Thursday, February 14, 2008

Online Learning Hits High Schools Big Time

As a follow up to a blog I posted this week, I have two additions:

CT Launches Virtual Learning Center

High school students in Connecticut can take online Algebra, Geometry, English, Civics, and Health. Connecticut Virtual Learning Center operates at no cost to school systems, and credits issued to students transfer to their own high schools. The pilot project, funded through an $850,000 state grant, will enroll about 500 students each semester. The Connecticut Education Network, which connects all school districts in the state, will serve The Connecticut Virtual Learning Center to deliver the course content. Students who fail courses will be able to avoid summer school by earning the credits through the online courses taken in the school year. Another perk is students wil have access to course difficult to run within a local school system, for instance, Mandarin Chinese, Biotechnology and International Business. The Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC), which sponsors our Saint Joseph College Blackboard platform, will assist with hosting, technical and administrative support, and other aspect. Connecticut certified teachers trained to teach online high school courses will teach the courses.
To read more about the new Virtual school, check this government document:

North Carolina Leading the Way

I just learned that The Chapel Hill-Carrboro, North Carolina school district plans to run its high school summer school program entirely online. State law prohibits charging students in need of remediation in paying for summer school courses. Students attending summer school for remediation will meet in labs on school sites. The online method reduces district's expenditures. Fewer teachers are hired with a higher student-to-teacher ratio. Teachers will monitor students in the labs. Students will work at their own pace and their variety of skills levels will be better served through individualized instruction.

In North Carolina, high school students have already had access to state’s Virtual Public School. Their online teachers design the assignments, track of student work, and work with students via e-mail and electronic communication channels. To read more about North Carolina’s venture, use this link and then click on the link, Summer School Goes Online:

Also, check this local newspaper article on the story:

What are your opinions on the summer school online program? Read our blog February and comments for additional information on online learning. To what extent, do you think online learning, already prevalent in higher education, will hit the K-12 scene? Can you see why for some students and school districts online learning might be a viable option?


tina miller said...

I think this is a great way to use the virtual school for summer school. I remember learning through a friend that students had to pay for summer school and I thought about those families who could not afford it. Children suffer and then have to repeat a course the following year. I also saw today that there is a recommendation to increas the number of credis to graduate. Given this it is nice to have the virtual option. Also for students who may need to work in the summer or who lack one course to graduate I think these are terrific options. These two articles represent excellent ways to use the technology to the benefit of all while reducing the cost. It may also avoid some of the stigma associated with having to go to summer school depending on how it is administered. Thanks for the follow-up and info from NC & CT

Debbie said...

While my first instinct is to say this is great - I am wondering how it will impact two areas of students lives: (1) health and (2) achievement. Being on the computer for long periods of time effects student posture and wrists. Will prolonged periods of time on the computer cause other problems for them in the future? On the side of achieveemnt - I will be interested to see if how online courses effect student achievement on standard tests. Will they fill in instructional gaps that we are missing in the classroom? Will this be a lifesaver for students who need a more stimulating curriculum to achieve at high standards? This is so new, I will be excited to see what turns it takes.

mary kate said...

I heard a story on NPR about the state of Virginia offering a wide selection of courses online for high school credit. The topics of these courses sounded extremely specific and catered to particular student interests. It seemed like a really great way to allow students to take initiative for their own educations. They can study topics that interest them rather than a limited set of electives that can be offered through the regular public school setting.

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