Expanding Distance Learning in Maryland Schools

Expanding Distance Learning in Maryland Schools


A Comparative Analysis of

Distance Learning in

Maryland and Other States


by Nicholas Schwaderer


Calvert Institute for Policy Research

8 West Hamilton Street

Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Tel: (410) 752 5887














1.1 Maryland Structure. 5

1.2 Fact and Figures. 7

1.3 Blended Learning in Maryland.. 12

1.3.1 Greater than 20% but Less Than 80%…. 14

1.4 Full Time Learning. 15

1.5 Room for Improvement. 15




4.1 What does “Competency Based” mean?. 21



6.1 Ohio.. 35

Fully Online and Part Time Online Education, Blended Schools. 36

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). 39

Policy Action.. 39

6.2 Colorado.. 40

Fully Online and Part Time Online Education, Blended Schools. 41

Policy.. 41

6.3 Oklahoma. 42

Fully Online and Part Time Online Education, Blended Schools. 42

Policy.. 44

6.4 Wyoming. 45

Fully Online and Part Time Online Education, Blended Schools. 45

Policy.. 48

6.5 Idaho.. 48

Fully Online and Part Time Online Education, Blended Schools. 48

Policy.. 50

MOOCs. 51

6.6 Arizona. 52

Fully Online and Part Time Online Education, Blended Schools. 53

Policy.. 54

6.7 Minnesota. 54

6.8 Utah.. 55

6.9 Florida. 56


Study MOOCs. 61

Funding. 61

State Assessment, State Standards and Accountability Standards. 62


Miscellaneous. 63

Recommended Online Learning Studies and Reports. 63



















1 Maryland Online Education at a Glance

In the age of technological advancement, new tools and policies are exploding onto the education scene in states across the country. On top of traditional brick and mortar school environments, more and more students are seeing digital learning in their classrooms, taking some of their high school and elementary courses wholly online, or even fully participating in public education completely online.

This paper explores the potential of these new tools to improve student outcomes and examines how these are implemented in various states. Further, it compares the policies of state regulatory bodies and how they influence educational development and student incomes; contrasted with the status quo in Maryland.

1.1 Maryland Structure

High school credit is only available for MSDE (Maryland State Department of Education) approved online courses, which are defined as consisting of at least 80% of instruction online. Definitions of “80% online” are largely subjective.

Maryland Virtual Learning Opportunities was established by legislation passed in 2012.[1] MVLO under the MSDE provides for Maryland Virtual School (MVS), High School Assessment (HSA) resources and courses, and professional development. The HSA resources have been used by educators as an educational supplement to in-class instruction, as an aid in remediation and as a full online credit-bearing course.[2] The MVS is responsible for approving and licensing online education available to Local School Systems.

Local School Systems may implement online components in education with exemption from approval if the course is less than 80% online or if the course is non credit bearing. However, the student is still required to be “on premises”.

Students interested in taking courses through the MVS must obtain permission through the Local School System and the school principal. Fees can range from $25-$800 depending on the resource demands (human capital or otherwise) of the course. Fees may be paid by the school district or the family, depending on the decision of the local school system.

Vendors interested in submitting courses for review must pay a non-refundable $1400 fee for review and the course must be requested by a local school system. If the course is not approved, the vendor has up to one year to fix and resubmit the course; after which the $1400 fee must be paid again. Typically courses will be reviewed again every 3-5 years, with MSDE holding the right to review again after three years.

Maryland law has authorized the creation of a full-time online school, subject to MSDE approval.[3] As of March 7, 2012, no full-time online schools yet existed in Maryland.[4] According to Keeping Pace, an annual report by educators and policymakers on the state of virtual education nationwide:        MSDE reports that “The Online Courses/Curriculum Resources are designed to be flexible so that teachers can use them as a whole course, use whole units within course, or just use some of the lessons and assessments.”[5]

MVLO received $400,000 from 2008-2009; and as there is no statutory funding for the virtual school as is common in many other states MVS has to rely on funding primarily from course fees. Due to a lack of local funds MVS enrolment has experienced a decline.[6]

1.2 Fact and Figures

As of the 2009-2010 school year, of the 28 states that then had virtual schools, “Maryland Virtual School remains among the smallest of the state virtual schools, only larger than Connecticut.”[7]

The 2009-2010 school year saw only 633 course enrollments through Maryland’s Virtual School, down from 710 in 2008-2009.[8] Enrollment in Maryland’s public schools in 2008-2009 totaled 843,861, and totaled 848,412 in 2009-2010.[9] Thus only a maximum of .07% of Maryland’s public school students participated in 2009-2010, down from .08% in 2008-2009.  For every one Maryland public school student who participated in MVS 2009-2010, at least 1340 students did not, and for every one student who participated in 2008-2009, at least 1188 did not.[10]

Page 12 of the Maryland Online Learning report says that Maryland’s Virtual School only has 633 course enrollments in 2009-2010. Yet Page 21 of this report mentions that the Montgomery County e-learning program is the largest district program in Maryland, with 1100 course enrollments in the same year. “MCPS online courses are customizable at the course and individual levels, and are used as online courses, hybrid courses, for credit recovery, or to enhance and individualize classroom instruction.”[11] The only courses Montgomery County offers are courses that are approved for credit by MSDE’s MVS.[12] For the 633 figure to be correct, and the 1100 figure to be correct, the Montgomery County figure could include HSA prep students who are not taking HSA classes as a part of MVS, or they could be running a district-operated program—it seems the latter as the case, as MCPS operates a program that includes online coursework that must be approved by both them and MSDE.[13]  The fact that Montgomery Country did not also offer (3 years ago) these classes as general classes for credit through MVS does not necessarily mean that they do not offer the same courses for HSA. This therefore provides us with an idea of how many kids are involved in distance learning in Maryland—if Montgomery County’s 1100 is the most of any of Maryland’s 24 school districts, then there must have been no more than a total of about 26000 throughout the state in 2008-2009, and probably far less than that.    It may also be possible that Montgomery County is using the approved courses in some kind of a hybrid, unapproved way, but I have no evidence that that is allowed, and that would seem to violate the standard that online courses must generally involve more than 80% of instruction taking place online, and even if this was the case, the numbers would be included in the numbers reported on page 12. In any case, Montgomery County taught 141,722 students in 2009-2010.[14]  With just 1100 course enrollments, the largest online learning program in the state had a maximum of just .7% of their students involved in online learning—and that is even including the dubious assumption that no single student was enrolled in more than one online course.  The existence and enrollment figures of the Montgomery County program reveal that districts must have programs of their own, in addition to the state program if the above is not true—and remember, the new COMAR did not become part of the law until April 1, 2013.

In 2009-2010, Washington County had 65 course enrollments out of a total of 21,902 students, for a maximum total of just .3% of their students involved in online coursework.  The total number of students who were actually involved is likely less, unless no student enrolled in more than one online course.[15]

As far as blended and supplemental online learning, most all of the 31 states with virtual schools have more students participating in these classes than the state of Maryland.[16]

Maryland Advisory Council for Virtual Learning

The Maryland Advisory Council for Virtual Learning (MACVL) was established in law in 2012, and is intended to “encourage and support students in on-line education in accordance with national standards and State Law”.[17] The council considers and offers recommendations on issues surrounding online, digital and distance education such as access, infrastructure, sustainability and funding. The Council is supposed to submit a report to the legislature by December 1 every year.  This is included in Chapter 290 of Maryland’s Acts of 2012 (link http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2012rs/chapters_noln/Ch_290_sb0689T.pdf ), which was approved in May 2012.[18]

Though tasked with making recommendations to improve distance learning, the law specifically authorizes virtual learning for the purposes of ensuring equality and only offering that which is not otherwise available—this may limit the scope of feasible recommendations.  Moreover, policies adopted by MSDE on June 26, 2012 require school districts to submit online course enrollment data, which is “required by the Maryland Department of Budget and Management for  its Managing for Results Annual Performance Report (MFR) for the Senate and House fiscal committees and to help determine the effectiveness of courses.”[19]

Backlog and Lack of Funding

A 2012 review of existing law conducted by Maryland’s Department of Legislative Services noted that MSDE is required to develop and review online courses for approval. Yet “MSDE does not have the staff or funding to approve any new online courses…and currently has a backlog of 17 courses that need to be reviewed. MSDE anticipates that the number and variety of online courses will continue to grow and local school systems and online course vendors will continue to ask MSDE to review online courses for approval.”  They are thus failing to move forward at all, and the backlog is likely increasing, since the bill this references includes funding only for a part-time staffer for the MACVL rather than for needed staff to actually get approval of programs moving, and there is no evidence that they were required to hire someone and the fiscal situation in Maryland remains roughly the same.[20]

Two counties were selected out in a report from MSDE for their use of online technologies in their schools:

Baltimore County Public Schools

 “BCPS is currently using online courses to expand the range of subjects available to students, to allow students to take a course when there are too few enrollments to justify a face-to-face course in a particular school, to alleviate student scheduling conflicts, and to provide an online experience for students who will be using 21st century technologies throughout their lives. Online teachers communicate with students using email and online discussion forums, as well as by phone and fax. Each student taking an online course has an on-site mentor who is available as needed to provide support. The mentor works with the online teacher, proctors exams, provides science labs, and offers curricular support. BCPS also has a District Coordinator for Online Learning to help ensure a high-quality online learning experience for students. During the 2009-10 school year, 27 secondary schools provided 19 online courses for 139 BCPS students.

