support to and supplements existing and new selfsupport programs offered via the Colleges of Extended Learning. Cal State Online will offer coordinated systemwide services, outreach and marketing for online programs offered through the Extended Education Colleges as and when determined by the campus. 14. How will former CSU students who did not graduate from a campus, benefit from Cal State Online? CSU Reconnect programs will reach out to former CSU students and provide a CSU return opportunity. Students who are unable to return to a campus for traditional academic programs due to impaction or distance and geographic limitations giving them another pathway to achieve their degree objectives. 15. What is Cal State Online Reconnect? And what is Cal State Online Baccalaureate? How are they different? CSU Reconnect programs focus on serving former CSU students who have many CSU credits but who have stopped short of graduation. CSU Reconnect programs are primarily general liberal arts degree programs that incorporate career and professional concentration areas thereby maximizing incoming transfer units, providing flexible credit options for students and minimizing the number of units for degree completion and graduation. Cal State Online Baccalaureate programs are discipline specific such as Business and Public Administration and have focused course sequences that meet specific program requirements enabling students to have a comprehensive set of courses in specialized and specific discipline areas. In both 3

4 cases the programs and courses offered to students will meet CSU quality standards consistent with traditional education models and the online programming we have offered for decades. In both examples, the degrees are awarded by a CSU campus. 16. Who developed the Cal State Online initiative? Were faculty partners in this process? The Cal State Online initiative was initiated by the Chancellor when he asked a group of campus presidents on the CSU Technology Steering Committee to examine new ways to leverage technology to expand CSU program access. The Technology Steering Committee in collaboration with a Cal State Online Working Group, that included CSU faculty and members of the CSU Academic Senate, conducted a detailed analysis of online learning across the CSU. During the Cal State Online visioning and start up processes the Technology Steering Committee and the working group collaborated with a large number of CSU constituents and stakeholders to help refine the role Cal State Online would play in supporting faculty and students. 17. Will Cal State Online operate under the governance and oversight of the Board of Trustees and Chancellor like all other CSU programs? Yes. Cal State Online is no different than other initiatives within the system to respond to changing requirements for our students. In an effort to maintain our collaboration with our stakeholders we have created an advisory board that is comprised of four CSU Presidents, a Provost or AVP, a Dean of Extended Education, a Technology Steering Committee member, two CSU faculty members from the CSU Statewide Academic Senate and a student representative to assist in making this effort successful for students. Sitting as Ex-Officio members are the Statewide Senate Chair and the Executive Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs and Business and Finance. 18. Is the Cal State Online advisory board going to develop courses and programs independent from campus faculty? No, all course and program development will be done by campus faculty and remain under the academic control and utilize the same processes of the host campus. 19. Are Cal State Online courses and programs accredited? Yes, all Cal State Online courses and programs will meet all accreditation standards of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges through the campus that offers the program. Some programs will also carry additional specialized accreditations. 20. What is CSU doing to make sure that Cal State Online does not supplant but supplements state-supported courses and programs? Under existing statutes and policy, courses and programs offered in alternative 4

5 delivery models must demonstrate a need for a program to be offered in self-support, identify whether a similar program exists on the state-supported campus and if a similar program does exist on the state-supported campus then the self-support program must be distinct in audience and delivery. 21. How is Cal State Online funded? Similar to system initiatives such as the Early Assessment Program (EAP), Cal StateTEACH and other efforts, initial start-up funds were provided by campuses reflecting the role Cal State Online will play in supporting their programs and course. Our long-term vision is that Cal State Online will be self-supporting with all program costs covered through tuition. 22. What are the fees for Cal State Online programs? The recommended fees are: $400-$500/per semester unit for undergraduate degree completion programs. The recommendation from the advisory committee is to set fees for most graduate programs within a range of $500-$750/per semester unit reflecting cost differences and the market for such programs. In both cases the fees reflect the costs associated with offering the programs including curriculum development, faculty compensation and staff support costs, to name a few. The fees are also substantially lower than other online courses and programs offered by private and proprietary institutions making them more affordable for CSU students who want and need such an option to complete their academic goals. 23. How will the Cal State Online revenues be used? Cal State Online will provide program funds back to the participating campuses to support the development of new programs, faculty development and scholarships for students taking advantage of self-support programs to complete their degree. As selfsupport programs the charged fees must cover all program costs including the cost of future program development and start-up funding. 24. Will Cal State Online students be able to get financial aid? Yes, students with a demonstrated need will be eligible for various types of aid and assistance with the exception of the State University Grant. Under current law we cannot use state financial aid resources for self-support programs but we hope to work with the Administration and legislature to fund assistance for matriculated students so that they can complete their degree in a timely manner. 25. Do Cal State Online students have to be residents to take advantage of this option? No. 26. Is there a system of accountability for Cal State Online to track quality and student outcomes and success? 5

6 Cal State Online programs must meet the same quality standards as on campus programs, including the hundreds of online courses we offer to students today. Program quality assessment is part of the work we do every day. We appreciate the interest in confirming that online programs are giving students the same quality education and resulting outcomes as traditional programs and will collect data on retention, completion and overall student outcomes to confirm program quality. Again, Cal State Online is not an academic program but rather a support system to expand access and opportunity for students to already existing CSU campus quality programs. 27. Will Cal State Online have to adhere to the same statutory, financial and collective bargaining requirements as the rest of the system? Yes. 28. How is Cal State Online different from Western Governor s University? What about the proposed California Virtual University? WGU does not offer online courses but instead grants academic credit for experience based on demonstrated outcomes. Cal State Online does not grant experiential credit and is not self-paced learning. Rather, Cal State Online assists with the delivery, via technology, of programs taught by CSU faculty. California Virtual University is a portal that helps students locate online courses and programs offered at various institutions. Cal State Online will offer the online programs from the CSU in a central location for all students. Whether Cal State Online will add its courses and programs to the CVU is a decision that has not yet been made given our focus is on our students. 29. Who teaches CSU Online courses? CSU campus faculty teaches all courses in the programs. 30. How is the CSU making sure that it is not creating a two-tier system? Students with a demonstrated need will be eligible for various types of aid and assistance (with the exception of the State University Grant, per current law and policy). As a self-support program Cal State Online and the participating program and campus must cover all costs including program development and start-up funding through tuition revenue, which is consistent with the Extended Education model that has been in place within the CSU for over 50 years. Cal State Online is an option for students that cannot or do not wish to come to campus but who wish to access the program opportunities and excellence of the CSU. 31. Is Cal State Online a 501(c) 3? If so, why? No. 6

7 32. Cal State Online has partnered with Pearson ecollege, what was the reason for the partnership? Cal State Online will provide a comprehensive suite of technology, support services as well as outreach and marketing for participating programs. Pearson ecollege was selected as our vendor partner based on their established expertise in online learning as well as a stable and scalable online learning platform. While many campuses have some level of student support, it is not optimized for online students, is not 7/24 and on a system wide basis does not rise to the level of comprehensive service that online student need and expect. Pearson will augment current campus based services and provide a systemwide infrastructure for our faculty, students and campuses to make sure that we are providing the best support possible to online students via innovative and stable technology. Last Updated October 24,

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