Virtual Schools Sampler
Online delivery has been quite popular at the university level. We are now seeing offering at the high school and even grade school levels.
Many offerings augment traditional face-to-face learning and/or provide professional development for teachers. Some are designed to replace traditional classrooms for select student populations.
Arizona Virtual Academy is an example of the free-to-students on-line schools now available. With individualized learning approaches, their goal is to provide a quality education, and encourage interaction with other nearby students and families.
They also offer K12 Blended Learning, a tuition-free program that combines the best of online learning with a structured classroom environment at six locations throughout Arizona.
The Virtual High School provides a way for schools and school districts to augment their local offerings with additional classes for students and professional development for teachers.
Many colleges now provide on-line courseware. MIT has taken the extra step of identifying their OpenCourseWare materials that are most useful for high school students and teachers. What does your local universities offer?
Olin Virtual Academy 's list of questions can give you a idea of why on-line high schools have become an alternative.
- Do you like to work independently and at your own pace?
- Are you involved in a sports program or in the entertainment industry that requires traveling?
- Are you falling behind in school and are afraid that you're not going to graduate on time?
- Would you like to graduate early and receive your high school diploma before your friends?
- Do you have a job and need a more flexible school schedule?
- Are you being bullied at school and would like to be in a safer environment?
- Do you feel that you don't fit in at your school and would like to try something new?
- Are other students at your school distracting you from advancing?
- Would you like to receive your high school diploma at the comfort of your own home?
The Concord Consortium offers virtual high school seminars online. Its goal is not to duplicate core curriculum but provide seminars on topics that are difficult for many schools, such as those in rural areas or in financially strapped urban schools, to offer, such as AP classes. The bulk of the learning is problem-centered and, unlike one way satellite broadcasts, students can participate in online discussions and projects.
Open School BC designs, develops and distributes educational resources and services to public sector clients and K–12 schools in Canada. It operates on a cost-recovery basis within the Ministry of Education.
Check to see what resources are available in your state.
The Concord Consortium has over 35 active projects, covering a wide variety of areas, including
- free interactive, visual heat transfer simulation software for the classroom,
- providing an easy-to-use web-based data analysis platform, geared toward middle and high school students, &
- investigating how incorporating elements of gaming into science curricula could help increase students' engagement & motivation.
The California Virtual Campus provides complete, timely, and accurate information about online courses and programs in California higher education. They offer a Associate Degree for Transfer that guarantees admission to the California State University (CSU) system with junior standing.
Virtual University is the oldest e-learning community on the Internet, and one of the earliest sites built on the Web, launched in 1994.
VU is now transitioning from a content producer to a gateway for global e-learning resources, connecting users to thousands of free and low-cost courses now available on the Web. They are also developing a platform that will allow students to create and self-manage a digital portfolio of CEU credits earned for courses taken as well as non-academic Life Experience credits.
Many of the innovative online teaching methods pioneered at VU are widely used on other virtual campuses today.
The Open University is another example, this one from the United Kingdom, of universities taking their courses on line.
On-line courseware is especially useful in settings where content expertise is not available at all sites. One school district may not be able to offer advanced placement courses via a "real" teacher at all secondary schools because student enrollment numbers would not be high enough to support the cost of a staff member. This limitation occurs in rural areas often or in districts suffering budget losses.