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Online Classes: Quantity v. Quality

Cartoon Computer

More than 1 million K-12 students take online courses, ranging from make-up classes to the Florida Virtual School and other wide-scale providers. Proponents say Web-based courses allow schools to offer credit recovery, the fastest-growing area, as well as a richer menu of electives and Advanced Placement classes when there are not enough students to fill a classroom. Critics, however, contend that the rise of online learning reflects a desire by school districts to spend less on teachers and buildings — especially as state and local budget crises force deep cuts to education — and note a lack of sound research showing that online courses are comparable to face-to-face learning.

The New York Times (4/5/11) looked at Memphis, home to one of the most ambitious online programs of its kind. There, every student must take an online course to graduate, beginning with current high school sophomores., and the city is spending $164 per student per course. Officials for Memphis City Schools say they want to give students skills they will need in college, where online courses are increasingly common, and in the 21st-century workplace.

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One Response to “Online Classes: Quantity v. Quality”

  1. I think since the US and other world-powers have obviously grown to be an “information-worker” economy, the fact is that jobs and thus college preparation are heavily weighted towards activity online.

    I myself find it more difficult to learn in an online format, but I still have to do tons of it on a daily basis.

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