What Online Learning Tools Are Used At Uc Berkeley?

School and workplaces are shifting towards moving more responsibilities into online classes.

What Online Learning Tools Are Used At Uc Berkeley?

In a quest to enrich and retain students’ learning experience, the University of California at Berkeley provides students with online courses developed by professors who have previously taught in campus classrooms.

When their courses appear on UC Berkeley’s online courses portal, students can purchase their own personal questionnaires to fill out on how they are performing.

“I have to be clear. I’m not calling these online learners illegal, but their status as actual students needs to be clarified,” said Marc Drolet, professor of bioengineering and chemistry, according to Inside Higher Ed. Drolet theorized that many of the online learners are working as independent contractors not giving themselves the time or bandwidth to take time to attend an actual class session.

His remarks echoed the findings of a recent investigation conducted by the Office of the Undergraduate Admissions Admissions Review Committee who conducted a review of 209 enrolled students and 601 students applying to enroll, according to Inside Higher Ed. All of the students were allowed to use the online tool, UC Berkeley’s iTunes U. While it is not possible to verify their independent contractor status, half of the students currently participating in iTunes U are using a rolling enrollment.

Drolet also recently wrote a post on his personal blog. “My conclusion? This system is grossly failing the students who believe themselves to be part of the university. Where are their instructors?” Drolet stated. “It should not be a matter of whether students can complete the course in the online version.” He elaborated, “Rather, we should consider whether these students have the capacity to take advantage of the opportunity to study alongside their peers. We should know whether this opportunity is available to the students because of, or in spite of, the fact that we teach the course online, otherwise they have no reason to believe this is possible.”

In 2015, the faculty member in charge of admissions decided to hold off on admission decisions until they were able to determine whether or not students are serious in pursuing an undergraduate degree. To mitigate potential benefits or disadvantages to students, the UC has employed teams from outside the university to monitor if or how students are interacting with their instructors and taking online courses.

“Not to me, at least, the concept of treating some of them as ‘full-time students’ is somewhat offensive,” wrote Drolet in his blog. He suggested UC “should rethink the line where the digital versus the real ‘student’ begins.”

In 2016, the University of Berkeley added Twitter and Facebook to its platform, allowing students to access the social media tools on campus. For questions regarding student dropout rates, class attendance, completion rates, and student evaluations of their experience at UC Berkeley, click here.

In 2018, iTunes U added Course Labs as an online tool that allows students to test on the content they are reading. Users can also sign up for a podcast, as well as create their own audios.

Even though most students use the online courses portal to access free materials, Drolet urges that the administration create programs to support students and teach them how to manage their time. He pointed out that due to the nature of UC Berkeley’s tech industry culture, he believes learning to manage free time will be essential in gaining success in their post-graduate life.

“Imagine—a teacher who was teaching via the internet had no idea how to teach,” explained Drolet in his blog. “She might resort to using lecture notes as though they had ever been published, she might be sitting at the computer all day, she might be obsessed with social media, and she might get annoyed with interruptions from her students and be impatient with their questions.”

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