The University of California Board of Regents has announced its plan to introduce online instruction via video conferencing in some of its top-tier research institutions, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
The board has endorsed a pilot program that would test online course instruction to see if it can live up to its in-classroom counterpart.
While some critics worry that taking the University of California system online would tarnish the reputation of one of the most selective public university systems in the country, the board disagrees.
"We have the opportunity to show everyone else how to do it," Regent Sherry Lansing told the Chronicle. "This should be one of our highest priorities. We cannot wait."
The board believes that the UC system has the resources and the intelligence to develop a fully-online undergraduate bachelor degree program that would be as successful and respected academically as the University's classroom instruction.
Additionally, the video conferencing-based online program would save the UC system money while allowing access to tuition-paying students across the globe.
In 2010, US News & World Report ranked five of the 10 University of California schools in the top 50 schools in the nation. The system's flagship Berkeley campus is the highest-ranked public institution in America at number 21 on the list, UCLA is tied with the University of Virginia for the number 24 spot and the University of California at San Diego is number 35. The campuses at Santa Barbara, Davis and Irvine also break the top 50.