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UC's For-Pay Online Course Draws 4 Non-UC Students

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the let-the-market-decide dept.

Education 177

slew writes "In the shadow of Stanford and Harvard offering free on-line courses, The University of California has been attempting to offer pay-courses for credit. UC online took out a $6.9M loan from UC and spent $4.3M to market these courses. For their efforts, they've been able to quadruple their enrollment year over year. The first year results: only one person not already attending UC paid $1,400 for an online pre-calculus class worth four credits. Now four non-UC are signed up. 'UC Online has to pay back the loan in seven years and expected to sell 7,000 classes to non-UC students for $1,400 or $2,400 apiece, depending on each course's duration. China was thought to be a lucrative potential source of students, but few expressed interest. The U.S. military also fell through.' Methinks head will roll on this one..."

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177 comments

$1400-$2400 per course? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524629)

I could go full-time to my local community college for less than that. Hell, I could almost go full time to my local 4-year university for that (paying in-state tuition). And UC isn't even that prestigious.

They seriously thought the Chinese were going to pay that kind of tuition, for a single course at the fucking University of California, that probably isn't even applicable to a degree? And the U.S. military? Hey, the military may be legendary for wasting money, but even they have limits.

For that, you would think they would at least have offered a complimentary reach-around.

Agree 10000% (5, Informative)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about a year ago | (#42524695)

It's been about six years since I've been in school, but even my most expensive semester of graduate school was only about $1750. Last I checked prices were still in the low $2000 range there. That's for 12+ credits (9+ credits in Graduate School), not a single 4 credit course.

These big schools and their even bigger price tags. What the flying fsck are they smoking?

Re:Agree 10000% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524763)

I wonder what they spent the $4.3 million in Advertising on... Surely after the first million or two you would have to be wondering why you were getting such a poor response.

Re:Agree 10000% (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#42524793)

Sales are in the pipeline! We just need another million to close.

beaurocrats! (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#42524949)

ftfs:

Methinks head will roll on this one..."

bahahahaha as a CA resident I have never seen a group of beaurocrats more insulated from any sort of repurcussions. Undoubtedly they will all get 15% raises while raising tuition 20%.

Re:beaurocrats! (5, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#42525007)

Why would they get fired? They literally made THOUSANDS of dollars for the university. PLUS, they spent their budget for the year, so next year's advertising budget will of course need to be raised by 20%.

You're not thinking institutionally, and you know that one bucket is not connected to another bucket.

Re:Agree 10000% (3, Funny)

OakDragon (885217) | about a year ago | (#42524989)

The leads... are weak!

Re:Agree 10000% (1, Funny)

F1re (249002) | about a year ago | (#42525811)

"The leads are weak." The fucking leads are weak? You're weak. I've been in this business fifteen years...

Re:Agree 10000% (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year ago | (#42525943)

And coffee is for closers.

Just to throw some numbers in the mix, since someone mentioned community colleges. The cc not far from me is $363 / credit hour for out-of-district and $439 / hour for out-of-state. It is a ridiculously nice community college, though.

Re:Agree 10000% (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42526079)

I wonder what they spent the $4.3 million in Advertising on... Surely after the first million or two you would have to be wondering why you were getting such a poor response.

Seriously. $4,300,000.00 on advertising and this is the first I've ever heard of the program.
.
.
.
.
.
Wait for it.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Trust me, it'll be worth it.
.
.
.
.
.
I work for the UC.

Re:Agree 10000% (1)

hurfy (735314) | about a year ago | (#42524781)

I thought that sounded a bit rich. $1400 for ONE class ?!?

I don't really think we need to say much more.

Re:Agree 10000% (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about a year ago | (#42524785)

It's just a bit more pricey these days.

I paid about $2000 for 20 credits at my local community college this quarter, and right now the 4 year college I want to go to charges about $4000 for 12 to 18 credits.

So yeah, I'm not interested in their deal.

A fair question. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524807)

Especially for an online class. I've never comprehended why the hell schools believe they can get away with charging more for an online class (usually usual tuition plus a fee). Having an instructor sitting at home in their underwear has got to be cheaper than finding room on campus, etc.

