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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Students face new online class fee

Any class offered at the UA that is fully online will include a $50 fee effective in spring 2015.

Online courses will now be referred to as “iCourses,” and the schedule of classes for next semester has been updated to represent this change.

As stated on the Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Academic Initiatives and Student Success website, the change was made this past spring by UA officials.

The UA approved a $50-per-class fee for courses taught online to students enrolled in the traditional degree programs offered at the UA. Like any other fee passed by the university, the iCourse fee will be automatically added and billed with tuition.

The fee will be used for building an online learning experience for students that is nearly equal to the experience they would have in traditional UA classroom setting, according to the student affairs website.

“We want to start building the online world that we all take classes in, and ramp it up,” said Issac Ortega, president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona.

The fee will allow iCourse instructors to access an array of resources that will be specific to enhancing online learning experience, according to the website. The fee will also go toward assistance resources, such as “tutoring, advising, tech support and enhanced electronic learning tools.”

“I honestly think it will hopefully be a positive impact,” Ortega said.

A student advisory board for the iCourse fee, made up of undergraduate and graduate representatives, will be responsible for deciding what the money from the fee will be used for. Other duties the board will have include advising administrators and other staff regarding the use of funds associated with the iCourse fee, according to the website.

“From what I know, a lot of this money will go into building a new portal and a new way for students to get engaged online,” Ortega said.

The information from the student advisory board meetings will be posted to a central iCourse Fee website, which will be accessible to anyone.

According to the student affairs website, the advisory board plans on including an annual account of fees collected and how the money is being used.

“I think the university and students should support the fee,” Ortega said, “because we get a heavy input in exactly what the fee is used for, and I think that is the best part.”

However, there are mixed emotions about the new iCourse fee among those in the UA student body.

“I think it is unnecessary,” said Samantha Girodo, a pre-business freshman. “Some online courses are required for us to take, and they are using this fee to get more money from us.”

Edward Palacios, an undeclared freshman, said the new fee could stop students from taking online classes at the UA.

“I feel it impacts a lot of [underclassmen] because a lot of the [underclassmen] are undecided majors, including myself, and we go to take courses we don’t always understand or know exactly what we want to take,” Palacios said. “Online courses can help with that indecisiveness, because it gives a quicker version of a regular course.”

Girodo said she thinks the new online course fee will help with creating better resources for online classes, but that the fee could deter students from taking online classes.

“I think the fee will be beneficial to getting better tools online,” Girodo said, “but the price is far too high for the average college student who likes to take multiple online courses.”

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Follow Katelyn Caldwell on Twitter.

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