SAN FRANCISCO -- University of California leaders on Wednesday called for an expansion of online courses to help the 10-campus system contain costs, broaden access and hold down tuition rates.

UC President Mark Yudof said the university plans to launch several online education initiatives, including an incentive program to encourage faculty members to create digital versions of high-demand, entry-level courses.

"It's no secret that UC has hit a wall with regard to traditional instructional methods," Yudof said at the UC Board of Regents meeting. "The finances simply no longer exist to support the old model of instruction in many ways."

The board meeting in San Francisco was attended by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been pressing California colleges to embrace online education to make college more accessible and affordable.

In his 2013-2014 budget, Brown has proposed giving California's public colleges and universities more money, including $37 million to develop online classes. But in return, he wants them to control expenses and stop raising tuition and fees.

"There's a brute reality out there," Brown told the regents. "There's not a luxury of sitting in the present trajectory unless you don't mind paying ever increasing tuition."

At Brown's request, the university board invited to the meeting the founders of Coursera, edX and Udacity, which provide so-called massive online open courses, or MOOCs, that are attracting legions of students and reshaping the landscape of higher education.

"We can substantially improve the quality of education, not just by increasing access worldwide but also improving the quality of education on campus," said Anant Agarwal, president of edX, a joint venture by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The governor was at San Jose State University on Tuesday when campus officials announced partnership with Udacity to offer low-cost, entry-level classes for students inside and outside the California State University system.