Distance Learning: Comparing Stanford and Berkeley

Thursday, March 9, 2017
12:00pm to 1:00pm with lunch to follow
Academic Innovation Studio Dwinelle 117 
Founding Executive Director of the Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education (BRCOE) & Dean of UC Berkeley Extension
Associate Professor of Education and Sociology & Director, Center for Advanced Research through Online Learning (CAROL)


Distance learning has become a significant method of conducting higher education in recent years, facilitated by enhanced information and visual technologies. Such initiatives as massive open online courses (MOOCs) are now commonplace. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this approach? This colloquium will present perspectives by Professor Mitchell Stevens, who has studied the Stanford experience, and by Dr. Diana Wu, a thought leader and implementer of several key programs at UC Berkeley. The speakers will note the histories of distance learning at Berkeley, Stanford, and elsewhere and consider how the past might inform the present and the future. 


Diana Wu is Founding Executive Director of the Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education (BRCOE), created in 2012 to serve the UC Berkeley campus.  BRCOE’s team of 45 full-time staff works with faculty in schools and departments throughout the university to support online innovation and to build online education courses including MOOCs, credit courses, certificate programs, and master’s degree programs.  BRCOE supports campus partners on program design and development, marketing and recruitment, pedagogical innovation, media production, and course support and delivery. Since its inception, BRCOE has worked with faculty to develop 250 courses and worked with 26 separate UC departments on various online projects.

Wu has also been the Dean of UC Berkeley Extension since 2008.  The Extension team includes 170 staff (some shared with BRCOE) and 1400 instructors, serving 44,000 ground-based and online enrollments annually in 2,600 class sections and 70 certificate and professional programs.  Both BRCOE and Extension foster organizational cultures centered around student learning and are dedicated to access, academic excellence, and programmatic innovation.

Wu received her BA from Stanford and her MA and EdD from UCLA.

Mitchell L. Stevens is Associate Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Sociology at Stanford, where he also serves as Director of Data Policy for the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and founding director of the Center for Advanced Research through Online Learning (www.carol.org). With Susan Silbey (MIT), he organized the convening that produced the Asilomar Convention for Learning Research in Higher Education(http://asilomar-highered.info). A political economist of higher education, he is the author of Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites (Harvard, 2007) and co-editor of Remaking College: The Changing Ecology of Higher Education (Stanford 2015).