Digital Learning

A renewed strategy for digitally-enhanced learning and teaching

Image credit:
Elena Zhukova

UC Berkeley has been involved in digitally-enhanced learning for the past three decades, and has been deliberate and strategic through each stage of our broadening use of digitally-enhanced learning and teaching.


The original online strategy resulted in a set of principles for Berkeley’s work in the online realm, established Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education (now Digital Learning Services), and created an array of fully online masters programs, certificates and courses, MOOCs, and partnerships with external vendors (edX and 2U, for example) that have helped faculty deliver a variety of technology-enhanced courses and programs.

A number of challenges and opportunities have since emerged that call for a renewal of our digital learning strategy:

  • The undergraduate population has grown by nearly 12% in the last four years while classroom space has remained static. 

  • Data analytics now available in bCourses has opened new areas of research and ways to improve teaching and learning. 

  • Digital resources in our Library could be utilized and made accessible online/in bCourses that would save undergraduates money, yet only a small percentage of faculty use them.

  • Scalable platforms for online learning are a key element of Berkeley’s resilience to pandemics and natural disasters.

In collaboration with campus partners, the Division of Undergraduate Education is leading development of a renewed campus strategy for digitally-enhanced teaching and learning that will better serve students while increasing access to learning opportunities. This work is guided by the following questions:

  1. Can digital learning improve both learning and student experiences for matriculated, in-term students?

  2. How can academic technology be leveraged to meet increased demand and limited space in impacted courses while maintaining or improving quality of instruction? 

  3. Can digital tools be used to improve accessibility to both traditional and digitally-enhanced courses? 

  4. How can we best support faculty in leveraging accessible, digital resources in our library for digital readers that will save students money on course packets?

  5. In what ways could increased use of bCourses by our faculty better prepare us for natural disasters and/or power outages?

 

For more information about the digital learning strategy effort, email vcue@berkeley.edu.

Campus Milestones in Digital Learning

1988

UC Berkeley Extension offers its first online course

Today over 13,000 students (mostly non-matriculated) enroll in online and hybrid Extension courses each year, with nearly 500 students enrolled in one of Extension’s online certificate programs.

2007

Summer Sessions begins offering online courses 

Recognizing that online courses offered Berkeley undergraduates the opportunity to make progress on their academic path, Berkeley Summer Sessions has offered over 35 different online courses with students filling over 21,000 virtual seats. 

2012

Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education is established

Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education (BRCOE) is established to explore the development of revenue-generating certificate and graduate degree programs, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), and ways to utilize technology to increase capacity in gateway courses for Berkeley students. Thanks to BRCOE efforts, Berkeley now offers four online master’s degrees, and our faculty have developed a number of MOOCs that have enrolled over 2 million learners taking the courses for free and 25,000+ paying to receive a certificate upon course completion. 

2018

BRCOE reconceived as Digital Learning Services

The core of BRCOE was reconceived as Digital Learning Services (DLS) to help departments, programs, faculty and instructors develop and transform course materials that support digital pedagogy and online teaching and learning. Situated within Research, Teaching, and Learning (RTL), DLS offers “time and talent” grants and provides support to faculty as they reimagine their courses through a digital lens. DLS also works with faculty who have received Summer Sessions funding to develop online individual summer courses and to support online undergraduate minors.

2020

Semester in the Cloud launches

Launched in Fall 2020 as an emergency response to the disruption to instruction due to COVID-19, wildfires and electric power shutdowns, Semester in the Cloud is a collection of programs that supports instructors as they improve the quality of remote teaching and learning.