Courses included AP® Art History, AP® Biology, AP® Physics-C, AP® French Language, AP® Environmental Science, and Algebra 2. Four students took Multi-Variable Calculus online from Stanford university’s Education Program for Gifted youth, and 16 middle school students took online Geometry so they could move more quickly to higher-level math courses. Online learning in the BCPS program has grown from 26 students in the 2004–05 school year to 139 students for 2009–10, with the numbers expected to increase annually.”[21]

That same year, Baltimore County Public Schools had 104,000 students.[22] Therefore .1% of their students were participating in online learning in 2009-2010—only 1 out of every 749.

Frederick County Virtual School

“The need to support students with a variety of needs prompted the creation of the Frederick County Virtual School, offering Advanced Placement® courses, options for student athletes, and courses with low enrollment that are not economical to offer in the brick-and-mortar school. The overall online program, the Virtual School and Evening High School, generated approximately 400 course enrollments in fall semester 2010.”[23]

Frederick County’s Public Schools educated 40,188 students in 2010—thus less than 1% of Frederick County’s students were able to enjoy the benefits of distance learning.[24]

“Online learning in Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) has grown from a strategy to improve educational alternatives for the Evening High School program to providing a broad range of online learning options from credit recovery to Advanced Placement. Online learning was first used to provide an alternative for at-risk students who were unsuccessful in the traditional school setting. These students use online courses to move through the subject at an individual pace, coming to a set location two nights a week with a qualified teacher to guide the students through the coursework. “


1.3 Blended Learning in Maryland

Blended learning, which can include education incorporating up to 80% online based education, is also being explored in Maryland. One example is the Hybrid Course Process and Product Consortium from 2010.


The Hybrid Course Process and Product Consortium

“Maryland has created the Hybrid Course Process and Product consortium, a Title II-D Education Technology grant funded partnership formed to address the need by school systems to create a model for hybrid, or blended learning, course development. This partnership grant is examining the current best practices and research-based strategies to develop and pilot a hybrid course in World History, including researching best practices in history instruction, in hybrid course development and implementation, and in the use of portfolio assessment.  From the course development, a process guide will be created outlining findings and evaluations of the process. Local school systems will then have the opportunity to apply the process guide to their own course development efforts. This blended learning effort should be expanded into greater use of online content, tools, and resources in classrooms across the state. In addition, a blended learning program may form the basis for exploring how online courses can be used to develop continuity of learning plans for Maryland schools.”[25]

Many school districts have interest in expanding the use of online learning in the classroom. Participating school districts include: Cecil, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Kent, PG, Washington, Worcester Counties and Baltimore City are all participating.[26] The program was part of a grant project managed through MSDE, so being their own pilot project they may not have needed to set a firm protocol for outside approval.[27]

The course appears to be set up to allow for in-class instruction, or a combination, and an initial report affiliated with the project described the course as such.[28] Yet some parts of the project[29] seem like they might require students to actually be in a classroom with others to work with partners and between groups to present findings to the class.[30] Online courses can be updated to account for changes in knowledge or best practices, while traditional instructional tools like textbooks may be more problematic or expensive, to update.

The course goes beyond the written content found in textbooks; also featuring audio and video content, simulations, individual and group activities.[31] Arden Stara, a Social Studies Resource Teacher in Howard County Public Schools, stated that teachers were “extremely excited” about the course.[32] Another teacher reported that students “loved the course,” particularly noting that the students enjoyed the mapping, the easy availability of definitions for words they were not familiar with, and the videos.[33] Students of diverse backgrounds could see their own history in the course; and liked being able to take control of their own education.[34]

A final evaluation report on the World History project was submitted to Cecil County Public Schools in December 2013.   Since the project is still being evaluated it is unlikely to have been widely adopted yet.[35]

1.3.1 Greater than 20% but Less Than 80%

COMAR 13A.04.15 explains that blended courses, which the state defines as courses in which less than 20% of instruction is conducted online, [as well as non-credit bearing online courses] do not need MSDE approval, while credit-bearing online courses must be approved by MSDE.  This leaves an odd sort of no man’s land about courses that have at least 20% of instruction online but less than 80%–MSDE does not need to approve it, but could students get credit for it? Katie Egan’s interpretation, along with that of her team, which included MSDE personnel, was that yes, less than 80% was ok to do without separate approval. For less than 20% of coursework, a class that met 5 days/week for 45 minutes each day could have no more than 45 minutes of online instruction each week.

Another consideration is the measurement of time – if a student has home access to the internet and the portal with online resources, should those minutes count towards the percentage of online instructive time? How would it be measured? Could schools take un-approved online courses by keeping the online time down to 20% and simply print off hardcopies of the online materials and use the rest of the materials on a projector? These are all questions that leave a large area of potential dispute.

1.4 Full Time Learning

MSDE does not currently have a full-time online school option.  Current Maryland regulations require students of charter schools to be physically “on premises”.[36]

1.5 room for improvement

The public policy research and analysis firm Evergreen Education Group’s comprehensive 2012 report on online learning across the United States referred to Maryland as a state that has “neither a significant state virtual school nor online charter schools drawing students from all districts in the state,” and stated that Maryland is home to a disproportionate amount of school “districts that are not yet offering significant online or blended courses,” which total about 25% nationwide.[37]

“Maryland, however, has lagged behind most other states in implementing extensive online programs, largely because the state has not yet prioritized online learning. Some Maryland educators recognize the value of online learning; for example Dr. Colleen Seremet, the former Assistant State Superintendent of Instruction for the Maryland State Department of Education, notes that online learning allows school districts to provide quality online experiences, and provides greater equity and flexibility to students through online access to the High School Assessment (HSA) test preparation courses and other courses. Dr. Seremet notes, however, that the common thinking across Maryland has not caught up to educational technology practice. ‘We need to stop thinking about courses and curricula (especially textbooks) in a traditional sense and start thinking about digital content that can be mixed and matched by teachers and curriculum experts for a variety of learning experiences… Although Maryland has created Maryland Virtual Learning Opportunities, and several districts have implemented online learning opportunities for their students, the state is far behind most other states in terms of creating online learning programs and options.’”[38]


“Maryland’s plan is intended to boost student achievement, reduce gaps in achievement among student subgroups, turn around struggling schools, develop a ‘statewide technology infrastructure that links all data elements with analytic and instructional tools to monitor and promote student achievement, and improve the teaching profession, including the expansion of online educator professional development for capacity-building and sustainability.”[39]

A 2010 MSDE report revealed that school district administrators in both Queen Anne’s and Anne Arundel counties support expanded use of online learning. Queen Anne’s County Public Schools Superintendant Dr. Carol A. Williamson stresses “the value of online learning” and noted that she “would find the funding within our budget to start an online program” pending the arrival of more reliable internet service in the county and the presence of educators who were prepared to implement an online education program.[40] Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell noted, “Online learning gives us the ability to have students participate in courses they otherwise would not be able to access.’” An Anne Arundel County assistant superintendent recognized the value of preparing students for college coursework, which is increasingly online,  stating, “High schools really should be preparing their students for advanced learning by requiring them to take at least one online course.”[41]

Former Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick said, “Online learning is growing rapidly across the United States, as an ever increasing number of parents, students, and educators become familiar with the benefits of learning unconstrained by time and place… Through online learning we can provide greater equity of learning for our students, particularly in making accelerated learning and high-level courses available to students in small districts where the funding will not support a teacher for only a few students…Nationally, online learning is proving to be a successful strategy in creating greater access to education for all, and many state virtual schools are focused on alleviating inequities in rural or inner-city regions.”[42]

3. advantages

For most of history education has been limited by factors that are completely beyond the students’ control and largely beyond the control of the parents as well. Factors that most Americans have had no choice but to leave to chance include whether a child lives in a good school district; whether the child is being taught by a talented teacher; whether a talented teacher’s teaching style meshes with the student’s instructional level, learning style, and interests, and whether the parents can afford the private school alternative are each.

