Online college course experiment reveals hidden costs

The pilot program began with remedial classes.

About two weeks into San Jose State’s online education experiment at an Oakland charter school, it became clear that something was wrong. Some of the students in the college’s for-credit math courses weren’t even logging on.

“I get this call from San Jose State: ‘Uh, we have a problem,'” recalled Mark Ryan, superintendent of the Oakland Military Institute, a public school set up on a military model.

It turned out some of the low-income teens didn’t have computers and high-speed internet connections at home that the online course required. Many needed personal attention to make it through. The final results aren’t in yet, but the experiment exposed some challenges to the promise of a low-cost online education.…Read More