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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dept. of Ed Report - Online Learning

Last week I posted a link to an online session entitled Free Webcast on Online Learning by U.S. Department of Education - Please Attend!. I caught the last twenty-thirty minutes, but the sound didn't work for me so I had to follow the text transcript.

Yesterday, this was posted to one of the NACOL forums...
Congratulations to VHS, Florida Virtual, Colorado Online Learning and other NACOL members who are previewed in this report and who, no doubt, urged the Department of Ed to publish this report. Well written and good stats. And, a good validation of Keeping Pace (2007). See link to the report at the end of the press release.

Department of Education
FOR RELEASE: December 12, 2007, Contact: Casey Ruberg, (202) 401-1576
Guide Outlines Practices to Improve Student Access to Advanced Courses Online

U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education Morgan Brown today joined a panel of national education leaders and experts to launch Connecting Students to Advanced Courses Online, a guide for district and school administrators who are working to provide students with greater access to online advanced coursework. Panelists including Thomas Matts of the College Board, Liz Pape of Virtual High School and two high school administrators discussed a range of issues featured in the new publication, from what services to expect from online providers to how to ensure course quality. The discussion was Webcast live to hundreds of district and school administrators across the U.S.

"As we work to provide families with more educational options, Connecting Students to Advanced Courses Online offers innovative approaches for school administrators to make advanced courses more accessible to all students," said Secretary Spellings. "In our highly-competitive world, advanced courses online will help America's students prepare for college and compete in the global workforce."
According to the National Center for Education Statistic's most recent analysis, more than a quarter of high school students did not have access to advanced coursework in English, math, science and foreign languages at their home school. Only 58 percent of high school students had access to at least two advanced courses, with small rural schools offering the least opportunity to take advanced classes. At a time where 90 percent of the fastest growing jobs require at least some postsecondary education, it is critical that our nation prepare students for the rigorous coursework of college.

Today, many administrators are turning to online courses to provide a practical and effective means of delivering advanced coursework to students. Connecting Students to Advanced Courses Online examines six case studies, ranging in geographic location and organizational type, of online course providers in Lakewood, Colo. (Colorado Online Learning); Orlando, Fla. (Florida Virtual School); Iowa City, Iowa (Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy); Baltimore, Md. (Johns Hopkins University - Center for Talented Youth); Lansing, Mich. (Michigan Virtual High School); and Maynard, Mass. (Virtual High School). In each example, the provider demonstrates how implementing online classes can enrich curricula and enable a greater number of students to challenge themselves.

Connecting Students to Advanced Courses Online is available online at Connecting Students to Courses Online.

This book is one of a series of innovation guides produced by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement. All books in this series are available as free downloads at Dept of Ed Innovation Guide
I'll see if I can't gander at the report over the holidays and report back on it in January. Until then, any thoughts...

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