In higher education, distance learning has been around for a very long time. In fact, the University of London began offering degrees through a correspondence program in 1858. Modern technology is allowing the spread of distance learning programs at a rapid pace. Universities across the country are developing programs to compete in the growing online learning market. In K-12, however, traditional public schools have been much slower to adopt distance learning programs or to use technology to transform how they deliver instruction. Rather than using technology and distance learning to change how schools operate, many programs targeted at K-12 students are used to supplement traditional learning that a student’s local school offers.
One such program is the University of Missouri-Columbia’s (Mizzou) K-12 online learning program. Yesterday, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported that the program is adding additional courses for the 2012-13 school year. The university now offers 11 online courses for Missouri high school students at a cost of $350 each. This program will certainly be beneficial to many students throughout the state, but it is just one way to use technology to improve options for students.
For more information on digital learning in Missouri and how technology can help transform education, check out former Show-Me Institute Policy Analyst Audrey Spalding’s case study.