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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Online learning key to college readiness

Dale Bernard, Principal at Nexus Academy of Royal Oak writes, "Earlier this year, the annual Sloan/Babson survey tracking online education in the United States revealed that 7.1 million college students were enrolled in at least one online course in 2013."

Students walk the campus at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Some 7.1 million U.S. students took at least one online course in 2013.
Photo: John T. Greilick, The Detroit News

That’s nearly 35 percent of all college students and an increase of just over 400,000 from the previous year. If the current online enrollment growth rate of 6.1 percent holds steady, half of all college students will be enrolled in an online course by 2020.

What does this mean in the big picture? It means that in order for high school graduates to be prepared fully for success in college in the 21st century, it would be beneficial for them to have gained experience with online learning while in primary or secondary school. This experience will ensure they are familiar and comfortable with the subtle differences between online and in-class learning.

At a time when only 26 percent of high school graduates taking the ACT tests are ready for entry-level college courses in English, reading, math and science, according to ACT’s annual report, “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014,” isn’t it on us, as educators, to provide students with as many resources and experiences as possible to promote success within our classrooms and beyond?

I’m not recommending that all younger students shift exclusively to virtual learning. Rather, I’m simply advocating for introducing all students — whether it be at traditional public schools or at public blended (online/on-site) learning schools, like Nexus Academy of Royal Oak, where I serve as principal — to online learning activities so that they know what to expect when they arrive on college campus.

It’s no secret that we live in a digital world. With each passing day, we rely more heavily on technology in every aspect of our lives, including and especially at work, as professional development and other critical daily work functions take place online. As such, engaging our children in online learning activities will help prepare them not only for success in college, but with the skills many will need in their profession.

Source: The Detroit News