Driver’s Ed. Goes Online in Ohio

By Hannah Rose Sacks — June 29, 2012 1 min read
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Can an online course prepare drivers for real-world driving? Thanks to a new law, Ohio teens will soon be able to learn how to drive online.

The new law, signed earlier this month by Gov. John Kasich, permits the fulfillment of the 24 hours of classroom instruction required for drivers younger than 18 with online classes, reports The Columbus Dispatch. While the law still requires eight hours of in-car instruction, traditional driving school instructors are concerned about how much students can learn online, reports the Springfield News-Sun.

Cindi Smith, owner of a driving school, told the News-Sun that she felt students learning online would miss out on the real-life perspective she offers by bringing in speakers.

“This is a disservice to citizens of Ohio,” Dana Goodwin, director of Advantage Driver Training of Columbus told the Dispatch. “There’s no substitute for instructor and student interaction. They can’t even make certain the student is the person sitting in front of the computer completing the work.”

Online courses are expected to be cheaper, costing around $100 or less plus in-car training compared with approximately $400 at a traditional driving school, reports the Dispatch. As many as half of Ohio’s 773 driving schools may close their doors due to the competition.

Students are split on the issue. Julia Koehler, 17, completed a traditional classroom experience and said she prefers that to the upcoming online option, citing the accountability of having a teacher, reports the News-Sun. However, other students prefer the flexibility of online courses, reports the Dispatch.

The law will take effect in September, so buckle up.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.