But that's not the trend that bothers me most. The trend that drives me absolutely insane is that an increasing number of instructors are choosing to become little more than glorified proctors. They're not there to help their students, there is a study center or a tutoring center for that. They're not there to consider the student's circumstances, like a computer they stick to routine/policy blindly. They're not there to come up with exciting, cutting edge material based on recent developments, they'll use the same tired assignments, tests, etc. from half a decade ago.

Fuck them.

Re:A fair question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524929)

Especially for an online class. I've never comprehended why the hell schools believe they can get away with charging more for an online class (usually usual tuition plus a fee).

Because many students want to take online classes because they, erroneous or not, think that it can be blown off. Was it University of Phoenix that was advertising "You too can go to school in your pajamas!" by having some sexy bitches roll around on the bed?

Re:A fair question. (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#42524993)

The sad thing about that is the only thing about actually going to college I missed was the fact that you might actually meet girls in close proximity who might get somewhere near someone's bed.

If you take online courses, then it's just like school and stuff.

Re:A fair question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525819)

you might actually meet girls in close proximity who might get somewhere near someone's bed.

Your mom has to get near your bed in the basement when she changes the sheets.

There is way to much put on getting a degree / 4 y (4, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42525055)

There is way to much put on getting a degree / a 4 year or more one.

I say more 2 years ones / more tech and trades schools with apprenticeships.

College costs to much and takes to long they has to be ways to cut time and costs.

Also not everyone is college material and a lot of people should not be there. There are people who are better in tech / trades schools.

The tech / trades schools are being held back and getting a bad rap from having to be part of the collgle system.

Look at tribeca flashpoint it's a real good school with lot's of real hands on work but it's only a 2 year place so in some cases it's will not get you past HR.

I saw a job posting for a master control job at a Major sports channel that wanted a 4 year communications degree so whats better some with 2 years of very hands on work in media working with hardware that you will see in master control or a 4 year communications degree that was a lot of theory and non tech communications parts to it.

Re:There is way to much put on getting a degree / (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525699)

A high school diploma used to provide some confidence that the graduate could read and write. Now, it's little more than a gold star for attendance (and avoidance of criminal behavior.) That's why there's an emphasis on four year degrees. If you are lacking the basic skills of reading, writing, math, and science, you simply won't advance.

A tech program is fine for those people who aren't cut out for furthering their education. I'm not saying anything bad about them, as they serve a very useful purpose for a lot of people. But you should recognize they are producing people with only a subset of skills, that are trained only for a specific career, and someone with a plumbing certificate is not going to be expected or even permitted to do anything but plumbing. On the other hand, while a degree in English Literature isn't going to land you a job as an engineer, it shows a certain ability to communicate and to learn. Such a person could easily end up in marketing, business analysis, management, or technical writing.

Ironically, your post is filled with a number of spelling and grammatical errors that telegraph your lack of language skills. If I were hiring, and I read a cover letter from you that had that many mistakes, it'd be in the bin before I got to your signature. I need people who can communicate clearly, regardless of the job I'm hiring them for.

I would be quite surprised if you could land a job at a media company like a sports network. Their entire product is a professional looking stream of information, and a person with an unfinished education isn't going to add value. For example, you couldn't be trusted as an editor or producer, because you wouldn't recognize poor quality content. You might land a job as an electrician or a grip, but you would go no further.

Here's the bottom line: people with four year degrees (at least) are doing the hiring. Therefore they get to set the bar - not you.

Re:There is way to much put on getting a degree / (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42525789)

A high school diploma used to provide some confidence that the graduate could read and write. Now, it's little more than a gold star for attendance (and avoidance of criminal behavior.) That's why there's an emphasis on four year degrees. If you are lacking the basic skills of reading, writing, math, and science, you simply won't advance.

A tech program is fine for those people who aren't cut out for furthering their education. I'm not saying anything bad about them, as they serve a very useful purpose for a lot of people. But you should recognize they are producing people with only a subset of skills, that are trained only for a specific career, and someone with a plumbing certificate is not going to be expected or even permitted to do anything but plumbing. On the other hand, while a degree in English Literature isn't going to land you a job as an engineer, it shows a certain ability to communicate and to learn. Such a person could easily end up in marketing, business analysis, management, or technical writing.

Ironically, your post is filled with a number of spelling and grammatical errors that telegraph your lack of language skills. If I were hiring, and I read a cover letter from you that had that many mistakes, it'd be in the bin before I got to your signature. I need people who can communicate clearly, regardless of the job I'm hiring them for.

