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Online courses in high school?



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 4:28PM

As the world becomes increasingly more digital, schools face the decision about whether or not they will offer online courses for credit.

ConVal offers blended learning labs, which include online courses that provide students with options based on their needs. The district offers four types of online courses, two of which allow students to obtain high-school credit, one that offers credit recovery, and another that offers high-school credit and an adult high school diploma program.

As of Friday, there were about 203 students enrolled in one of the four online programs.

The majority of those students, 133, are enrolled in the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, or VLACS, which provides students with more than 120 courses, 28 college courses and with 16 AP courses.

Students can also enroll in an online program called Fuel Education, which offers credit-recovery courses and courses for students who learn at a different pace. ConVal has 35 students enrolled in the credit-recovery portion of the program that is geared towards individuals who have failed a core class and needs to recover their credit to meet graduation requirements.

Fueled also offers courses that help target specific needs for students at risk and those who learn at a slower pace. There are 14 students who are enrolled in the program.

Another program, called BYU, or Brigham Young University Independent Study, offers courses for all students although it’s mainly used for Adult High School Diploma Program. There are 21 people enrolled in the course at ConVal.

According to the state’s Department of Education page, students from public and nonpublic school may take online courses if they are approved by their school administrations and governing bodies. The courses can be used toward completion of high school graduation requirements and a regular high school diploma if approved by the school’s administration.

“The decision to accept online work for credit rests solely with the public or private school at which the individual student is enrolled,” the state’s website says.

The department says it encourages schools to evaluate online programs and consider awarding credit for participation in online programs. It says many of the programs are rigorous and may be recognized by various accrediting agencies, while others are suspect.

The only online school currently approved by the state’s department is VLACS, which is based out of Exeter. It says it currently has no process in place to approve other online school located in or out of state.

“This is not a comment on the quality of education provided by such schools. We simply do not have a means to review and approve them,” it says.

No one at the department was able to answer questions about online courses across the state on Monday, presumably due to the weather.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.