As California Goes?

California is the Fertile Crescent for massive open online course providers, at least the for-profit ones. The state is also shaping up as a testing ground for phase two of the MOOC experiment, which includes fees and a path to college credit, and where public colleges try to use material from MOOCs to help meet student demand in gateway courses.

San Jose State University on Tuesday announced a deal with Udacity, a major MOOC player, to create a pilot program of three online, entry-level courses that will cost students $150 to take and lead to university-awarded academic credits if passed. San Jose State professors will teach the courses while Udacity contributes the platform and staff support, including mentors who will help track and encourage students’ progress.

The university will cap enrollment at 100 for each of the three courses, with half of the slots going to students from San Jose State. Priority enrollment for the remaining 150 openings will go to high school and community college students, members of the military and veterans, and wait-listed San Jose State students — all groups who might find it harder to be admitted to the university amid heavy student demand and tight budgets.

Meanwhile, California’s community college system is exploring a different approach with MOOCs.

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