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Planning and Implementing Online Courses to Advance Student Learning
The appeal of online learning may be captured most concisely in the motto of the Orlando-based Florida Virtual School (FLVS), one of the country's earliest providers of online courses: "Any time, any place, any path, any pace." At its founding a decade ago, FLVS was one of only a handful of statewide or national providers of Web-based courses in the country. As of mid-2007, there were 25 statewide providers (i.e., those based in and primarily serving a single state), 24 and the number of university-based, district-based, and private for-profit providers is growing as well. All offer some type of advanced course work.
Thus, districts and schools that recognize the potential of online classes to enhance and equalize students' education opportunities, including broadening access to advanced content, will find it easier than ever to connect with a provider that offers the courses their students need. Before doing so, however, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of what to look for in an online provider and of the kind of districtor school-provider partnership that most readily lends itself to student success with this alternative— but increasingly common—approach to delivering advanced courses.