I would be quite surprised if you could land a job at a media company like a sports network. Their entire product is a professional looking stream of information, and a person with an unfinished education isn't going to add value. For example, you couldn't be trusted as an editor or producer, because you wouldn't recognize poor quality content. You might land a job as an electrician or a grip, but you would go no further.

Here's the bottom line: people with four year degrees (at least) are doing the hiring. Therefore they get to set the bar - not you.

but a 4 years can easy be trimmed down to maybe 2-3 years by cutting a lot of the fluff and filler.

So you are saying that going to tribeca flashpoint an unfinished education?? They do real world work there and I say it better to have people who have done real work to be trusted as an editor or producer. Well someone with mostly theory based education wouldn't recognize poor quality content or they may say why X like that that if they went to tech school they would learn that that's the way it works.

what about 4 years+ in the amry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525829)

what about 4 years+ in the amry? is not enough to do you the job you have been doing in army out side of it?? why do you have to go school for 4 years to get a piece of paper saying that I know what I know now!! I don't want to relearn I want to use my skills!

Re:A fair question. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525209)

I've never comprehended why the hell schools believe they can get away with charging more for an online class (usually usual tuition plus a fee).

I've never comprehended why the hell students believe online courses should cost less.

Re:Agree 10000% (4, Insightful)

rgbscan (321794) | about a year ago | (#42525105)

Well considering they only offer 4 classes, and have 6 more pending approval.... that's a very, very limited audience available. I mean, one of the classes offered is "The Joy of Computing". Really? I actually would be interested in this sort of thing, as an adult college student with my employer picking up a lot of the tab. The class selection really leaves something to be desired though! If I could really knock out most of my degree online thru them I'd be interested. Having 4 weird elective classes online isn't going to attract anyone.

Re:Agree 10000% (4, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | about a year ago | (#42525183)

These big schools and their even bigger price tags. What the flying fsck are they smoking?

Not only that but they expected China to be a major market? Chinese students have US University level pre-calculus in elementary school.

Re:Agree 10000% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525195)

What the flying fsck are they smoking?

The Weed the campus-"police" regularly confiscates from the students.

Re:Agree 10000% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525609)

I was paid 22000$/yr to study in graduate school

Not that far off (1)

MrBippers (1091791) | about a year ago | (#42524787)

$1,400 for a 4 credit class = $350 /credit. In the SUNY system here in New York, part time enrollment once you factor in fee runs ~$280 /credit in-state.

Re:Not that far off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525243)

You mean in the SUNY's 4 year institutions.
All those *CCs are part of SUNY, too, and they're 162 per credit hour, oh and for the maths and sciences are effectively a guaranteed transfer to a 4 year school.

Re:$1400-$2400 per course? (1)

Grashnak (1003791) | about a year ago | (#42525283)

They seriously thought the Chinese were going to pay that kind of tuition, for a single course at the fucking University of California, that probably isn't even applicable to a degree?

I totally agree. I was very excited this morning to discover some predictive analysis graduate level courses online at Northwestern. I stayed excited right up until I spewed coffee all over myself when I saw that they wanted $3800 per course. I don't need that course to predict that I won't be taking it.

Re:$1400-$2400 per course? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#42525413)

A predictive analytics course at Northwestern is a different thing - that's trying to cash in on wall street traders and so forth, i.e. people who already have money. Top business schools can charge quite a bit to go teach courses at companies. "Cyber security" is the same way - if you can put together computer security and enterprise/national security in the right way you can charge a lot for a seminar or class.

Advertising (3, Insightful)

PraiseBob (1923958) | about a year ago | (#42525519)

Where on earth did they spend that huge advertising budget? They could've bought a superbowl ad, hundreds of regular tv spots, thousands of radio spots, tens of thousands of online impressions. But nobody here has even heard about it, including current UC students.

Why pay so much when you can audit most courses for $10 - $200 at almost any university? Ivy League schools like Princeton charge a paltry $150. It is a tough sell getting someone to spend $1400 to audit a boring online course at a state school.

Re:$1400-$2400 per course? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year ago | (#42525633)

Careful how you define 'course'.

