Distance Learning

Stanford Delivering First-Ever Dual-Enrollment Course for High Schoolers

Stanford University is delivering its first-ever dual-enrollment class with 15 high schools across the country. A fall 2021 pilot has enrolled 220 students Computer Science 105, an introductory course for students who attend high schools where at least 40% of students live in low-income households.

This is the first initiative undertaken by a new office at Stanford charged with broadening equity and access to higher education through digital pathways. The Office of the Vice Provost for Digital Education will "incubate and support" digital education initiatives across the institution, to "serve the public good."

For this first program, Digital Education is working with the National Education Equity Lab, a nonprofit that works to bridge the gap between high school and college. The duo intends to offer additional courses later in the year, all credit-bearing.

Stanford lecturer Patrick Young, who is leading the course, worked with Digital Education and the Ed Equity Lab to design lessons for a group of students who may not have much background in the subject.

"The goal is college-level rigor with support designed to meet the needs of high school students," Young said in a statement.

The high schoolers attend the class as part of their daily school schedules. Stanford alumni and students serve as section leaders and advisors. Teachers from each of the 15 participating high schools are in the classrooms to facilitate and help with each lesson; all have received professional development and support from Stanford's Transforming Learning Accelerator.

The dual-enrollment program hopes to encourage students from underrepresented backgrounds to aim higher in their college pursuits. According to program officials, research has shown that most high-achieving high school students from low-income families don't apply to or attend "selective" colleges "where they would have opportunities to flourish."

"Our work is rooted in the fact that talent is evenly distributed, opportunity is not," said Leslie Cornfeld, Ed Equity Lab's chief executive officer. "By connecting our college partners with our nation's historically underserved high schools, we aim to change that, at scale. Stanford's effort shows what it looks like for a university to play a leadership role in broadening educational opportunity."

The new Digital Education office at Stanford is led by Matthew Rascoff, newly appointed as vice provost for digital education. In a campus interview, Rascoff explained that the new office "has a distinct mission — to advance education innovation for equity and opportunity."

He said that he expected the office to curate and negotiate partnerships with outside organizations, that will help the university "contribute to a more just, equitable and accessible system of education by uniting Stanford's human and technological capabilities in new combinations."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.