State school board approves online course requirement

Posted December 7, 2012

— North Carolina has become the sixth state in the country to require students to take an online course before they graduate.

The State Board of Education approved the measure Thursday in an effort to help students be better prepared to be 21st century learners beyond their secondary school years.

The requirement goes into effect with the graduating class of 2020, or current fifth-graders.

"We think it's important for them to have the opportunity to learn online before they graduate from high school," said Tracy Weeks, executive director of The North Carolina Virtual Public School, which oversees online courses for the state Department of Public Instruction. "The goal here is to give as much flexibility so districts can look at what makes sense for their needs."

State education officials, however, still need to look at the cost of the program and how it would work, including what courses would be offered.

"We're looking for as many flexible options and schools as possible," Weeks said.

NC school board approves online course requirement NC school board approves online course requirement

State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said the biggest challenge will be making sure all students have access to the technology they need.

"We are working very hard to find ways and make sure every student has a digital device and that every teacher has access to a wealth of material via computer, tablet, a smartphone – whatever the technology may be," Atkinson said.

Alabama, Michigan, Virginia and West Virginia already require students to pass at least one online course. Florida requires two online courses to graduate.


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  • westernwake1 Dec 7, 2012

    Most of the education in the corporate world is provided online these days. It will be very beneficial for students to experience at least one online course in their K-12 years. It will prepare them for the workplace.

  • acceptorchange Dec 7, 2012

    When taking an online course and you don't understand something so you raise your hand to ask a question....who answers? I think this may be leading toward our taxes providing every student with a computer which they will use to take all courses online while the teachers will teach from home. No supervision for the teachers or the students. But, no expense for school buildings, heating and cooling, buses, etc. Just look at the savings........and stupid students. But where will they put the obsolete computers?

  • busyb97 Dec 7, 2012

    Most of those kids have more skills and knowledge on computers than their parents! And how many have smartphones and know how to use them. Please. Make it an optional elective for those who DON'T already have this sort of skill or resource, not a REQUIREMENT that just costs us tons of money. You know they'll try to find a way to get the e-devices into kids hands, and people will bilk the system for free stuff who don't truly qualify.

  • storchheim Dec 7, 2012

    "The good thing is that if students don't have access to a compouter at home, they can always go to the public library (and many community colleges) and use computers after school hours for no charge." brand new handle

    You must be one of the beneficiaries of this little cash grab.

    The bad thing is that based on history, TheChildren won't be asked to go to that stupid old library where the computers are old and their mommies might have to drive them. And don't ask the mommies to pay either because don't you know, TheChildren are "OUR" future - when there's a bill to pay.

    Who does that leave? Who else, the taxpayers. But the story will say "the schools" provided the computers.

  • storchheim Dec 7, 2012

    "Maybe those who are legally blind will be excluded."

    cjw, fail me), YOU! How dare you discriminate against the blind! They have a RIGHT to taxpayer-funded computers! Now stop hatin' just cause they're different!

    (This is the second time today a scene from "Life of Brian" has played out on GOLO. Maybe the Mayans are right.)

  • storchheim Dec 7, 2012

    I'm gonna lose it. Bottom line? Find out whose crony Tracy Weeks is and you'll know whose head should roll.

    Atkinson next. I used to be glad she put Bev in her place, but now she's plainly telling us WE will buy the latest and greatest e-toys for each and every student in NC because hey, mommy doesn't want to cancel cable to pay for it herself and it's another way to steal money from the taxpayers. This is not being done with regard for children's benefit, it's another nail in our coffin and some big dough for a buddy.

    Did Weeks hire someone name Perdue, with a start date of 1/6/13, by any chance?

  • one_nc_citizen Dec 7, 2012

    kids already know how to use computers. They can figure out how to take an online class. Some one must be making money off this.

  • wolfpackfan15 Dec 7, 2012

    I agree with you gingerlynn. Cheating will most likely go up while the number of students actually learning the material and doing well will go down. I don't know that requiring online courses will actually be helpful in the long run. More convenient? Maybe. But not helpful in terms of being educated properly and knowing all of the required material, therefore being prepared for college and the "real world". And as for being better prepared for college, I don't know many people who take online courses in college, so I don't know that requiring online courses in high school will be helpful in that regard either. The only way I can see this being helpful is for those who want to skate by and not do the work required of them. Most students who do want to do well (myself personnaly when I was in high school), will probably prefer having a teacher in front of the class rather than a computerized version anyway. But that's just my opinion.

  • itsnotmeiswear Dec 7, 2012

    There are plenty of ways to validate the learning at control points in the process. The current model of education has to change. My daughter wouldn't be doing nearly as well in school if she had to just rely on her local high school teachers. Khan Academy is responsible for at least 40% of her learning.

  • djofraleigh Dec 7, 2012

    The poor Amish! The class could be take at school, and that would eliminate one teacher for all those taking this course since anyone could monitor such a class in the library. OR, maybe this is a foot in the door for a judge to order the state provide a computer and internet for all students taking this course at home.