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Last updated: 14.02.12

US school districts consider online learning

School districts in the US are set to hold a meeting at which they will discuss the possibility of online learning being introduced into their educational offerings.

Budget talks at Saucon Valley, Bethlehem Area and Easton Area in the coming weeks are all going to include discussions on whether or not to expand the range of e-learning courses being offered at educational facilities in the region.

According to a report by the Express-Times, Dean Donaher, Bethlehem’s director of student services, argued online learning options do "carry weight", while an argument was presented for niche study areas being better covered as a result.

Superintendent at the facility Joseph Roy added: "It is a more competitive environment, so school districts need to be more competitive."

He also pointed out any online learning courses introduces at the educational establishment would have to adhere to the "rigorous" standards in place at the location.

Stephen Furst, Easton's director of teaching and learning, explained the start-up costs involved in setting up e-learning portals is the only reason the body has held back so far.

Online learning courses are currently being developed in the area by Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21 and executive director Elaine Eib noted that the aim of the programme is to provide "capacity building" as a result of the launch.

She said: "We want the home school to be able to develop online learning from within their schools rather than have a vendor do it for them."

Earlier in the month, it was revealed in the 2011 Sloan Consortium study from Babson Survey Research Group titled Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States 2011 that millions of students used e-learning over the course of 2011.

Students were also asked to give examples of places they had accessed online learning courses, with sports locker rooms, hot tubs, Walt Disney World and a karaoke bar among the answers provided by the respondents.