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Bexley Schools may add online courses to curriculum
When Bexley Schools Superintendent Michael L. Johnson came on board in 2001, one of his goals was to have every student take at least one online course for school credit.
Bexley students may be on their way.
At their March 16 meeting, school board members passed a resolution asking Johnson to look into adding online courses to the district's graduation requirements.
Johnson told school board members that statistics show by 2019, almost 50 percent of instruction at the high school level will be delivered online.
The district already has expressed interest in adding personal finance courses to the curriculum - a possible online class.
"There are beginning to emerge in this particular area online learning at no to little cost," Johnson said.
Using the World Wide Web is nothing new to the education field, however.
Currently, teachers may use distance learning to obtain their master's degree, as well renew their certification. Several classrooms have incorporated the Internet in their curriculum as well.
Bexley students also have had the option of taking post-secondary courses through distance learning programs at universities such as Ohio State.
But online courses soon could play a bigger role in students' academics.
"I think we're going to have a healthy discussion in the state of Ohio," Johnson said.
Although Johnson said the administration does not have specific courses to recommend to the board yet, he wants to begin seeking input from board members, students and the community.
He stressed online courses are a way of the future, and pointed toward Stanford University's Education Program for Gifted Youth Online High School as an example.
The California school is solely online-based, and students across the country may enroll and earn a high school diploma. The school will open with its first class during the 2009-2010 school year.
"There are online high schools emerging everywhere," Johnson said.
School board member Diane Peterson said while she understands the need to have independent learning, she's concerned with the amount of face-to-face dialog students will receive.
"That will really change the look of the high school," she said in response to statistics that show more students will engage in online learning 10 years from now.
Johnson said if the district incorporates online learning, the board could at first decide to limit which courses are offered and the amount of credit students could earn. As other opportunities reveal themselves, the district's policy could expand.
The online courses likely would be electives at first, Johnson said. Implementing these courses would change the way instruction has been delivered, but most likely not change teacher-to-student ratios, he added.
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