Our programs and courses have been online since 1996. There are several organizations that track the progress of online post-secondary enrollments including Eduventures and the Sloan Consortium. There’s no doubt that the convenience of online post-secondary programs is a major reason that more and more adults are continuing or furthering their college education through online degree programs.
In the K-12 market, online schools have been gaining popularity too. K-12 may be the most famous of the online programs, having gone public in December of 2007 after beginning its online programs in 1999. K-12 offers online charter schools in 26 states (including the District of Columbia) as well as private programs. Connections Academy is another educational company that runs online charter school programs in 15 states. K-12 and Connections Academy aren’t the oldest K-12 distance education programs, but have the advantage of being started after the advent of the internet.
There are several ways that online K-12 programs and classes provide advantages to students, educators, and parents. Homeschooling has become more popular over the past 20 years. Not every parent is talented enough to provide supervision and direction to their child through kits from correspondence schools or publishing houses. Online courses can provide qualified instructors for subjects where the parent feels uncomfortable explaining the content. In states where there are shortages of qualified teachers, particularly in the areas of science and mathematics, online courses can provide an avenue of instruction for schools unable to find qualified teachers locally. In thinly populated areas, online instruction could provide a source of education for areas unable to afford or to attract specialists such as advanced placement teachers. In the event of a natural disaster, school fire, or other disruption, online schools could provide a continuation of education even if the students and faculty were located in separate states. In such situations, it is unlikely that traditional brick and mortar schools could do the same. Rules and regulations governing K-12 education may block online opportunities in many school districts around the country and have convinced our management team to continue to focus on the opportunities in post-secondary education.