California could require colleges to accept online courses for credit

Tyler Gieseke

A bill presented to the California Senate Wednesday would make the state the first in the nation to require its public colleges and universities to accept credit for online courses approved by faculty and taken by students who can’t get seats in full classes on campus, the New York Times reported.

Many students in the California school system have difficulty securing seats in classes they need, partly due to budget cuts, the Times said. The bill would help these students get credit they need from online courses.   

“We have access issues and this will help address that,” Michelle Pilati, president of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, told the Wall Street Journal

Some of the online classes accepted for credit would likely be massive open online courses, or MOOCs, which students can take for free, the Times said.

Students would need to pass a test to receive credit for a MOOC, according to the Journal. 

Last month, the Journal said, the American Council on Education deemed five MOOCs on the site Coursera worthy of credit. Coursera is the largest provider of MOOCs.

Several schools have accepted MOOCs for credit, the Journal said, including San Jose State University and Georgia State University.

It seems likely the bill in California will pass, the Times said.