The ERC wants to bring a University presence to Nevada County. Some of the details are in a Union article:
The Nevada County Economic Resource Council met Thursday to discuss the group’s economic development efforts, and the potential launch of university-level education for students in the county.
ERC Executive Director Jon Gregory updated the board on the “Connected Community Education” session, a May 28 meeting that members of the council attended with representatives from Chico State University, Sierra College, and Cisco Systems. Business industry reps and local education stakeholders also attended the meeting.
It appears the existing plan is to being Chico State to Nevada County via Cisco Systems distant learning technology. My question is why? Chico is rated 42nd in US News Regional Universities. There are higher quality schools offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that could be used, enabling the selection of the best courses, from MIT, Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Sanford and others here.
Here is an example from Stanford:
For the first time in its history, Stanford is offering some of its most popular engineering classes free of charge to students and educators around the world. Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE) expands the Stanford experience to students and educators online. A computer and an Internet connection are all you need. View lecture videos, access reading lists and other course handouts, take quizzes and tests, and communicate with other SEE students, all at your convenience.
SEE programming includes one of Stanford’s most popular sequences: the three-course Introduction to Computer Science taken by the majority of Stanford’s undergraduates and seven more advanced courses in artificial intelligence and electrical engineering.
Stanford Engineering Everywhere offers:
Anytime and anywhere access to complete lecture videos via streaming or downloaded media.
Full course materials including syllabi, handouts, homework, and exams.
Online social networking with fellow SEE students.
Support for PCs, Macs and mobile computing devices.
Stanford encourages fellow educators to use Stanford Engineering course materials in their own classrooms. A Creative Commons license allows for free and open use, reuse, adaptation and redistribution of Stanford Engineering Everywhere material.
Combine this course material with Sierra College Per-engineering courses and graduates will be ready to enter the work force, perhaps not with an engineering degree, but with the skills need by local industry. Today with grade inflation at the Universities, a sheep skin is no proof that the potential employee has the needed skills. A certification examination and certificate is better insurance against hiring a ringer. Sierra College could be come the issuer of these certification certificates, in connection with a local non-profit, such as the Sierra Economics and Science Foundation.
I am not sure that the ERC is thinking far enough out of the box. There is no need for an expensive Cisco Distant Learning System, the best courses are now on-line from the top universities, no waiting for costly infrastructure.