Typical tuition here is 7k-11k for a local student for 10 courses lasting 12 weeks each (4 month courses, 12 weeks of instruction + exams). If a 'course' is actually an 8 month then 1400 dollars per course is about right.

Now the catch: Tuition for a foreign student is 20k/year. Ah ha. That's why the chinese market is so interesting. UC is a very prestigious school if you're in india or china, because even bad north american universities are way better than most of the schools in china or india (in terms of prestige anyway). And you could pay 7k per course and not have to fly half way around the world to do so.

The article talks about a pre-calculus course worth 4 credits. according to http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/senate/manual/rpart3.html 1 has

"The value of a course in units shall be reckoned at the rate of one unit for three hours' work per week per term on the part of a student, or the equivalent."

http://senate.ucsc.edu/manual/santacruz-division-manual/part-two-regulations/section-three-ug-program/chapter-ten-requirementsfordegrees/index.html

Says 180 credits to graduate. So you need 45 credits per year. This would put their costs at 16k/year in tuition. Still cheaper than foreign student tuition (and no living costs), but not as lucrative as being a local resident going to school. Which seems exactly like the market it was aimed at.

Not worth it (1)

phazemstr (1405173) | about a year ago | (#42524687)

The prestige of an American university does not warrant the cost. We pay for the implied value of the college we go to, and it is cheapened when the class is not taught in person.

Re:Not worth it (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42524931)

I was fine with online classes. Most /.ers out of school don't understand how popular hybrid is, especially for lower level classes. All the schools around me are doing great offering degree program enrolled for credit online / hybrid classes.

The mystery is why anyone would sign up, out of the blue, to blow $1400 on a precalc class (or whatever it is). Why?

If you want a degree you apply for admission and take online precalc for $1400 and are removed from this metric goal because you're a student now.

I do know some professions require a minimal level of continuing education, so out of the blue someone could sign up for "a class". But precalc isnt going to pass muster, its going to have to be vaguely upper level engineering, or maybe education. Not precalc.

So who is supposed to pay that kind of dough, for basically nothing?

Re:Not worth it (1)

Intropy (2009018) | about a year ago | (#42525013)

My guess is that the precalc student is in high school. The student couldn't fit the class into his schedule with other classes he wanted to take, so taking it online at the university gets him the high school credit, and also gets you a college credit when you do end up enrolling wherever you go. That sort of thing happened a lot where I went to high school.

Re:Not worth it (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#42524987)

The prestige of an American university does not warrant the cost. We pay for the implied value of the college we go to, and it is cheapened when the class is not taught in person.

The professor is one thing, but it's not connecting with your co-students that is the real downfall. Nothing sharpens your mind as much as having to discuss/cooperate/compete with other very bright minds and you're not networking the same way either. The professor is of course also good, but most of it is just putting all these people in the same room and watch the sparks fly.

Pay for education ? LOL (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524717)

In most civilized countries education is free not a commodity to be bought and sold, the market spoke and this universities education got handed the real market price, zero.

Re:Pay for education ? LOL (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524805)

I'm all for giving the ever bloating ranks of professors and staff a giant pay cut in this civilized country.

They get paid a LOT less in those other civilized countries.

Re:Pay for education ? LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525143)

Student/professor ratios are increasing, student/staff ratios are declining.

https://chronicle.com/article/College-Costs-Too-Much-Because/133357/

Re:Pay for education ? LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525419)

I'm all for giving the ever bloating ranks of professors and staff a giant pay cut in this civilized country.

They get paid a LOT less in those other civilized countries.

Are you kidding???

Since this thread started about the UC system, let's use them for an example. In order to become a professor, first you need to get your doctorate. No simple task - think ten years higher education. Then you need to do at least one two year post-doctorate fellowship (At little to no pay.) By the time you are finally done with school, it's easy to have racked up 100k in student loans. Now, the average starting salary for a UC professor in the tenure tract is $65,000. (Try living near UCLA or UCSF on that salary.) Some make more (business schools) and some make less (public health and social sciences). Now, the average salary for someone with a Comp Sci PhD in the business world is $102,000 (http://cs.illinois.edu/csillinois/stats).

Oh, the other thing is - most professors at universities that teach are not on the tenure track. They get paid per class they teach, usually at a laughable rate. And at research institutions, take Johns Hopkins for example, professors are expected to bring in 80 to 100 percent of their salary through outside funding, like research grants.

