California colleges are going online. How ready are they?

California Coronavirus

Thanks to the coronavirus, California is about to embark on an enormous unplanned experiment in remote learning — and no one knows how long it will last. The first challenge is simple: making sure everyone can log on.

As math instructor Alyssa Wong drove to a recent meeting to discuss the College of San Mateo’s transition to online classes — spurred by the coronavirus outbreak — she was full of questions.

“When you close a place like Harvard and send everybody home, they assume if you can afford $50,000 a year, you have a computer,” she said. “That’s different at a community college because we service a lot of people, everyone from high school students to people who are older. Even some of the teachers who are older, they don’t have any internet access at home.”

Wong said she knew of at least two instructors in her department without in-home internet connections. “It’s uncharted territory,” she said.

Online education has been alternately hailed as the wave of the future, a way to deliver relevant curriculum to the masses at a lower cost, and disparaged as an inferior, Mickey Mouse version of “real” study that leaves some of the most vulnerable students behind. Now California is about to embark on an enormous, unplanned experiment in remote learning — and no one knows how long it will last.

Keep reading this article at CalmMatters.org