Directory of Distance Learning Opportunities, K-12

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Each year millions of students pursue their education without leaving their homes. Distance learning activities make it possible for these students to accomplish goals they might otherwise never have been able to attain. The relatively recent introduction of Internet-based programs has created an enormous potential for more students than ever to study outside the traditional classroom setting. Virtual high school programs have been established in Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada, and Utah. Other states are in the process of developing programs. School districts are developing their own programs and are offering Internet-based courses. The largest programs offer an online version of every required high school course so that students may earn a diploma or equivalent certificate without setting foot in the school. Availability of programs can be on a worldwide or nationwide basis or restricted to students in a local school district.

Other institutions make it possible for students to earn credit(s) toward their local high school diploma program. Students who have scheduling problems or need to make up courses in a particular subject may enroll in various high school programs and transfer that credit to their local school. Students may also take Advanced Placement (AP) courses of the College Board that prepare them for admission to college courses upon successful completion. In many cases, students may receive both high school and college credit for the AP courses.

Although delivery methods may be similar, homeschooling for young children follows a different approach. Homeschooling is parent-guided and is most prevalent for kindergarten through fifth grade. Parents are the teachers and are responsible for maintaining the necessary discipline required for successful completion of coursework. K12, Inc., founded by Dr. William Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education and author of the best-selling The Educated Child, is a major supplier of homeschool materials for kindergarten through fifth grade, all offered via the Internet. Materials grades 6 through 12 will be added as lesson materials are created.

Homeschooling has been legal in all 50 states since the late 1980s. Each state has its own requirements, and some states are more accommodating than others. Interested parents should contact their school district authorities for current government regulations.


Institutions cited in this Directory responded to inquiries and supplied catalogs and other descriptive, informative literature. Most all institutions have web sites where more specific information can be found. Availability of courses and the costs for enrollment and materials vary by institution and are subject to change without notice. Prospective registrants should contact the institution of interest for current information.

The Directory is an overview of K-12 distance learning opportunities in the United States and includes over 6,000 courses offered for grades K-12 by the 154 institutions and consortium members listed. Examples of consortium participants include: The Virtual High School, a collaborative of high schools throughout the United States and abroad that make education available online at any time of day; StarNet of Texas, represented in over 30 states and a leader in blending distance learning technology using live interactive satellite broadcasts with CD-ROM and web-based integration; the Star Schools projects, delivering distance education courses and services using many technologies, including satellite delivery systems, open broadcasts, cable, and the Internet. More virtual schools are being created each month and the efforts of more state-supported and local school districts are being funded every year.

Coursework and teaching materials are developed by a variety of sources. Some institutions, particularly those offering print-based courses, use local faculty for both course development and instruction. Other institutions offer web-based courses that have been developed by commercial firms, such as Apex Learning and Nova Net.

System platforms that enable controlled access to the web sites also can be supplied by commercial firms, e.g. Blackboard, Inc. and eCollege. These firms supply the equipment and software necessary for the institution or school district to make courses available, either locally, nationwide, or worldwide.


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Directory of Distance Learning Opportunities, K-12
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Introduction v
  • Academy of Home Education 1
  • Independent Study in Idaho 94
  • Jeffconet Academy 107
  • Oklahoma State University 158
  • Star Schools 187
  • University of Colorado at Boulder 217
  • Subject Index of Courses Offered, by Level 283
  • Course Level Index 299
  • Geographic Index 301


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