For those of you keeping up with the latest developments in online learning, my colleague Mary Ann Zehr’s story about online credit-recovery programs is a must-read. New York City, Chicago, and Boston have embraced online credit recovery classes, which allow students to re-take courses online they may have failed instead of in a face-to-face classroom. It is, indeed, one of the fastest growing segments of the online learning industry.
Still, one of the biggest hurdles to online credit recovery, and online learning in general, are state policies that require students to complete a certain number of hours, or “seat-time” in each course. Online learning advocates are urging state policy makers to move to a proficiency-based, rather than time-based way of earning credits, but not all states have embraced this shift, Zehr reports.
In her story, Zehr points out that there isn’t much independent research out there about the efficacy of online credit recovery programs. In fact, the researchers in her story could not point to any studies of online credit recovery specifically. But that doesn’t seem to be stopping the growth of such programs, which are growing in large school districts across the country.
Despite the support from school districts that online recovery programs are receiving, if you scroll down to the comments of the story, you’ll find several skeptics who warn against using online credit recovery to help students graduate. Commenter cossondra writes, “Unless the student who was unmotivated to succeed in a traditional setting brings a newfound personal motivation to the program, independent online learning will be even less likely to produce success than a classroom experience where other students as well as a personal teacher are there to guide and motivate.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.