According to U.S. Department of Education research, ‘students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.’

A host of factors, including direct access to the educator, may be helping to boost students’ performance. A MSDE report sheds light on this from the educators’ perspective: “online teachers report that they know their students better online than in a face-to-face course.” [43]

The report asserts, “online teachers report that they know their students better online than in a face-to-face course.”[44]

Implementation of blended-to-fully-online models yield, on average, a savings to the school district and taxpayer. Recent findings from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning showed average per-student spending of $11,282 traditionally, compared with only $8,900 in blended learning and $6,400 for fully-online education.

Virtual learning gives all school districts, especially smaller districts, access to the best educators in a wide array of subjects.

According to most school district administrators in a recent survey, important benefits from online learning included expanding school curriculum, offering advanced courses for gifted students and allowing students to take a course over again. The flexibility of online learning gives both the educator and student the tools to serve diverse learning styles and needs.

A report on the MSDE website flatly states, “Across most states and all grade levels, students are finding increased opportunity, flexibility and convenience through online learning. Teachers are discovering that online instruction offers them more professional flexibility, through adjunct teaching and telecommuting opportunities. Administrators are exploring ways to offer a wider range of courses to students and professional development opportunities to educators.”[45]

The Maryland State Department of Education is well-aware of the merits of online education for public school students, noting in 2012 that its existing program has a number of advantages:

“Expand the range of courses and opportunities offered to students;

• Provide additional support and extended time to students who would benefit from this added support;

• Allow juniors or seniors who need a course to be able to graduate within the four-year period to make up that course;

• Present high quality instruction to students in special education, alternative education settings, or home and hospital instruction;

• Offer courses for students when no qualified teachers are available to teach the courses;

• Allow students to take a course when there are too few students who need a certain course to be able to assign a teacher to teach that course;

• Provide courses for students who have schedules that prevent them from taking a course when it is offered.”[46]

The State of Online Learning in Maryland includes information that sheds lights on some other advantages of online learning—namely that online schools can improve education by allowing flexibility within, or even the abandonment of, seat-time requirements.  The report notes that seat-time requirements, in which students are required to spend specific amounts of time learning specific content regardless of how quickly or slowly each individual student actually masters the content, “do not apply to the online environment.”[47]  The report notes that mastery-based education, rather than seat-time based education, “allows students to move through a course at any pace, while maintaining the high quality standards currently demanded in the face-to-face environment.”  Noting that “student outcomes” are the “educational goal,” they state that reliance on seat-time requirements is “a poor proxy for” ensuring positive student outcomes.”  They also emphasize that coursework in which “mastery becomes the constant and time becomes the variable…is the way education should be operated,” as opposed to the situation that seat-time requirements present, in which time is the constant and mastery becomes the variable.[48]

There is also some evidence that online learning can help school districts save money.  The International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a non-profit organization, reported in February 2013 that “The current U.S. average per pupil expenditures for a fully- online model are estimated at $6,400 and for blending learning are $8,900. Traditional school models have an average per pupil expenditure of $11,282.”[49]

 “Students appear to be benefiting from online learning programs. While evidence about the effectiveness of K-12 online learning programs is limited, there is reason to believe that students can learn effectively online. In 2009, the U.S. Department of Education published a meta-analysis of evidence-based studies of K-12 and postsecondary online learning programs. The study reported that ‘students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.’ In addition, online learning has the potential to improve productivity and lower the cost of education, reducing the burden on taxpayers.[50]


The technological advancements of online-and-blended education knock down logistical and scale-related barriers to competency-based education for the average student. Online-and-blended learning gives every school district and student the ability to access the advantages of competency-based education.

The relative lack of data about online learning can be supplemented by the reasonable amount of evidence demonstrating that competency-based education (one of the advantages of online education) yields positive outcomes.  By demonstrating the advantages of one of the key educational strategies that online learning can promote, evidence supporting the use of competency-based education can also be fairly interpreted as evidence supporting the use of online learning.

4.1 What does “Competency Based” mean?

The concept of “competency-based education” is known by a variety of different names, including “standards-based,” “outcomes-based,” “performance-based,” and “proficiency-based.”  For the purposes of this report—and as a general rule for reviewing relevant education policy and research content—these terms have the same meaning..                 ,      , , ,      ,

Competency Works, a collaborative organization led by the non-profit International Association for K-12 Online Learning, explains that competency-based education is education in which “students advance upon mastery…Competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students…Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students…Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs…Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.”[51]  Competency Works had stated plainly that one of the main arguments in favor of competency-based education is “to take advantage of the extraordinary technological advances in online learning for personalization, allowing students to learn at their own pace, any time and everywhere.”[52]


A simple thought exercise, developed by New Hampshire High School Principal Brian M. Stack, persuasively demonstrates that competency-based learning is preferable to more traditional, seat-time-based educational models.  In the thought exercise, Stack questions whether it would be preferable to ride on an airplane whose pilot was educated at a traditional flight school, or a pilot who was educated at a competency-based flight school. In a recent article, Stack explained the differences between the schools:

School #1: The Traditional School                            v
At school #1, the pilot completed a series of readings, homework, and classwork assignments, participated in class discussions about those assignments, and took quizzes and tests to demonstrate that he understood the material that was presented in class. Some of his quizzes and tests were done on paper or the computer and some were “performance-based” (meaning that likely he had to actually fly a simulator or an actual plane with an instructor). His final grade was obtained by weighting all of his assignments appropriately (quizzes and tests counted more) and averaging everything together. Since his average was above an 80%, he was deemed “proficient” and was awarded his pilot’s license.”

“School #2: The Competency-Based School                            v
At school #2, the pilot completed all of the same types of readings, assignments and assessments just like in the traditional school. Some of his quizzes and tests were done on paper and some were performance-based, just like the traditional school. The difference in this school was that each of the assessments he took were directly linked to competencies that looked something like this:                v

Competency #1: The student will learn how to successfully make a plane take-off.
Competency #2: The student will learn how to successfully land a plane.
Competency #3: The student will learn how to successfully fly a plane in the air.
The pilot was not considered “proficient” in pilot school until he demonstrated proficiency in each competency. Once he did, he would be deemed “proficient” and awarded his pilot’s license.”

Stack admits that it can be difficult to decide which school’s education is better without the following “critical hint: In the traditional school, it is possible to fail an individual assessment provided the grades on other assessments and assignments were high enough so that the final course average was still above an 80%. Knowing this, what if the one test the pilot failed happened to be the one on how to land a plane?”

In sum, Stack’s hypothetical explains “that a traditional model is a flawed system because it allows students to be deemed proficient when in reality there are gaps in their learning. This is the danger of averaging grades without first connecting them to learning targets.”[53]

In a recent report written by a group that includes a former teacher, a former superintendent in Washington state, and a former White House Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, the authors noted, “while technology is not a necessary component of competency education per se, advances in educational technology have made it possible to bring competency education to scale through an ever-expanding set of tools that can personalize and customize learning. The authors contend that without leveraging technology and discovering new ways to use time and resources differently, we will fail to achieve the goals of college- and career-ready standards like the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Shifting to competency education is an important step in this process.”[54]  The authors also noted, “today’s current system holds back students who could be excelling and moves students on who aren’t ready.”[55]

Digital learning and competency-based education broadly overlap—each have similar goals for personalized learning, advancement, and assessment and accountability.[56]

Competency-based education is anytime, anywhere, any-pace learning. These pathways validate student learning that occurs outside the school building, as well as in school, but outside the traditional constraints of seat time and divisions of content areas. In other words, competency-based education allows students to learn and demonstrate learning more like they do outside school – and more like we do, as adults in our daily lives – by learning what they need, as they need it, in a context that makes the learning relevant. These pathways enable districts and schools to provide student-centered, personalized learning systems through which students of all ages and ability levels develop both ownership and control of their learning. And, as the U.S. Department of Education acknowledges, competency-based pathways present “an opportunity to achieve greater efficiency and increase productivity”.[57]

MMW said, “Many students find competency education more motivating and engaging than traditional approaches. The chance to progress at one’s own pace is particularly important to struggling students.’”[58]

5. Flipped Classroom


An innovative practice known as “flipping the classroom” is one way that distance learning can positively impact students. “Flipping the classroom” is “a practice that uses homework time for lectures and class time for homework. The switch allows students to watch the lectures online outside of the classroom and then bring their homework to class to work on under the teacher’s supervision.”[59] California Univeristy of Pennsylvania Professor Joseph Zisk reports that flipping the classroom gives teachers “more time to get content across to the student,” and allows for more hands-on, personalized instruction, and ultimately “helps with the learning.” One Pittsburgh-area Algebra teacher echoed Zisk’s conclusions, noting that flipping his classroom allowed him to become more of a “’coach in the classroom.’”[60] Flipping the classroom allows students greater freedom to learn concepts at their own pace, allows them the ability to re-watch lectures that deal with difficult content, provides them with solid study resources prior to tests, and can be accessed portably through smartphones and iPods.  Moreover, flipping the classroom allows students who miss class due to illness or athletic events to easily keep up with the rest of their class. Moreover, there is evidence that students are finding flipping the classroom effective—indeed, one Pittsburgh-area math student explained that flipping her classroom was “one of the most useful resources that any of my teachers have ever provided us with…

Not only does it help prepare me for tests and keep me up-to-date when I am absent, but I anticipate it being a key component of studying for finals.’”[61] Laura J. Hummell, another Professor at the California University of Pennsylvania, agreed that flipping K-12 classrooms brings increased flexibility to teachers and students.  Hummell noted that flipping K-12 classrooms brings several additional advantages, including allowing students to interact with and be exposed to subject matter experts, allowing parents to know more about what their children are learning in school, and providing students the chance to experience a greater variety of subject matter and types of instruction.[62]

“The primary role of the teacher in the traditional classroom is usually ‘master of content.’  The primary role of the teacher in the flipped classroom is usually ‘professional learning coach.’  In the flipped classroom, the teacher structures the classroom activities to personalize the learning for individual students.”[63]  
More evidence supporting the value of flipping the classroom comes from Genessee County, Michigan, where high school economics teacher Mike Peter’s students watch video lectures at home and practice what they learned in class.  A Michigan newspaper recently reported, “By using technology in this way and ‘flipping the classroom’ it allows teachers like Mike Peter to spend more time working one-on-one with students as they practice material…Mr. Peter spoke about the change he has seen in his classroom since implementing the method. ‘It has made a huge difference in my classroom, just in seeing the students grasp the material that much better’ he said. ‘With flip teaching the students can watch my lecture at home, pause it, write down questions or move onto the next lecture if they feel like they’ve grasped the content.’ When students were asked what they thought of the new method, they noted how much they enjoyed the change and felt as if the material was easier to grasp when they were able to work at their own pace and have more time for in-class discussion.”  Mr. Peter’s student teacher stated that he felt that the “‘students were moving toward mixed-mode college style class. I definitely feel like this is where education is heading.’” The student teacher “also noted how he saw the benefits of students being able to submit comments/questions online to receive feedback without the social pressures of raising their hand in class.”[64] Mr. Peter’s students thus are completing a blended style of instruction—using both in person and online educational tools—that is increasingly used at colleges and universities all over the country through websites like Blackboard and Weebly.


Also, as the Flipped Classroom Facebook group points out, asking kids to take personal, independent responsibility for their coursework is a huge step forward.  As they succeed, they will gain confidence in their ability to work independently and take personal responsibility for doing the schoolwork they need to do. This will serve them well as they move on to college and prepare them well for the kind of independent thinking that characterizes capable adults.


It may also be possible that this will get kids reading more, though in this case it would help me to show that kids don’t read much, or are not very good at it.


Flipped learning also allows teachers to take advantage of ready-made content, which is all over the internet and is increasingly on YouTube.


The Washington Post recently reported that at least one Maryland private school, Potomac’s Bullis School, is already featuring the flipped classroom. “The philosophy behind the flip is that teachers can spend time working with students who need their help in the classroom — and students can work together to solve problems — rather than sitting home alone with work they might not understand and with nobody to ask for help.”[65] Stacey Roshan explains that flipping her 11th grade AP calculus class had a very positive impact, noting that previously, her AP Calculus “’was a really anxious environment’” in which students were “’trying to get through way too much material with not enough time.’” After flipping her class, she is now able to “provide one-on-one time with students” and “’create an environment where students could really work together.’” One of Roshan’s students, Brook Gutschick, felt the flip was a success, noting that she had never made such quick progress in Math before and claiming that she “no longer ha[d] ‘to sit at home and struggle with [her] homework.’” Gutschick went on, “’ “There is a lot more support with this and it’s a lot easier to learn.’”  The Post reported that another AP Calculus teacher who flipped her classroom using Roshan’s video lectures saw “students become more independent learners…because they work with one another more often in class and they get more individual attention. She said she gave her students a practice AP Calculus exam and they did better than ever.”[66] This article explains that her students watch 20-30 minute videos about 4 nights per week. If every class was flipped, that would definitely be a lot of time spent doing homework each week.[67]
In a CNN article about Roshan, she wrote that under the traditional format, “when the end of the class period felt like stepping off of a treadmill that had been running at full speed for 45 minutes, I knew I had a problem. I had talked as quickly as I could, and students had responded with as many questions as they could get in, but most of the time they had many unanswered questions and frequently found it necessary to come in after school for extra instruction.” After flipping her classroom, she found she was “enjoying the way my classroom was running and found that it was erasing the anxiety level while maintaining, and even increasing, the rigor of the course.” She also reported dramatic improvements in her students’ AP test scores– “78% of my students scored a “4” or “5” on the AP exam, and no one scored below a “3,” whereas the previous year, just 58% of my students scored a “4” or “5” on the exam.[68]                                                                             v

One of the pioneers of flipping the classroom reports that some teachers have made their lectures available as Podcasts.  He also noted, “’We had about 160 kids taking chemistry class, and 30 had no [computer] access. We burned DVDs, handed them out and said, “Push play.” We also burned them onto flash drives. A lot of kids had computers but no Internet access.’”[69]

There is also a persuasive argument that flipping the classroom is good for “at risk” students.  The Superintendent of a rural Illinois school-district in which about 65% of students qualify for reduced price lunches has flipped every class in the local high school.  He stated, “’I do not believe it is fair that a student’s success depends on the house they live in or who they live with,’ he said. ‘The current model sends a great deal of the work with the student to be completed at home. Two equally motivated students go home with work. One has two educated parents that help the student until 10 p.m., [and] understands and completes the homework, while the other student receives no support at home. Each returns to school with very different grades put into the book. Of course, I am not drawing this comparison in each home because there are always exceptions. However, as subgroups, this paints an accurate picture.’”[70] An article written before this school year started notes that the school was most likely going to account for some students’ lack of home internet access by extending the school’s hours and therefore the availability of the school’s computer labs.[71]

There is other positive evidence about flipping the classroom from Minnesota. “In 2011, six fifth-grade teachers from five different elementary schools participated in a pilot project called ‘Flipped Math Classroom’…  Results from standardized tests in September and January were compared with 6 control classrooms.  Although there was no statistical difference in scores between the flipped classes and the control classes, the flipped classrooms ended up about 2 weeks ahead on the pacing calendar.  In other words, with no sacrifice in performance, students in the flipped classes covered more of the curriculum in the same amount of time. In March, 2012, the Stillwater Board of Education approved an expansion of the flipped classrooms.  Flipped Math Classroom expanded from six fifth-grade classes to twenty five classes in grades 4, 5, and 6.  These new flipped teachers participated in a Winter Institute and began Flipped Math Classroom in the spring.  By summer of 2012, a few other teachers at the high school, junior high schools and elementary schools began planning for flipped classroom in math and science content areas.”[72]

6. Policy in other states

State policy can and does significantly affect what type of virtual learning opportunities and environments students in their home state will have. States can choose to use in state or out of state public or private providers and choose whether these resources are made available to public school, private school, charter school or home school students. These possibilities along with the different funding and oversight mechanisms result in a diverse policy landscape among the states. This section serves as a brief cross-section of what this policy looks like across America.

For perspective, the following table shows 2011-2012 K-12 Students Enrolled in Full-Time Online Education, By State.[73]

State 2011-2012 Student Enrollment Total State Public School Population % of State Public School Students Enrolled in Full Time Online School
Arizona 39,000 1,077,831 3.62%
Arkansas 500 480,559 0.1%
California 23,228 6,263,449 0.37%
Colorado 16,221 832,368 1.95%
Florida 9,666 2,634,522 0.37%
Georgia 10,591 1,667,685 0.64%
Hawaii 1,500 180,196 0.83%
Idaho 5,200 276,299 1.88%
Indiana 3,733 1,046,661 0.36%
Kansas 2,952 474,489 0.62%
Louisiana 2,000 690,915 0.29%
Maryland 0 854,086 0%
Massachusetts 484 957,053 0.05%
Michigan 4,049 1,649,082 0.25%
Minnesota 8,146 837,053 0.97%
Nevada 8,735 428,947 2.04%
New Hampshire 103 197,140 0.05%
Ohio 35,391 1,764,297 2.01%
Oklahoma 4,810 654,802 0.73%
Oregon 5,577 582,839 0.96%
Pennsylvania 32,322 1,786,103 1.81%
South Carolina 7,985 723,143 1.10%
Tennessee 1,800 972,549 0.19%
Texas 6,209 4,850,210 0.23%
Utah 3,075 582,793 0.53%
Virginia 484 1,245,340 0.04%
Washington 2,515 1,035,347 0.24%
Wisconsin 4,482 872,436 0.51%
Wyoming 1,138 88,155 1.29%


Thus about a quarter of a million students around the country are enrolled in full-time online public school programs, and come from a majority of states.  Yet Maryland has none. However, Maryland does (as noted earlier) have a state-sponsored virtual school.

Measured by the number of course enrollments, Maryland had the second smallest state virtual school program in 2009-2010, of the 28 states that had programs.  It is also useful to determine how large Maryland’s virtual school program was as a percentage of overall public school enrollment—Maryland also had the 3rd smallest percentage. Though virtual schools are often not the only online option in various states, there are often each state government’s-led online learning initiative, and therefore provides an informative way of assessing how effective state government-led online initiatives have been between states. Moreover, since Maryland is not one of the states in which meaningfully broad online opportunities exist outside of the MVS, this comparison might actually make Maryland’s online learning status quo seem less disastrous than it actually is when compared to other states.

The following table on State Virtual School Course enrollments is taken from the 2009-10 State of Online Learning, Maryland. [74]

State Total Public School Enrollment, 2009-2010 Total Number of Course Enrollments in State Virtual School, 2009-2010[75] Maximum Possible % of students involved in State Virtual School
Alabama 748,889 31,187 4.2%
Arkansas 480,559 5,000 1.0%
Colorado 832,368 1,379 0.2%
Connecticut 563,985 250 0.04%
Florida 2,634,522 213,926 8.1%
Georgia 1,667,685 12,143 0.7%
Hawaii 180,196 2,500 1.4%
Idaho 276,299 14,345 5.2%
Illinois 2,104,175 2,445 0.1%
Iowa 491,842 750 0.2%
Kentucky 680,089 1,615 0.2%
Louisiana 690,915 14,001 2.0%
Maryland 848,412 633 0.07%
Michigan 1,649,082 15,060 0.9%
Mississippi 492,481 6,357 1.3%
Missouri 917,982 2,900 0.3%
New Hampshire 197,140 8,000 4.1%
New Mexico 334,419 2,063 0.6%
North Carolina 1,483,397 73,658 5.0%
North Dakota 95,073 2,350 2.5%
South Carolina 723,143 17,181 2.4%
South Dakota 123,713 2,900 2.3%
Tennessee 972,549 1,754 0.2%
Texas 4,850,210 1,867 0.04%
Utah 582,793 7,846 1.3%
Virginia 1,245,340 6,276 0.5%
West Virginia 282,662 3,924 1.4%
Wisconsin 872,436 2,212 0.2%


The International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a non-profit organization, reported in February 2013 that 27 states have virtual schools, and 31 states plus the District of Columbia offer a full-time K-12 online school option statewide.[76]

6.1 OHIO

Fully Online and Part Time Online Education, Blended Schools

As of the 2013-2014 school year Ohio saw 26 eschools in operation that had served 38,519 students the previous year. Students are able to navigate all supplemental courses using the ilearnOhio platform; which showcases state approved provider offerings. Courses are mostly attached to a fee. Since established by HB153 in 2011, ilearnOhio is the authorizing entity for all courses and providers. It currently operates off of a $1,500,000 appropriation. Enrollments were up 9% over SY 2011-2012, accounting for 2.42% of the students in Ohio.[77] To date 564 online courses are offered via the platform for grades 5 and up.[78] Access to online programs has nearly saturated all school districts in Ohio with access and participation from 611 of Ohio’s 614 school districts.[79]

Private and homeschool students do have access to the ilearnOhio platform- however most courses do then incur a fee. A waiver has been made available for AP courses one-time for these and public school students.[80]

Ohio is home to a number of fully blended schools with a focus on providing education to inner-city children.[81]

Ohio Virtual Academy High School(OHVA)[82]


OHVA is the largest fully online provider in Ohio, serving 13,160 students according to recent figures. [83]  Like many other entities nationwide, it uses curriculum provider K12 Inc. The students are given course materials and loaned a computer to take their lessons; some course time is “off-line” in that students utilize hardcopy materials away from their computer. For oversight, OHVA is run by a Board of Trustees Ohio Virtual Academy is run by a Board of Trustees, “composed of nine community leaders, some of whom are OHVA parents.”[84] The Board meetings are public with recorded minutes.

Although an online virtual charter provider, OHVA is given the same place as an accredited public school and offers the same diploma.[85]

Although in many ways “fully online” younger grades are estimated to only spend less than a third of their study time actually on a computer. Further, the OHVA has been actively working to not only improve social interaction online but to offer many social gatherings and field trips. The State of Ohio also requires a minimum of four in person meetings with a teacher annually.[86]

All OHVA educators are state licensed, offering 130 high school courses which include college credit, AP and elective modules.

A significant portion of the big student migration to online teaching is parental intervention to combat bullying. A survey of parents showed that 23% enrolled because of bullying in the traditional public school setting- 94% of those parents said that the moved helped to stop bullying.[87]

One family made the news with their move. After seeing their daughter come home bruised, scratched and emotionally broken, they fought with every tool at their disposal to end the bullying. No avenue stopped the bullying. According to the parents:

“A girl spit in her face…it was disheartening… there were incidents on the bus where she was verbally abused by older kids. The physical stuff started on the bus.” [88]

Following the change, the bullying concluded and the parents articulated their appreciation of being aware of their children’s interactions with other children. On top of a stipend for internet costs and a loan computer, courses are tuition as OHVA is offered as part of the public school system. [89]              

Electronic High School of Tomorrow(ECOT)

ECOT is also a large provider classified as a “community school”, acting as an independent public school. The school at last count served 12,496 students. [90]As with OHVA, ECOT students must take state assessment and proficiency examinations, with an expectation of 25 hours of class time per week.[91] Under the ECOT umbrella are four different schools: K-5, 6-7, 8-10, 11-12.

As an innovative move to make up for the social “gap” that can happen with online based education, ECOT recently instituted a school “lunch period”. This was a direct response to parent input and aims to make the students more engaged with each other.[92]

Further, ECOT has created an in-person commencement ceremony for graduates.[93] During the school year, students across the state can participate in school sponsored field trips and even dances.[94]


Any licensed teacher may educate through ECOT, with all traditional teaching benefits plus 12 sick leave days, remote work, technology stipend, commuting cost savings. [95]


Three new district based eSchools were approved to open in 13-14; Mosaica Online Academy of Ohio[96], Provost Academy of Ohio[97], Insight School of Ohio[98].

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Massive Open Online Courses can vary greatly in content and structure, but all essentially offer free education and tools to any consumers across borders. These may be used by casual learners at home or integrated into a professional learning environment.

Through ilearnOhio, Ohio is one of the states that has started looking at the advantages of including MOOCs in the educational smorgasbord. On the supplemental course offerings ilearnOhio lists 14 courses from Coursera. Although there is no immediate academic credit awarded for the course completion it may qualify for Flex Credit. [99] Coursera is best summed up by their mission statement:

“Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.

We envision a future where everyone has access to a world-class education. We aim to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.

Coursera currently offers over 750 courses to over 9.5 million users from 111 institutions around the world.[100]

Policy Action

HB 59[101] – 2013,

HB 59 contained the 2014-2015 state budget. As is common with such bills, a wide array of code was updated, including education policy. The bill sought to steady the rate of growth in eSchools by capping annual growth to 15% for eSchools with greater than 3,000 student enrollment. eSchools under 3,000 enrollment were capped at 25% growth per year.


The bill also made available $675,000 in new grants to all schools for acquisition of digital text and content through ilearnOhio. It also made up to $24,150 per year available through grants to the 490 poorest schools for the establishment of new distance learning.


SB316 (2012)[102]


2012’s SB316 allowed schools to either create or convert fully or partially into blended schools. The bill required that schools openly declare any changes annually and prohibited eCommunity schools from being blended.


State Code 3302.4 2012 [103]


This statute caps student enrollment at 125 pupils per educator and, among other rules, allows for competency based learning. Competency based learning allows completion upon mastering and acts as an exemption from seat-time based learning.


HB 555(2012) [104]


This bill ended a standing moratorium on new schools, however limited the creation of new schools to 5 per year.

6.2 Colorado

Fully Online and Part Time Online Education, Blended Schools

In school year 2012-2013, a reported 17,289 different students utilized either part-time online or fully online education; with numbers growing over the previous year.[105] However, the Colorado Online Learning state virtual school saw student enrollments drop over a third from the prior school year.[106]

Colorado utilizes a wide different array of programs:  five are multi district charter, eleven are from single districts, 26 are multiple district fully online schools.[107] Current figures represent over 2% of the school population. [108]

Colorado started pioneering the “flipped classroom” in 2007, started by CO high school educators Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams.[109] Since then the number of schools, programs and teachers who have started flipping their classrooms has grown. Many teachers have welcomed this option, with one saying:                                                                                              .

“It’s about that personalized face-to-face time. Now that you’re not spending all of class time doing lectures, you’re working one on one with students,”[110]

Educators in flipped classrooms have seen student assessment improve as much as 9%.[111]



In 2011 the legislature passed HB11-1277. This legislation reduced the amount of regulations and requirements on reporting. It also removed sunsetting standards on online school approvals, allowing online schools to remain in operation until the Colorado Department of Education has reason to believe the school is not in substantial compliance and launches an investigation. [112]

In 2007 the legislature passed HB1037. The bill provides a $480,000/year appropriation to fund providers offering online courses to school districts. The per-student funding may not exceed $200 per student per semester.


Providers of supplemental online courses are required to file a report annually with a variety of data, as well as student completion rates.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing policy moves as HB12-1124(12); which instructed the Colorado Department of Education to commission a full study of digital learning in Colorado and its issues with integration. [113] The report is reviewed more in depth in the state policy reports overview.

HB12-1124 (12) directed CDE to commission study of digital learning integration issues. Result was
Digital Learning in Colorado: Opportunities and Recommendations from 2013.




Fully Online and Part Time Online Education, Blended Schools


Oklahoma saw 6,298 students enrolled in online courses in 2012-2013 with over 30% increase on the prior year.[114] Along with Nevada, Oklahoma prohibits any home school or private school children from participating in publicly funded online education. [115] Local school districts are given the power to decide whether online supplemental course providers are allowed, not the student. [116]

The online providers are offered through the Oklahoma Supplemental Online Course program. [117] Over 3000 courses are currently available. [118] Educators for supplemental courses must be Oklahoma certified and currently a member at another accredited institution; further all courses must be compliant with Oklahoma’s Priority Academics in Student Skills or Common Core State Standards. [119] Funding is pro-rated, with up to five hours of supplemental online instruction for free – school is not obliged to pay beyond the per pupil rate. [120] Schools also do not have to provide internet connectivity or equipment if the student is working on the supplemental course remote. [121] Schools are allowed to negotiate lower rates than pro-rated, or if they decide they may pay a higher rate. [122]

Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy[123] is one of Oklahoma’s two fully online charter schools with the latest enrollment figures at 2,782. [124] The OKVCA, which offers education for K-12 with participation from over 250 districts, had its first commencement in 2013. Looking back at the offerings, class Valedictorian Devyn Garcia stated:

“I had a lot of flexibility. I was able to work and go to school and still do really well. And I really enjoyed that aspect of it.”[125]

The other fully online charter school, Epic One Charter School, saw 2,241 enrollments in school year 2012-2013. [126] On top of offering K-12 education, EOCS incorporates a one-on-one program where a certified teacher is provided to construct an individualized learning plan. Students are also supplied with $800 to cover educational expenses. [127]

Oklahoma Virtual High School, run by Advanced Academics, [128] currently educates 765 students as a fully online public high school. [129] Although remote, all students have access to certified teachers on-demand from 6am to 9pm. [130]

Oklahoma Connections Academy is the other fully online public school, run by Connections Academy. [131] OKCA is authorized by the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board and currently serves 510 students. [132]   On top of oversight from the state board, OKCA has an independent school board. [133]  Connections Academy has served students in 27 states in come capacity. [134]


Due to concerns that the definition “educationally appropriate” gave school districts a wide berth to avoid supplemental online courses, [135] in 2013 the legislature passed SB419. The bill narrowed the “educationally appropriate” definition to cover all courses that are not a substantial repeat of a previously taken course. [136]

In 2012 the legislature passed SB1816, which established the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board for oversight. [137] Standards were further amended by SB267 in 2013. [138] The board authorizes all statewide virtual schools, established its procedures and policy, and districts are prohibited from offering fully online courses to students outside of their district. [139]

6.4 Wyoming

Fully Online and Part Time Online Education, Blended Schools


Wyoming has both supplemental and fully online distance learning programs accessed through The Wyoming Switchboard Network for K-12 students. [140] The Network has over 700 courses available along with additional information on the providers and education policies. Wyoming has 1,377 fully online students accounting for 1.7% of the school population. [141]  There are 1,096 supplemental enrollments; numbers in both areas grow year to year. [142]

An annual reporting to the legislature and governor is required with information that allows for comparison between state-and-distance performances along with provider-to-provider comparisons. [143]


Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students is the primary assessment tool in Wyoming education. [144] PAWS assesses students grade 3-11 in reading, math and science. There is no significant difference in proficiency between the reports; with DE students in some cases slightly outperforming traditional students and vice versa depending on year and subject. The Wyoming Switchboard 11-12 report does provide a useful table comparing the percentage of students “proficient and advanced” across providers; with most students achieving a proficient or advanced standard in most all subjects.[145]

There are five statewide online programs in Wyoming:

1. Wyoming “e” Academy of Virtual Education(Fremont County)
*Offers full-time curriculum to in-district students and supplemental to high school statewide

*Courses by WeAVE and Fort Washakie Charter High School; roughly 50 local students plus up to 200 students enrolled in their courses through their own school district.[146]

2. Campbell County Virtual School[147]
*Offers full-time K-6[148]
*Is run through K12 Inc.[149]

3. Uinta County School Dist #1’s Evanston Virtual High School[150]

 *Provides supplemental courses for 9-12

*Available to student residents of other districts outside of Uinta County Dist #1; but a     memorandum of understanding between the resident district and UCD1 must be first completed.[151]                              

*In a unique case Evanston Virtual High School does not seem to be constructed alongside one of the multistate entities such as Connections and K12, but to quite possibly be wholly constructed within the district to provide this service throughout the state. [152]

4. Wyoming Connections Academy
*Run through Connections Academy[153]

*Big Horn County School Dist #1; full-time and supplemental course to K-12[154]

*Students are given a loan computer and stipend to pay internet costs[155]

5. The Wyoming Virtual Academy (Niobrera County)[156]

*Provides full-time and supplemental to K-12.
*Powered by K12 Inc.
*No computer or stipend provided [157]

Students may choose to do full online education through their resident district or may transfer into a district that manages fully online.

