Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Should High Schools Require Online Courses?

Some states are considering making it mandatory for high school students to take courses online. A group of lawmakers in Florida, for example, is proposing bills that mandate at least one online course in order to graduate and that open up the possibility for full-time online education for students K-12. In Idaho, the governor and the state superintendent are pushing for a requirement of at least four online courses.

Thousands of high school students already take Internet-based courses to make up credit, to have more choices of electives, or to take Advanced Placement classes not offered in their school.

In Tennessee, Memphis City Schools has developed an online program where every student, beginning the sophomore year, must take an online course to graduate. Sometimes the students complete their online course in a computer lab inside the school, during the regular school day, where a faculty or staff member is in the same room.

The school district points out that offering online courses helps prepare students for college, where they will likely take at least some courses online. Taking online courses in high school may help students build skills they will need in college and career.

Opponents to requiring online courses for high school students say that there is no research showing that online courses are as effective as instructor-led courses for K-12 students and that the push to require online courses for high school students is only fueled by a need to save money.

Administrators and instructors, what is your opinion about requiring high school students to take courses online?

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