There are two recent announcements from online education that are important to independent schools:
- Last year, I announced on this blog that OSG enrollment doubled for the second consecutive year. Today, I can announce that we start the 2012-2013 school year having doubled in size again. Students from sixteen states and seven countries start classes today and begin their work with great independent school teachers from around the United States.
- Last week Stanford University announced that they are greatly enhancing the role of online education on their campus by creating a Vice Provost for Online Education. Their stated goal: to fundamentally reshape what learning looks like at Stanford.
Both of these announcements confirm for independent schools that online education is not simply a new educational “fad” or issue that one can bypass, but instead should be a topic of conversation at the highest levels of our schools — Trustees, faculty, students, administrative teams, etc., must all engage. At OSG, we believe that schools need to create a plan for engagement in online learning this year (if they have not done so already) and be ready to engage fully by the time that the next school year begins.
We know that many schools began this journey last year. More than seventy administrators took the two-week overview course that we created with NAIS “Online Learning: Developing a Strategic Approach for Your School.” We have also run workshops around the country to help schools engage in online education, and we have worked directly with many schools’ faculty, Trustees, and administration to help them understand the impact for their schools. Further, we expect about twenty schools to participate in our blended course with NYSAIS that will help schools develop comprehensive plans for online learning.
It is our hope that most independent schools will be able to answer this question well and thoroughly by the end of this school year:
What is your school’s plan for online learning?