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June 15, 2010 10:00 AM Another Kind of Consolidation

By Daniel Luzer

Why should a professor teach one class if he can simultaneously teach three or four? That’s that latest news from Pittsburgh where, according to an article by Bill Schackner in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Leaders of Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities want more of their students to enroll in collaborative degree programs that would rely on courses and instructors based on more than one campus.
A report being presented in Harrisburg Monday to the faculty union is expected to include recommendations for “shared programs” in foreign languages like French, German and Spanish and in physics, said State System of Higher Education officials, including Karen Ball, vice chancellor for external relations.

The way this program is supposed to work students will take courses using “software that enables distance learning.” This will allow students to take courses from professors at other universities when programs don’t have enough students enrolled at individual schools.

No word yet on how much money this collaborative course thing is supposed to save Pennsylvania, but it’s clearly a thrift measure. Beginning July 1 the state university system will lose $38 million in federal stimulus money.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer