Online Learning – Let’s Make it Better


Online education advocates have high hopes for what the move from the traditional classroom to the virtual one can do for education. The promises from advocacy groups such as Jeb Bush’s Digital Learning Now initiative are pretty fantastic. Students taking online courses experience personalized learning — anytime/anywhere — from a select pool of great teachers.

Many states see online education as a cost saving measure in addition to the convenience and improved quality offered by this innovation. Colorado, Florida, and Ohio are leading the charge in converting traditionally taught courses to virtual ones. In fact, almost every state has instituted online education programs for K-12 students that they hope will significantly reduce the cost of offering a standards-based course to a child.

Stanford University and Middlebury College have both allowed virtual schools to place their prestigious names on online courses offered to K-12 students. The Wall Street Journal recently published a review of the many successful online education programs, including those supported by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp  (the parent company of the WSJ) acquisition, Wireless Generation. The Washington Post ran a guest piece from the founders of the Innosight Institute outlining the path to a 2019 future, where 50% of all K-12 courses are taken online.

Many seem to be on board with this sweeping change of public education that will unshackle students from their desks, and allow the voices of the most gifted teachers to rise above the rest.

Why, then, does this climb to the mountaintop feel more like the Bataan death march?

Read the rest of this post at the New Media Consortium

3 thoughts on “Online Learning – Let’s Make it Better

  1. jeck smith

    The customisation and convenience that online learning resources afford has found an eager audience among both students and teachers. Their ability to extend the reach and accessibility of educational offerings to more students is the primary catalyst in their expanded role in education. But online resources also need to evolve because the times when computer was the primary interface are gone. It’s become important for online resource providers to deliver content and interaction effectively across all channels on multiple interfaces. CK-12 is leading the way in this with a technological platform that allows its FlexBooks to be compatible with all interfaces. CK12 FlexBooks are free to download, customizable and rich and standards aligned in content. For better understanding visit

    • I am a big fan of the flexbook, though I have not yet had the opportunity to use them in my own teaching. Neeru and I chatted at Big Ideas Fest about the possibility of CK-12 developing flexbooks for the International Baccalaureate curriculum. If they could make that happen, the flexbook could then deliver some of the highest quality curriculum that exists for secondary. Thanks for the comment, Jeck.

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