Online education in Torrance High School? According to a story in yesterday's Daily Breeze, Mitzi Stover, an English teacher from North High School in Torrance, offers her junior English course her online. Her students log on to access course material, take tests, participate in group discussions and turn in term papers all in the comfort of their own homes. For years online courses have been available at colleges and universities but more recently only high school students in remedial or catch-up programs could go to school on the internet.
According to the “Breeze,” a number of high schools seem to be interested in promoting online learning but teachers and administrators want to approach with caution. Even those who are very enthusiastic about the prospect of online high school courses say it probably works best for self-starters while a traditional teaching setting is better suited to students who need more direction and guidance. Online learning for younger students does raise a number of concerns.
Will online learners be isolated and miss out on developing important social skills? Will affluent kids do most of their course work at home, leaving less affluent in crowded, underfunded schools and thus widening the achievement gap? Could cash-strapped schools embrace online learning to save money?
Brandon Martinez, Assistant Professor, USC Rossier (ross-EAR) School of Education's online Master of Arts in Teaching program