Re:Pay for education ? LOL (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about a year ago | (#42524809)

If you're poor and over 24; student aid in America is quite generous

No, it isn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524837)

What are you smoking?

Re:No, it isn't. (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#42524925)

What are you smoking?

He or she is not smoking anything. If you are poor and you take advantage of what is out there, you can get a college education paid for. There are thousands of state, federal, charitable and private programs that help pay for education. A good academic adviser can help you get access.

Re:No, it isn't. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#42525193)

What are you smoking?

He or she is not smoking anything. If you are poor and you take advantage of what is out there, you can get a college education paid for. There are thousands of state, federal, charitable and private programs that help pay for education. A good academic adviser can help you get access.

Probably half of all students are already on some sort of grant, scholarship or other financial aid. I once worked with the financial aid office at a college and about half were getting at least some assistance there.

they also have more trades schools / apprenticeshi (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42525089)

they also have more trades schools / apprenticeships as well. Not just one size fit's all college systems.

Overpriced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524719)

Why would anyone pay for online courses for UC general reqs at the regular UC prices when most of California's community colleges offer online courses for a tenth of the price, all of which are transferable. Whoever thought this up needs to spend some time out of their ivory tower.

Re:Overpriced (2)

dnahelicase (1594971) | about a year ago | (#42524859)

Why would anyone pay for online courses for UC general reqs at the regular UC prices when most of California's community colleges offer online courses for a tenth of the price, all of which are transferable. Whoever thought this up needs to spend some time out of their ivory tower.

I would consider paying $1,400/class for an online class through UC. It would look better than my community college and would be taken more seriously than a lot of 100% online colleges. However, not for the few crappy classes they offer. The course catalog only has a few courses, and they all are entry level and non-serious.

As a professional, I would be willing to pay $1,400 for an upper level finance course from a respected university, but Pre-Calc, intro psych, and "climate change" are all courses that don't matter where they are from.

What chinese kid with $1,400 hasn't already taken all the courses they offer?

Re:Overpriced (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42525041)

No one would ever know you took those classes at a community college. You would transfer them elsewhere to get the degree.

Re:Overpriced (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#42525083)

Yeah, I think where they failed was getting: 1) serious, prestigious courses; that are 2) taught by top professors. Intro psych taught by a not-particularly-famous psych professor is not going to draw. But I think the concept could've worked if they had, say, a solid bioinformatics course taught by someone like David Haussler [wikipedia.org] . There are plenty of UC professors across the campuses with similar draw potential. But they need to target higher-prestige than generic intro courses, because nobody is going to pay $1400 for precalc.

Mostly a rumor, but: I heard some discussions about it from some academic colleagues, and afaict part of the problem was that there was no real framework for actually setting up the courses. They were hoping profs would volunteer to do it, without providing any real guidance or resources, and you would teach it in addition to your regular teaching. Unsurprisingly, they didn't get a lot of volunteers.

Re:Overpriced (0)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about a year ago | (#42525151)

The people running the UC system now come from the world of business. Most are Republican appointees (look up the list of regents) with little background in education or the public sector. They see the UC as a brand, and that brand as an asset to bring in revenue. That's why they're destroying it.

LOLZ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524725)

Precalculus is so easy it should be free.

Now Loading... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524737)

Wonder if the same people were responsible as their attempt at a new logo.

Too much for an online class. (4, Insightful)

3vi1 (544505) | about a year ago | (#42524741)

I'm not sure how they justify the cost, when it probably costs them all of $20 to manage the average online student. I guess people realize this, and for that kind of money they want the *full* college experience with hazing and all that.

I'll just stick with Coursera - it's free and awesome, (As long as you just want the knowledge and don't care about credits.)

Re:Too much for an online class. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#42524769)

Not to mention I can learn Precalc at any community college with in state tuition. It is not like any sophisticated lab work and research is needed when an instructor, a book, calculator, and a piece of paper is all that is needed to practice math problems.

I never heard of it anyway and that is a marketing problem as well. Has anyone else even knew about it?

Re:Too much for an online class. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524881)

I'll just stick with Coursera - it's free and awesome, (As long as you just want the knowledge and don't care about credits.)

Well, this program is for people who want the credits, not just the knowledge.

