Last updated: 04.04.12

Tennessee lawmakers look into online learning

US lawmakers are advocating that virtual learning environments should be an integral part of reforms to education and are looking into how to set up these courses.An article in the Tennessee Report revealed legislators are debating rules that would make teacher-student ratios and similar requirements for real-world education applicable to online learning programmes.Authorities in Tennessee are looking into a bill titled HB3062, which would enable the Board of Education to enforce tutor-pupil proportions for e-learning courses and would ensure that academic providers adhere to these.While people would still be able to learn at their own pace, e-learning programs would need to offer the same amount of time for students to study and work in.Sponsor of the bill state representative Ryan Williams was quoted by the news source as saying: "There are many reasons why kids choose not to finish school and anything we can do to encourage them to stay in school and to get their diploma is a good thing.""It's my hope that through virtual education, we're able to offer other programs or services that we may or may not be able to in other schools," he added.Last year, legislators passed the Virtual Public Schools Act, which enabled charter establishments, educational boards and the state to sponsor online learning facilities.This policy had established curriculum requirements in virtual learning environments and set up requirements for teachers involved in these courses to have the same certifications as those in traditional classrooms.Susan Patrick, president and chief executive officer of the International Associaiton for K-12 Online Learning, pointed out 30 of the 50 states in the US allow full-time virtual schools, with around 225 of these establishments throughout the nation.The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has also set up online learning initiatives to find out how the platform can improve the value of teaching and promote connections between the facility and learners across the globe.