Thursday, November 08, 2007

Access and Equity in Online Classes and Virtual Programs

The NACOL Virtual School Symposium was held this week in Louisville. They had initially hoped for 600, 800 registered. This conference grows every year.

The Research Committee (of which I'm a member) produced two Issues Briefs which were given to most all the attendees. (They ran out of the print version because they weren't expecting 800 attendees.) I was the primary author on Access and Equity in Online Classes and Virtual Schools. Bob Blomeyer contributed significantly to the paper which is freely available on the NACOL website.

I know of nothing else that provides the detail about the equity and access issues facing K-12 online education we do in that paper. We also connect the issues to the relevant Federal legislation, and we make recommendations for virtual education course and program design.

Our concern is that virtual programs are not meeting all their legal responsibilities in these areas, and not thinking at the depth they need to in order to address their legal responsibilities. I'm predicting that within the next year there will some sort of legal action against a virtual education program in K-12 for failure to address access or equity issues. Higher education has already seen legal suits on these issues.

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