University of California offers online class discount for employees

Employees at the University of California (UC) are now able to take online classes at a discount. The university is offering the discount for the next term, and the 33% tuition reduction is part of a pilot program the university is offering all faculty, staff, their spouses and dependents. The program is only available for those who are not already enrolled at UC, and those who choose to enroll can pick from a selection of only nine online courses.

A discount of 10% on enrollment fees is already offered to employees who wish to enroll at the university.

"UC Online offers online courses to non-UC students on an ongoing basis," said DoQuyen Tran-Taylor, program manager of UC Online Education. "With this pilot program, our intent was to extend this excellent educational opportunity to UC employees and their families."

The online courses offered include Introduction to Writing and Rhetoric, Terrorism and War and Introduction to Computer Science. Other topics include climate change and diversity. The university website advertises the classes by saying:

"Students in UC Online Education classes will not just be watching videos, but instead will be taking advantage of a robust online community, including active discussions where students interact with each other and with instructors on a regular basis. UC instructors teach the classes, and students get UC credit."

The proposal follows the university's efforts to expand online classes, and a new cross-campus enrollment system which allows students to enroll in any online class offered at a UC campus. Tran-Taylor says that most online classes are taken by students working to complete a degree.

Some employees, like Jeffrey Nealy, a tower coordinations operator at the Campanile, don't think the classes will be affordable. "(The cost) makes it difficult to justify," Nealy said. "If you could get a degree out of it, then that would be a different story. Though it's still nice that they're trying."

UC Professor of Climate Change Arnold Bloom says that online education is "a perfect complement to face-to-face classes."

UC Berkeley is also offering a variety of online classes.

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