US: California online degree rattles academics

Taking online higher education courses is, to many, like eating at McDonalds: convenient, fast and filling. You may not get filet mignon, but afterward you're just as full. Now the University of California wants to jump into online education for undergraduates, hoping to become America's first top-tier research institution to offer a degree over the internet comparable in quality to its prestigious campus programme, writes Nanette Asimov for the San Francisco Chronicle.

"We want to do a highly selective, fully online, credit-bearing programme on a large scale - and that has not been done," said Berkeley law school Dean Christopher Edley, who is leading the effort. But a number of skeptical faculty members and graduate student instructors fear that a cyber University of California would deflate the university's five-star education into a fast-food equivalent, cheapening the brand. Similar complaints at the University of Illinois helped bring down that school's ambitious Global Campus programme after just two years.
Full report on the San Fransisco Chronicle site