AM Alert: Jerry Brown pushes UC to find 'outer limits' of online education

Bee Capitol BureauJanuary 23, 2014 

A busy Wednesday morning delivering his State of the State address and handing out Sutter Brown playing cards didn't keep Gov. Jerry Brown from heading to San Francisco to talk online education at the bimonthly meeting of the University of California Board of Regents. The regents' meeting concludes today with a session starting at 8:30 a.m.

Sitting in on part of Wednesday's meeting, Brown challenged regents to develop classes that require no "human intervention" and might expand the system's reach beyond its student body.

"If this university can probe into" black holes, he said, "can't somebody create a course — Spanish, calculus, whatever — totally online? That seems to me less complicated than that telescope you were talking about," referring to an earlier agenda item.

After receiving pushback from UC provost Aimée Dorr, who delivered the presentation, that students are "less happy and less engaged" without human interaction, Brown said those measurements were too soft and he wanted empirical results.

"Let's think of this as our little solar system," he said. "Can we somehow get beyond it and we're out there into the total human system of all 7 billion?"

VIDEO: Gov. Jerry Brown used to be an exciting speaker, but his addresses have gotten staid and cautious with age, Dan Walters says.

MAKING THE CUT: Friday is the last day for bills introduced in 2013 to get out of committee for a floor vote in their house of origin, so both the Senate and the Assembly appropriations committees have full dockets today. The Senate panel is scheduled to hear 42 bills, most of them items on its suspense file. The Assembly committee, meanwhile, has 59 pieces of legislation on the agenda.

EBBING ELECTORATE: Voter turnout in California is on the decline and the state has been pushing hard to increase the electorate. How have those efforts fared? The Public Policy Institute of California hosts a panel discussion on how to motivate more Californians to exercise their right to vote, featuring Secretary of State Debra Bowen and others. The event takes place at noon at the CSAC Conference Center on 11th Street.

DEGREE DEFICIENCY: A new report from California Competes, a council of civic and business leaders, says the state's higher education system is unprepared to address the demands of the economy and will produce 2.3 million fewer degrees than California needs over the next decade to remain competitive. During a webinar at 10:30 a.m., the group will outline its proposals for a long-term strategy to better guide higher education in California.

IN THE KNOW: Sick of sorting through a cluttered Twitter feed? Browse a curated list of Capitol tweets you need to read, brought to you by the Capitol Alert Insider Edition app. You can subscribe here.

PHOTO: This photo from June 1, 2011 shows Sproul Plaza on the University of California, Berkeley campus with the Campanile in the background. The Associated Press/Eric Risberg

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