I think you'd be crazy to pay that high tuition for a basic course at a university like UC, but even if you can compare the teaching quality to Coursera you can't compare a free course to a non-free for-credit course based on outcome. They are different animals.

Re:Too much for an online class. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525277)

I'm not sure how they justify the cost, when it probably costs them all of $20 to manage the average online student.

And you base this on what?

Re:Too much for an online class. (1)

ryan.onsrc (1321531) | about a year ago | (#42525325)

... Especially for Pre-Calculus.

It's not until one takes Calculus that everything in Intermediate Algebra and Trigonometry all comes together, and actually makes sense. Now if $2,400 bought you a high-quality, well-taught series of online courses that cover Calculus I, II, Diff. Equations, Vector Calculus, and Linear Algebra --- *then* we're talking.

I can see paying as much as 3-4k for something like that.

Education on a credit card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524749)

Jeez, why not sell your future children while you are at it?

Re:Education on a credit card? (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42525067)

LOL the really poor aren't going to have the credit limit to put more than a class or two on it anyway.

Its really aimed for tuition reimbursement people like I was for my BS degree (BS in several ways I guess). You pay the registrar or whoever in full on your CC, submit a reimbursement form to work, get a direct deposit right into checking in a week or so, write check or online bill pay to pay off the CC all done. Toward the end of my degree $employer required I submit a C or better report card or transcript to obtain reimbursement, so I had to float one semester's tuition at all times before getting reimbursed, which actually wasn't all that bad.

So my "tuition reimbursement" wasn't really free, depending on the exact CC billing cycle, etc, but still close enough to free not to matter very much.

TLDR is yeah I put an entire bachelors degree on a CC, got promptly reimbursed, it all turned out OK.

Earlier in my career I got an associates and I got a fixed monthly amount of money from the GI Bill and I had tuition bills which were lump sum, so I used the CC to smooth things out... takes about 3 months GI BIll income to pay off, then its time for another semester...

Re:Education on a credit card? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#42525227)

The problem is with schools that don't let you pay using a credit card. Then, on most credit cards, cash-outs ("balance transfer" checks) have higher APR, and are usually limited to a part of your credit line. I know of at least one Big Ten school that doesn't take credit cards for tuition. They only accept bank transfers online and checks in person (perhaps maybe cash too).

It's about WHERE the classes are, silly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524789)

It isn't about the content of the courses, it is about WHERE the courses are! If you want low-cost tech labor (underground or 'legit'), you need bodies. Student bodies, not virtual student bodies.

Useless to non-UC students, and $$$$$??!!?!? (4, Interesting)

LF11 (18760) | about a year ago | (#42524797)

What the hell? Full classroom price for an online course? Are they serious? Who do they think they are? The RIAA?

Also, as a non-UC student, this is wildly useless to me. Free courses are excellent because they can help me through my existing classwork, or I can participate just to enrich my own learning.

For-credit is useless unless that credit applies at my own university. It might, but it would be a hassle to figure it out, and I am ALREADY paying full tuition at my university. Why would I pay another $1,400 for another class AND have to figure out if it transfers?

Terrible idea at a terrible price point.

Re:Useless to non-UC students, and $$$$$??!!?!? (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year ago | (#42525065)

What the hell? Full classroom price for an online course? Are they serious? Who do they think they are? The RIAA?

Of course not! The RIAA would charge double for the privilege of online classes. Then go cry to the government when they got only four students, who they would sue for copyright infringement (they're obviously uploading all their valuable knowledge to the limetorrentz or pirate bays), before finally deciding that on-the-job training should be made illegal because it horns in on their monopoly.

Re:Useless to non-UC students, and $$$$$??!!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525247)

Why did you add the "point" at the end? It's superfluous, since "price" refers to a scalar which can be viewed as a point on an axis.

Re:Useless to non-UC students, and $$$$$??!!?!? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#42525363)

It should be much more than normal tuition because you can study in the comfort of your home and don't have to get up in the morning!

After all the UC system isn't about education, it's about money.

Re:Useless to non-UC students, and $$$$$??!!?!? (1)

LF11 (18760) | about a year ago | (#42525479)

Well then, I won't be crying crocodile tears for their multimillion dollar bad idea...