In July 2013 a distance education update was presented to the Join Education Interim Committee reviewing the history of distance learning policy and making recommendations.[158] This is a useful resource to get a deeper view of the state of online education in Wyoming. in September 2009 a report was presented on the State of Wyoming Governor’s Task Force on Distance Education, Videoconferencing & IP Based communications.[159] Perhaps most comprehensive was the Resident District Handbook published by the Wyoming Switchboard Network for SY 12-13[160]


The Wyoming Switchboard Network was established in 2008 following SB0070, which was following recommendations by the Wyoming K-12 Distance Education Task Force. [161]

Wyoming provides a grant of $500,000 per biennium to help develop distance learning opportunities. Of the grant monies, funding went 30% to professional development, 20% to course design and creation, 33% to maintenance and operation, 17% to additional content design and creation; evaluation; accreditation. [162]

Students have no legislative guarantee of right to choose at course level. Students may use several providers for their courses at school but districts have right to deny request to enroll in out-of-dist course. [163] This policy is the same as Kansas and Oregon.

6.5 Idaho

Fully Online and Part Time Online Education, Blended Schools

Idaho provides a state virtual school, has seven fully online schools as well as some district programs. In a research paper published on the Maryland State Department of Education website, it was noted that

“States such as Idaho … have far larger state virtual schools despite having significantly smaller student populations.”[164]

Idaho was also the recipient of a 3rd place ranking nationwide for online policy and practice by the Center for Digital Education as long ago as 2008. [165] As of school year 2012-2013, Idaho had 19,036 online course enrollments.

Much of the online learning is provided through the Idaho Digital Learning Academy(IDLA), which provides blended learning training, [166] site coordination, [167] professional development[168]  and a course catalogue. [169]

Idaho has numerous virtual schools, with a 5,213 total enrollment in 2012-2013[170], they are:

–iSucceed allows dual enrollment as long as student takes at least 5 classes with iSucceed[173]
-Offers college courses/high school courses concurrently.
-Accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission; authorized by the Idaho Public School Charter Commission. Founded by parents and community members as a non-profit since 2008[174]
-iSucceed appears to be whole conceived and grown in Idaho and not under an outside network.

*KBAServes following types of students; [178]

* “Not finishing high school by the end of their senior year.
* Behind in credits that are required by the end of their senior year.
* Returning to school to graduate after dropping out during their junior or senior year.
* Referred to the school by their high school counselor for various reasons.
* Needs a shorter school day because of scheduling conflicts.
* Health issues that require a shorter day.”



SB 1184 allowed for laptops to be provided for all students, provided for review and approval for online courses and opened up student choice for online school enrolment without threat of district veto. Signatures were gathered to defeat the measure and it was defeated on the ballot with 66% of the vote. Requirements that students take at least two online courses to graduate and partial online education funding have since been removed from rule.                                                 .

Funding was re-established for the digital learning academy with SB1091 [179]in 2013. The IDLA is funded $1,350,000 plus a $221/course funding resulting in a current biennium funding for 13-14 at $6,400,000. Further the state is developing a single online directory to provide access to all online education in Idaho whether from IDLA/charter schools/school districts. The funding costs appropriated for portal development is $150,000.

With the advent of SB1028[180] in 2013 students may now, at the guidance and discretion of school districts, obtain credit based on subject “mastery” instead of seat time.

HB221[181] in the 2013 session; prohibits local school boards from authorizing new public virtual school charter.



Many educators nationwide have utilized MOOCs to aid their instruction; Idaho notably started a formal partnership with the Khan Academy in May 2012 with funding assistance from the Albertson Foundation. Thanks to a $1,800,000 grant, 118 teachers in 49 schools now utilize Khan resources as a part of their instruction. [182] The Albertson grant has been used for technical assistance, training, technology and assessment. [183] For potential users of the grant, applications were excepted from charter schools, traditional public schools and private schools. [184] Actual use of Khan Academy resources is completely free. [185]

Teachers have indicated this tool has allowed them to keep students up to date during the summer months to minimize the need for fall “catchup”. David Mullins, a teacher at the Idaho Arts Charter (K-8), said:

“Being able to take a child and being able to see ‘wow they are really struggling here’. So now when I’ve got everybody else doing this I can slip around back without anybody else noticing that I’m helping somebody because they’re slower; and allowing that child to keep their dignity because I was able to privately identify what it was that they needed help with, that was awesome.”[186]

Another educator, originally dubious of the “flipped classroom”, started trying out using Khan Academy daily in her 7th grade classrrom, and is now sold. She said:

“I’m actually teaching better,” she says. “But now instead of teaching the standards, I’m teaching the students.” [187]

According to the founder of Khan Academy:

“In Idaho, we hope to see educators using Khan Academy to individualize their instruction … teachers will be able to focus their attention on specific students who are struggling while the rest of the class engages with material appropriate for them.”[188]

6.6 Arizona


Fully Online and Part Time Online Education, Blended Schools


Arizona has 22 virtual charter schools along with 52 part and full-time options at local districts; an estimated 42,000 students received part or fully online instruction in 2012-2013. [189] Enrollment has been growing year to year. [190] Arizona does not have a state virtual school.

Students have the ability to choose full or part time instruction from one or more providers, with online funding for supplemental courses set at 85% of base funding. [191]

One of the largest Arizona programs is the Mesa Distance Learning Program; unique in that it not only offers full and part time online instruction but is completely sponsored by a public school district.[192] It also offers courses for out of state students and served 25,164 students in 2012-2013. [193] 947 of those students were full time, most being out of the school district. 67 high school courses are currently offered, [194] offerings are free to home school students.

Vetting is offered through the Arizona Online Instruction program (AOI). [195] School districts or charter schools can apply to incorporate online programs, with 74 currently approved programs. [196] Charter school applications go through the Arizona State Board of Charter Schools and school district applications are run through the State Board of Education (SBE). 52 of the programs are from school districts, 22 are charter. Fully online programs receive 95% of base funding, with dollars following the student and may be split. [197] If a student fails to take state assessments and the school sees less than 95% of students complying with assessments, the student is not allowed to continue on the online course.


Governance and policy around full and part time online education revolves around 2009’s SB1196[198] and HB2129[199] from 2010.

6.7 Minnesota

Minnesota has 27 providers for supplemental and full time online education, [200] with 9,196 students enrolled in various programs. [201] Funding is only awarded to providers if the student actually completes their course. [202] With 83,608 total course enrollments, [203] funding is awarded on 88% of the base model with 12% going to the local district. [204]

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) engages in reviews and approval measures as well as posting lists of all fully online schools and school districts that allow part time enrollment from nonresident districts. [205] Further, full listing of courses are provided. [206] If a school desires to have majority online learning and receive funding they must be approved by the MDE.

The Missoula Learning Commons is the main repository of course listing from approved providers, created in partnership with the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges. [207] At the time of writing, 2,564 courses are available on the MLC.

6.8 Utah


Utah has four statewide schools providing full time online education as well as many district programs utilizing the state’s online education program. [208] Latest numbers show multiple-district fully online enrollment in Utah at 3,336; with annual growth over 5x in the prior five years. [209] Students are allowed to choose providers and funding follows the student at the course. Further, private and homeschool students are allowed to participate for free. Uniquely Utah splits up funding based on completion, with 50% at enrollment and 50% at completion. Students may advance at a personal pace upon completion. [210]

Charter schools or school districts may contract with a private online provider or apply to be an online provider themselves.

Utah’s online education portal is known as the Statewide Online Education Program(SOEP). [211] SOEP was conceptualized by Senate Bill 65[212] in 2011, with further amendments made by Senate Bill 178 in 2012. [213]  The State Board of Education is required to submit a report on the performance of all online providers.

Utah Electronic High School acts mostly as a supplemental online provider to local school districts, seeing 10,308 enrollments in courses for school year 2012-2013. UEHS is given a line item funding budget instead of per pupil funding and only gives diplomas to dropout students after their traditional class has passed graduation.

6.9 Florida

“As of 2012, Florida is the first state to offer full and part-time [online learning] options to all students in grades K-12.”[214]

Florida incorporates a number of competency-based practices into their Virtual School, which is widely-regarded as the most successful state virtual school in the country. Students receive feedback from multiple sources, can conduct self-assessments, allow students to demonstrate mastery of key concepts verbally, and allow students to skip instructional modules that they demonstrate mastery of in pre-testing.[215] These practices demonstrate that online education can provide rigorous, personalized learning and assessments that use student time efficiently—and can be provided to large numbers of people at one time, as the Florida system has thousands of students.


