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Online Education, How Does it Work?

June 24, 2015 1:57 AM

By Katie Schultz

This is the age of technology. Technology has rapidly revolutionized our daily lives, whether at home, work, and/or school. It has even allowed the classroom to enter the home for both teachers and students. Online K-12 education has grown in popularity over the past several years. Over half of the states now offer online schooling options.

Virtual learning is a concept many have embraced. However, some question it's validity. Online schooling is an alternative to the traditional school setting. Just like traditional schools, some online schools are public, tuition-free institutions, while others are private and require students to pay a tuition. Public online schools are either run by the state or by a school district; which means state run online schools are funded through the state government, and the district online school programs operate primarily on public funding. Public online schools usually supply students with a computer and textbooks- and some want the students to provide themselves with the necessary equipment. Other online schools are run by for-profit companies or non-profit companies.

Like traditional schooling, online schools are staffed by qualified teachers. Some even work from home themselves, or in an office building. This provides a relaxed, safe learning and teaching environment.

With individualized learning plans, student's needs are being met in an interesting way. They have the flexibility to work on concepts that trouble them for a longer amount of time, day or night, and have real-time instruction by the teacher; either through web cam/chat room, email, and/or phone. Regular communication between the students, teachers, and caregivers is required for most programs to ensure the student's success in their academics.

Success rates for students who are taught online differ from program to program due to different state requirements and the overall design of the program. However, no compelling research currently being conducted that could provide an interested family with the outcome data that they would use to make a decision on a school, like student success rates. It is known, however, that drop out rates are higher among online schools than in traditional schools.

Online education is a great option for individuals whom may not be physically able to attend a traditional school due to medical reasons. Along with that, it's an opportunity to attend school and hold down a job during the day. On the other hand, it is easier to slack off if a particular student is not self-disciplined, or to ignore coursework altogether.

Online schooling has been a success for many; for others it has been a nuisance. With the number of students converting to online schools increasing each school year, it will be interesting what the next few years will bring for online schools.
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