Piping Online College Courses to High Schools

November 19, 2001

College-bound students at Vallejo High School will tap into an innovative online chemistry class at the University of California, Berkeley, in the campus’s first attempt to provide local high schools with access to introductory college courses.

WHEN: 11:00 a.m. Monday, Nov. 19

WHERE: Vallejo High School, Room 30, 840 Nebraska St., Vallejo

BACKGROUND: As part of a new outreach effort to California schools, UC Berkeley will extend the reach of its Digital Chem 1A program to local high schools. The first to benefit will be students in Vallejo High School’s advanced placement chemistry class, who on Monday will “virtually” join students from UC Berkeley in the class lecture by watching a real-time Webcast of the class. This trial dovetails with a new University of California effort to develop advanced placement high school classes from university courses in areas such as calculus, biology and chemistry.

Alex Pines, a professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley, will present the lecture in Pimentel Auditorium on the UC Berkeley campus. On the Vallejo end, Thomas Knight, one of the advanced placement chemistry teachers at Vallejo High School, will moderate and facilitate viewing of the Webcast by presenting PowerPoint slides as they are presented at UC Berkeley.

“Today’s demonstration will serve as a model for technologically driven outreach from the UC Berkeley campus to high schools across California,” said Mark Kubinec, director of Digital Chem 1A and a lecturer in the College of Chemistry. “This also is a prelude to what we hope will become a self-contained program for high school advanced placement classes anywhere in the country.”

Digital Chem 1A was developed two years ago as a new approach to teaching Chemistry 1A – general, introductory chemistry – at UC Berkeley. Students still attend a traditional lecture, but all notes are available in PowerPoint format. They are also able to view the lecture and related class notes live via the course’s Web site. All lectures also are available from a searchable digital archive.