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The PPIC Blog

Online Courses and Achievement Gaps

This commentary was first published in the Sacramento Bee on May 15, 2014.

Online learning is a hot topic in higher education. Certainly the MOOCs, massive open online courses offered for free and featuring faculty from top universities in the country, have garnered a lot of attention. But perhaps more important has been the rise of online courses – for credit – in the nation’s accredited public colleges. Here in California the state’s community colleges have taken the lead, with course enrollments of about 1 million – more than in any other public higher education system in the nation.

Online learning offers the promise of expanded access to and success in higher education. To truly fulfill that promise, it must do so across the diverse population of California students. Currently, it’s falling short. . . .

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