Sunday, November 8, 2009

Virtual Schooling

This past Friday, I had the opportunity to attend Tech Forum Southwest 2009 in Austin, Texas. When it came time to attend the Roundtable Discussion, I decided to attend the one on Virtual Schooling. Below are my notes from the discussion:

~Plano ISD began their eSchool in 1999. The website can be found at ~They currently use Blackboard.
~Students can take up to 3 online courses for either credit recovery or for additional credits in order to get ahead and prepare for college.
~Plano charges $250-$300 per course.
~Teachers get paid a stipend to facilitate the courses ($125. per student)
~Students from all over (not just Plano ISD) can enroll in the courses.
~If you are a provider district of online courses, TEA sends 3 reviewers to review your courses based on Bloom's, TEKS, and iNacol Standards.
~When a students completes a course, the receiving district gets $80 (unless the student is in your district - a district can't be a provider and receiver).
~Teachers at Plano ISD create the online courses.
~These teachers are hand picked and have experience in developing curriculum. Some have TxVSN certification.
~It was mentioned that the state will be requiring certification to teach online courses very soon.
~All courses are 18 weeks in length, however, a student can finish it as early as 6 weeks if they decide to work ahead.
~There isn't a set minimum of participants required in the course. The teacher decides this. They may take as few as 5-10 students during the school year or up to 25 students during the summer. It all depends on the teacher's schedule.
~Policies and Procedures for the online courses have been established. They can be found at
~Statements on Academic Integrity are important.
~Before students can register for an online course, it must first be approved by the school counselor.

I loved it when our table leader said, "Design your course around what you want the end result to be."

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