California’s students and teachers will soon gain unlimited access to free college preparatory courses online, following a new partnership announced May 20 between UC College Prep (UCCP) and the California K-12 High Speed Network.
The contract will make more than $8 million worth of University of California-developed interactive online courses and lessons available to the entire state through one centralized portal later this year. As a statewide program of the University of California, UCCP will place its College Board and state approved online courses on High Speed Network’s servers, enabling California high schools to access the courses with relative ease and at zero cost. An additional $5 million worth of content is expected to be added to the Web site over the next two years.
Curt Anderson, associate director of partnership and communication for UC College Prep, said although California high schools and middle schools have been able to access UCCP material online for the past two years, the recent agreement has transformed online prep courses into a viable alternative for college credit. “Right now, when a high school wants to use our courses that are UC approved, they have to license them and put them on their own servers,” Anderson explained. “The partnership with High Speed Network puts it on their own servers and at one place, so they will be able to go to the network Web site and access the courses.” Under current UC regulations, the online courses must still be offered under the guidance of a qualified instructor in order to be considered for college credit.
The partnership with High Speed Network - a high-speed, high-bandwidth statewide network that reaches more than five million California students and educators - will allow instructors to access college prep coursework through a single access point, avoiding constant downloads onto school servers. Anderson said the new partnership will revolutionize the accessibility of online college prep courses. “In short, it’s a turn key solution for schools to use online courses that are UC approved. Because they don’t have to use their own servers and resources for these courses, it makes the online courses more available,” Anderson said. “That’s a very powerful thing for students at rural or poorer schools who have limited access to AP (Advanced Placement) and other A-G college-approved courses.” Coinciding with their new partnership, UCCP will construct a Web portal on the network providing math lessons and California High School Exit Examination resources to serve California’s mathematical development needs - the portal part of a gradual process of creating an entire UCCP college prep curriculum on the Web.
Todd Finnell, chief executive officer of the High Speed Network, said its partnership with UCCP will help ensure that students who wish to pursue a college degree have the necessary resources to do so. “We are excited to be working with UCCP in meeting the needs of schools across California,” Finnell said, in a prepared statement. “The ability to leverage the resources of each organization and coordinate our services will ensure students in all areas of the state have access to compelling content and learning opportunities.”
More than 83,000 California students and 153,000 worldwide utilized UCCP’s online content last year.
Benjamin Gottlieb is an Independent intern.