Free alternatives are out there (1)

sinij (911942) | about a year ago | (#42524813)

Few problems with paid courses approach.

First, there are free alternatives out there, like Coursera, that offer the same thing.

Second, consumer sees value in credentials, not education. Kinds of people that tend to value knowledge are more than capable of gaining it on their own. Kinds of people that would pay for education are only interested in acquiring credentials.

No problem (1)

pcjunky (517872) | about a year ago | (#42524823)

If the numbers are anywhere near right then they should easly recoop their money. Even if they fall short and have only 5000 sudents instead of 7000 then at $1400 each then they will earn 7 million dollars.

Re:No problem (1)

bakuun (976228) | about a year ago | (#42525729)

If the numbers are anywhere near right then they should easly recoop their money. Even if they fall short and have only 5000 sudents instead of 7000 then at $1400 each then they will earn 7 million dollars.

I know that it's customary on slashdot not to read the linked articles but you didn't even read the summary, did you? They got four students. Four.

Priced themselves out of it. (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#42524849)

Who did the marketing research and how much ganja were they smoking when they did it?

The loss on this reminds me of an ill-considered plans where I worked ages ago. Someone bought a $20,000 system and contract to move EDI packaged records between institutions around the state. I has it foisted upon me (make it work, you peon) and spent the next year chasing down contacts and attending seminars. After a year the person who "bought" the product angrily wanted to know how it was I hadn't made any headway - this because none of the other institutions ever went through on the project and it was effectively dead. Then I had the gall to ask, so how much work are we saving by doing this anyway, and found we would move about 4 records per quarter. 4. End of project. That person should have been sacked, but was promoted. Go figure.

Re:Priced themselves out of it. (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about a year ago | (#42525381)

You should rather ask who got a big bonus and/or a golden handshake in the meantime.

Re:Priced themselves out of it. (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#42525493)

You should rather ask who got a big bonus and/or a golden handshake in the meantime.

These days people like to put the success of their projects on their resume. If only prospective employers followed up on these things.

"So how did it work out?" "It was deemed a waste of resources and scrapped after they left, further it damaged team morale, which took a lot of milk and cookies to restore."

Well Yeah. (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | about a year ago | (#42524851)

6K a year for all you finish credits online for govenours college compared with 1400 for 4 credits seems expensive.
I'm sure there are even more cheaper places not even counting the free courses.

Sell volume (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year ago | (#42524867)

If the appstores have taught us anything it's that you can make a lot of money off impulse buy pricing. If they dropped the fee to $14 / credit (so $56 for the course) they'd make it all back and more in 1-2 years.

I'm certain their fear is that those prices would eat into regular tuition as many would do online instead of in person. They'd have to run more numbers (maybe they have) to find the best market rate. Clearly they've priced themselves out of the market completely at their current rates though.

Re:Sell volume (1)

pesho (843750) | about a year ago | (#42525091)

But they don't want to sell volume, because this will eat the tuition fees they are getting from their regular students. Who is going to pay tuition and room and board if they can lay on their couch and take the course for two bucks? They would like to have their cake and eat it too. The same thing is going on in my place (it seems that paid online courses are all the rage in US universities). When I try to explain to my colleagues that no one is going to pay to see their course when there are free alternatives, I am drawing blank stares.

Your tax dollars at work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524871)

No wonder California needed to pass prop 30 to keep UC funded.

Obvious result (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524887)

1) $1,400/2,400 is quite a bit for a single 4credit hour class which excludes a large number of people (especially China) from taking advantage of this. If you can afford this, you probably be in a good university already.
2) Minor hassle of transferring credits
3) How many people outside the university actually know about this? I doubt many. $4.3 million spent on marketing seems to say they tried but I get the feeling they failed.
4) Do they offer enough classes online to get a degree? If not, this would only interest other college students to some degree. If so, the appeal is still limited due to costs.

Really, the whole plan was stupid. Spending most of the loan on advertising sounds like way too much of a gamble. Instead, a slower approach to the whole thing would have been much wiser I think. Try to naturally spread the word, send mail to potential college bound students, arrange some type of understanding/partnership with other colleges, etc. The idea that many Chinese would take classes at that price is a bit much really. The military aspect requires alot of communication and arrangement, something that probably can't be done quickly due to bureaucracy. Really, the idea isn't too bad but the execution is horrible.

