The Intended Consequences of California’s Online Education Initiative

Last month we presented two explainer videos on the growing usage of course exchanges, where multiple institutions pool resources in creating or extending online courses.[1] If online courses or programs breaks down the barriers of campus walls and enables anytime, anywhere education, then why not explore how collaboration can open up access and improve quality. While we tend to not write e-Literate about our consulting work through MindWires, in this case we have heard a general interest from other systems to learn more about what the California Online Education Initiative (OEI) at the community college system is doing.

The first two videos explored the concept of course exchanges in general and the required infrastructure needed to create them. In our third explainer video from this series we go back to the OEI to look at how their investment in academic infrastructure should provide benefits that go well beyond the courses and students participating in the course exchange. This extension of benefits, however, was not a surprise to those creating OEI; rather, these broader benefits represent the intended consequences of their approach to collaborative online education.

(Video source: https://youtu.be/1DdlaIZYiDI)

While MOOC mania and coding bootcamps, among other initiatives, have generated a lot of attention to specific forms of online education, in my opinion collaborative programs such as California’s OEI deserve similar attention. As we described in the initial post, California is not the first state to try such an initiative.

We thought it would be useful to explore this concept of course exchanges more broadly. OEI is not the first course exchange – Colorado Community College System, University of North Carolina SystemMississippi Virtual Community College, Kentucky Virtual Campus, to name a few other initiatives.[2]

These are some of the most important digital learning initiatives to watch.

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  1. Disclosure: Our e-Literate TV series of video case studies and explainer videos is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. []
  2. Disclosure: Besides OEI, Colorado Community College System and Mississippi Community College System are past clients of either MindWires or its predecessors. []

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About Phil Hill

Phil is a consultant and industry analyst covering the educational technology market primarily for higher education. He has written for e-Literate since Aug 2011. For a more complete biography, view his profile page.
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