Covering everything from global climate change to game theory, 26 new online offerings from the University of California will debut in January. The program marks the university system's first top-tier cyber courses, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Supporters hope that the courses' highly-detailed animation and interactive lessons will encourage students to learn and succeed. Not only will the lessons educate, but they will provide an opportunity for professors who created them to gather data on their effectiveness, vice provost Daniel Greenstein told the newspaper.
"Some of our courses will be absolutely stunning," Greenstein told the Chronicle. "But we're not going to just knock people's socks off. We want to identify what works."
UC Berkeley Law School Dean Christopher Edley hopes the program also will have a unique funding structure: selling at least 7,000 spots in the classes to non-UC students - specifically Chinese residents and U.S. soldiers.
Online education - such as that for students working toward business degrees - is experiencing a huge jump in popularity. Sixty-one percent of four-year liberal arts schools and 79 percent of research universities offer online courses, according to a Pew Research Center study.