Re:Obvious result (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42525133)

How many people outside the university actually know about this? I doubt many. $4.3 million spent on marketing seems to say they tried but I get the feeling they failed.

Google and census.gov think there are 20 million full time college / university students. There's probably about as many non-traditional students as traditional students. Doing some estimation and division, they should have been able to at least junk mail a significant fraction of the possible students.

$1400 for one class? What are they smoking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524903)

Seriously? That is straight up ridiculous, $1400 pays for full-time enrollment (12cr) for an entire semester at my community college. Sinclair Community College in Dayton, OH. One of the best CC's in the country.

Goals? Bueller? (2)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42524905)

FTFA (yeah, I know)

"UC leaders say they will focus online efforts mainly on students already enrolled at UC, in hopes that such classes will help them zip through school more quickly and cheaply. "

1. It's not cheap. I can go to a local community college and get an actual interactive course with an actual professor for a lot less than $350/credit. I can go to an actual local accredited 4 year university for a lot less than that too.

2. If you want outside students, you need to, you know, actually market to outside students instead of the students you already have.

--
BMO

Re:Goals? Bueller? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525117)

Yes, you need to market to students, but $4.9 million?? Are you kidding me?

We do a lot of marketing to students outside our university and bring in quite a few of them for our online programs (a lot more than these idiots did), and we've never spent that kind of money.

When Credit doesn't count (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524911)

Kahn Acadamy, you can learn calculus for free!
or buy and work through "Calculus Made Easy" by Silvanus P. Thompson for $16. If it's good enough for Richard Feynman, it's good enough for anyone.
Oh, and read Feynman's book "QED" as well, learn yourself some physics.

Well... if they can hold their quadrupling rate... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#42524965)

... they'll be fine, because at that rate, in year 7, they will have 16,384 enrollments, which is more than double the number they were hoping for.

Re:Well... if they can hold their quadrupling rate (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#42525079)

But in 64 years, they will undergo gravitational collapse and turn into a neutron star.

Re:Well... if they can hold their quadrupling rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525177)

Which would be an outstanding resource to study for the physics students.

As a current UC student... (2)

feedayeen (1322473) | about a year ago | (#42524971)

I had no idea this existed.

The current course listing is as follows:
American Cybercultures: Principles of Internet Citizenship
Intro to Probability and Statistics for Business
General Psychology
Beauty and Joy of Computing

I guess it's not much of a loss, the only course I could have taken for credit was Psychology. A helpful suggestion would be for you guys to put the University wide requirements on here. The American History and Institution's requirement is generally unfulfilled by international students for instance.

Re:As a current UC student... (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a year ago | (#42525063)

Gosh, $1400 to learn the Principles of Internet Citizenship? A steal at twice the price! Can't imagine why they don't have more takers...

Stanford offers pay-for-credit online (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42524991)

Stanford basically extended their part-time Honors Cooperative Program (HCP) through the Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD), which films and distributes their online courses. Remote students pay full tuition to "attend" these classes online, and its quite popular despite the cost. You can get a MS degree in several engineering fields from Stanford by attending entirely online.

SCPD Website [stanford.edu]
HCP Website [stanford.edu]
The Stanford EE Department's Description of this program. [stanford.edu]

Keep going! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525019)

1+4+16+64+256+1024+4096 = 16383/3 = 5461 and that's not that far away from 7000.

Everything will be fine... (1)

emag (4640) | about a year ago | (#42525201)

...assuming they quadruple enrollment every year. By the 7th year, if my math is correct (and it likely isn't), over four *thousand* people will be enrolled, and even at $1400/class, that's over $5.5M. So they'll be able to pay back the loan no problem!

The Silver-lining (1)

ryan.onsrc (1321531) | about a year ago | (#42525263)

Well, at least they can brag about small class-sizes and consequently the best teacher-student ratio among top-tier schools, worldwide.

What kind of cources? (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about a year ago | (#42525443)

Probably
- not economics,
- not business plan 101,
- not calculus,
- not linear optimisation,
- not common sense and
- not "let's google if these courses can be found for free" either.

Heads will not roll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42525899)

Having had ample experience as both a student and faculty member of the University of California, I think the smart money says that whoever proposed and implemented this idea will get a plaque and be promoted to Director or Chairpreson of something or other.

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