Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom To Help Launch Online Class Center At San Jose State

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Jose State University’s president today agreed to create a center to oversee hybrid online classes for other campuses in the California State University System this fall.

Newsom and SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi signed a memo of intent at a news conference to launch the SJSU Center of Excellence in Adaptive and Blended Learning with online course producer edX, co-founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The hybrid college classes offered by the non-profit edX, through Harvard, MIT and 10 other universities, combine online video lectures and discussion boards with in-class interactions with instructors, live discussions, group quizzes and individual tests.

SJSU decided to start the new center thanks to the success of MIT’s edX online course “Circuits and Electronics” taken by students of SJSU’s Electrical Engineering Department last fall and this semester, Qayoumi said.

The circuits class, a difficult but required course for CSU electrical engineering majors, had a 91 percent passage rate last semester at SJSU compared to a 59 percent rate for students in conventional lecture hall classes, he said.

“It’s only right that a center for excellence in online education be housed here at San Jose State, Silicon Valley’s public university,” Qayoumi said.

“I believe that the future of public universities rests on our willingness to adapt, collaborate and innovate,” Qayoumi said.

Newsom said a new generation of young people, including his young daughter who took an interest in an iPad as an infant, “are wired differently” and for them to learn, online technology must be integrated into their curriculum.

“These digital natives cannot be educated like we were educated,” he said. “The model of education that has served us extraordinarily well for 500 years has run its course, just as the Industrial Revolution in so many ways has run its course.”

“We’ve got to wake up to this reality and get ahead of it,” he said.

Electrical engineering departments at 11 other CSU campuses are interested in having their faculty teach edX’s circuits classes in fall 2013 and are sending representatives to SJSU to learn about it this summer, Qayoumi said.

Along with the circuits class, the center will introduce this fall three to five other edX classes in applied sciences, social sciences, humanities and business now taught by Harvard, MIT and the University of California at Berkeley, Qayoumi said.

Jeff Burbank, Bay City News

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