Online Learning: Policy Trends in the United States

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1 Online Learning: Policy Trends in the United States Susan Patrick President and CEO, NACOL John Watson Founder, Evergreen Consulting

2 K-12 Online Learning Benefits E-learning: strategy for addressing school reform Teacher quality and shortages Access to a high quality, rigorous curriculum for every student Science, Technology, Math and Engineering (STEM) Foreign languages (Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Latin, etc.) AP and advanced courses Student engagement Engaging, emphasis on writing and interaction Remediation for on-time graduation Core courses Credit recovery and remediation Cost-effectiveness Every state model is different and may include: Supplemental programs - State or district virtual school programs help meet the need for more middle grades and high school academic courses Full-time K-12 virtual schools - cyber charter schools help meet choice options for parents in 18 states Both or all of the above

3 National Online Learning Trends: Explosive Growth Growth of 30% annually nationwide K-12 Online Learning enrollments growing 2000, there were 50,000 enrollments in K-12 online courses 2003, there were 320,000 enrollments in K-12 online courses 2005, there were 508,000 enrollments in K-12 online courses 2006, there were 700,000 enrollments in K-12 online courses 2007, there were 1,000,000 enrollments in K-12 online courses

4

5 National Online Learning Trends More than 50% of school districts in the United States offer online courses to students (QED, America s Digital Schools, 2006) 1 in 5 undergraduate and graduate student enrolls in an online course in higher education in the U.S.; there are 3.5 million online learning enrollments in higher education (Sloan-C, 2007) More universities are offering K-12 courses online Stanford, John Hopkins, University of Miami, etc.

6 Change in online programs size,

7

8 State Program Models, Policies and Legislative Trends

9 State example: Florida Growth and Sustainable Funding 100,000 course registrations in Florida Virtual School Funding 1/6 FTE based on successful completion, not seat time School districts may not limit access to courses offered through virtual school 2008 law requires that districts make online learning available to all students

10 Course registrations, Florida Virtual School

11 State example: Florida 2007 Florida Tax Watch Report: Students academically performed better Served higher population of underserved students New standard of accountability Better use of tax payer dollars with results

12 State Trends: Georgia Georgia Department of Education Professional Development Online Teaching Endorsement Georgia Virtual School AP Courses: Year 1 Core/Basic Courses: Year 2 Credit Recovery: Year 3

13 State example: Missouri Rare state-led program that is both High school and elementary Full-time and supplemental Different model: run by a very small SEA staff contracting with outside providers

14 State example: Michigan Online Learning Graduation Requirement First state to require online learning in 2006 as part of updated, more rigorous high school graduation requirements In new requirements: every student must have an online learning experience or course before graduating from high school Why? Need for online learning is greatest with students to access skills they will need to get ahead and compete in an increasingly technological workplace

15 State Trends: NM New Mexico P-20 E-Learning Network AP and college preparatory courses in high school Dual/concurrent enrollment Core content area courses Foreign languages Remediation Offered by: Universities Community Colleges K-12 Pre-K

16 State example: Alabama ACCESS Ties online learning to tech infrastructure $30M over 3 years: upgrade network, 21st century classrooms, train teachers, invest in content Goal: To deliver high quality courses to students statewide via online learning ACCESS students: Chinese, French, German and Latin; advanced placement (AP) calculus, AP English literature and composition, AP macroeconomics, and marine science are courses now available "Using technology to provide those opportunities not only increases the rigor of instruction, but it also acclimates students to the use of technology and prepares them for a 21st century workforce. - Governor Riley

17 State example: Wisconsin Lawsuit challenged full-time online schools over funding and role of teachers and parents Online schools were threatened with closing and losing all funding Legislature heard from students, parents, teachers, responded by updating law and changing the definitions in the education code to explicitly allow online schools

18 State example: Colorado State audit in late 2006 found many problems with lack of oversight by the state Trujillo Commission and state Board of Education task force made recommendations Legislature took action: followed recommendations to allow for sustainable growth of online programs by introducing limited regulation and reporting Common to CO and WI: initial questions about online learning due to audit or lawsuit, subsequent review of laws and regulations; then, action and support from the legislature to address online learning innovations

19 Challenges and Recommendations for States: Online Learning Different models in all 50 states Financial: Equitable funding models Reducing inequity Funding based on seat-time not viable; performance-based; competency Funding systems should be fair and flexible for both traditional and online models Equity: Expanding Access for All Students Regulatory policy has not kept pace with innovation of allowing online learning for all students Program and Teacher Quality Quality assurance should be fair for both traditional and online models Online Courses Online Teaching Online Program oversight and accountability Teacher Preparation Different set of skills for online teaching (offer in pre-service and in-service) Professional development and certification True teaching reciprocity needed across states (as in North Dakota) to deal with teaching shortages

20 Resources Professional Development NACOL hosts conference: Virtual School Symposium (Phoenix, October 2008) NACOL Monthly Webinars National Quality Standards for K-12 Online Learning NACOL National Standards of Quality for Online Course NACOL National Quality Standards for Online Teaching Coming... National Standards of Quality for K-12 Online Learning Institutions K-12 Online Learning Reports Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning by John Watson, Evergreen Consulting NACOL Promising Practices Series Blended Learning Credit Recovery NACOL National Primer on K-12 Online Learning NACOL Research Reports: Access and Equity in K-12 Online Learning Professional Development for Virtual Schools 21st Century Skills and Virtual Schools Identifying Needs of States for Online Courses and Services NACOL State Needs Assessments Project (11 states)

21 Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make usage look like a rounding error. - John Chambers, Cisco CEO

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