“In Florida, the Department of Education approves online course providers, in addition to courses, before they work with school districts.”[216]

With full and part time choice for all students, 240,000 students enrolled in at least one online course in 2012-2013. [217] With enrollment growing significantly year to year, an estimated 14,000 students participated in multi-district online programs 2012-2013. [218]

Florida Virtual School is the largest state virtual school in the nation, with supplemental options as well as full time education (FLVS FT), partnered with Connections Academy.[219] All courses are currently available to homeschool students. [220] One of the most intriguing FLVS offerings are extensive training for potential certification in high tech fields with Oracle, Microsoft and Cisco. [221]  FLVS also makes its courses available to out of state for a fee.

Florida also participates in the Virtual Independent School Network(VISNET), which is a consortium of schools over four states. [222] VISNET aims to provide member schools with resources, tools and professional development. Fully blended private schools can and do use courses from FLVS and teachers both in house and from the FLVS.[223]

The state authorizes many types of providers, funded with a prorated portion of FTE upon completion. [224] Along with Alabama, Michigan and Virginia, [225] Florida students are required to complete at least one online course grade 6-12 to graduate. [226]

The state is also looking at the possible usefulness of MOOCs: in 2013 HB7029 required the department of education to review MOOCs and consider processes for approval, funding, accountability and credit through MOOCs. [227]

All districts provide full time and part time virtual instruction K-12; all schools have at least one option through the Virtual Instruction Program (VIP), [228]  many have three. [229]

HB7029 in 2013[230] created a statewide online course catalog and lifts previous restrictions on across district lines for courses. The bill allows possibility of including MOOCs in certain subjects, includes approved providers who agree to participate in statewide assessment, requires operational audit to legislature, prohibits district from forcing student to take online course at specific time or place; requires DOE to identify measures of quality based student outcomes.

This model of funding, in which funds “follow the student,” has been used most successfully by Florida.  Indeed, the  State of Online Learning in Maryland reports, “This approach, of proportional funding following the student, is the only funding model that has allowed for growth to meet student demand; it is why Florida Virtual School is five times larger than any other state virtual school in the country.”[231] Moreover, as the report says, following Florida’s funding model “entails two key components. First, it frees districts and online schools fromseat-time requirements that do not apply to the online environment. Second, it allows funding based on mastery, and allows students to move through a course at any pace, while maintaining the high quality standards currently demanded in the face-to-face environment. Funding based on mastery makes sense because it ties funding to the educational goal—student outcomes—instead of a poor proxy for that outcome [seat-time]. Julie Young, President and Chief Executive Officer of Florida Virtual School, has noted that in online courses mastery becomes the constant and time becomes the variable, which is the way education should be operated, and funded.”[232]

Since Florida’s Virtual School funding model is, according to the SOLM Report, “the only funding model that has allowed for growth to meet student demand,” the Florida Virtual School’s enrollment figures provide a reasonable basis for estimating the demand for student participation in a number of other state virtual schools, including Maryland’s.[233]  The  2009-2010 school year saw Florida’s  2,634,522 public school students total 213,926 course enrollments, meaning that a maximum of 8.1% of Florida’s public school students were enrolled in online coursework through the state’s virtual school.  Using the reasonable assumption that Maryland’s public school students had about the same level of interest in enrolling in the state’s virtual school during the same year, Maryland’s 848,412 public school students should have totaled about 69,000 course enrollments.  Instead, Maryland’s Virtual School had only 633 course enrollments.  There can be no serious doubt that Maryland’s Virtual School is failing to meet public school students’ demands—an information brochure published by MSDE about MVS specifically emphasizes, “Enrollment is based on course availability”.

According to a recent Maryland State report:

“Florida Virtual School’s funding model and state policies are illustrative. The state law that allows all students in the state to choose FLVS, and that mandates that the public education funding follow the student, is the key reason for this growth. In its early years, and prior to the present funding model,

FLVS received over $20 million of initial funding. Funding of FLVS is now based on successful course completions—one of very few large-scale, mastery-based, funding models in K-12 education.

The overall result is that the funding flowing to FLVS is far larger than funding for other state virtual schools, and also that the funding is tied to the number of students, allowing FLVS to plan for growth.”[234]


Considering the plethora of policy solutions in other states Maryland has a handful of tools available to increase access to online education for students and improve student outcomes.

Notable are the recommendations provided by the State of Online Learning in Maryland 2010-2011 report, which include:[235]

The report also recommends that Maryland’s public schools adopt an online learning requirement, as even in cases in which online learning is not needed to solve a scheduling issue or provide a highly-qualified teacher when one would not otherwise be available, “online courses provide information and technology literacy skills to students.”[236] The report also recommends that Maryland’s public schools expand the use of blended learning—not just as a valuable complement to traditional instruction, but as a part of a statewide “continuity of learning plan” that some observers believe are important to have should schools be closed due to pandemic, natural disaster, or other disruption.[237] Though the thought of schools being closed due to a natural disaster or outbreak of a communicable disease like SARS or H1N1 is unpleasant, online learning can help mitigate the potential disruption to children’s education, as it did in Singapore in 2009 when some schools closed due to hundreds of confirmed cases of the swine flu.[238]  “Singapore holds e-learning week once a year: e-learning is a process model for continuity of learning, with e-learning week once a year, it is “non-alarmist”, sets up e-learning processes and models in school using e-learning and blended learning models.  Singapore schools still hold classes face-to-face throughout the year, but use e-learning processes and tools so that they are prepared in the case of a pandemic and are ready and prepared to shut schools down if they need to, with e-learning as the continuity of learning model. This promotes the use of technology and e-learning for teaching and learning every day.  Staff members at schools know what to do and how to use the technology and students know what is expected of them.”[239] With almost 500,000 students, Singapore’s school system demonstrates that setting up an online education infrastructure that can serve large numbers of students is feasible.[240]

Study MOOCs

The Legislature and/or MSDE may further study Massive Online Open Courses and their possible role in Maryland education. As seen in Idaho, teachers use these free and open resources to help their students keep sharp with their subjects over summer. Many across the country use it to supplement their classes already; and other states have considered or implemented mechanisms by which certain MOOC courses may qualify students for certain credits. This option is intriguing as any utilizing of MOOC courseware would come at no expense to the general fund or taxpayer.

As seen in Florida, HB 7029 in 2013 has looked into possible approval, accountability, funding and credit for use of these courses. [241]


In order to maintain flexibility, scalability and choice, funding may follow the pupil with whatever provider is used in online education. There is a wide array of formulas depending on a percentage of FTE or the unit of course time measure that respective states use. It is commonplace to see the funding be a smaller percentage than is awarded to traditional schools.

Maryland could consider a funding formula that rewards and encourages course completion.[242] For example: Florida and Minnesota only fund upon completion, Louisiana and Michigan fund part at the start of the course, the rest upon completion.[243] In some cases a portion of the completion funding is awarded still if the course is completed after the course deadline, if it happens before graduation.

State Assessment, State Standards and Accountability Standards

In order to encourage participation in state assessments, Maryland may choose to prohibit students from continuing an online program if they do not take state assessments and the school has less than 95% rate of state assessment participation, as is done in Arizona.

For effective and timely scrutiny by educated officials and the public, Maryland may require an annually published report made available to the public and submitted to the Governor and the legislature. The report may be an audit, collected by MSDE or self reported data collected into the report. It should provide performance data comparing not only distance and online education with the traditional classroom but should also show a contrast with various supplemental and fully online providers, one example of this in practice is the annual report prepared in Wyoming.[244] Another example is available in Arizona, where public and charter virtual school reports are prepared by the AZ Dept. of Ed. and sent annually to the Governor and the Legislature.  The report should also include enrollment data showcasing how many students from each district participate in part-and-full-time education.





Other considerations include:                                                   .


Recommended Online Learning Studies and Reports

Understanding the Implications of Online Learning for Educational Productivity – US Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, January 2012

Online Course Graduation Requirement: A report for the Maryland General Assembly – The Maryland State Department of Education & The Maryland Advisory Council for Virtual Learning, December 2013

A Study of Online Learning: Perspectives of Online Learners and Educators – Report to the Colorado Department of Education Unit of Online Learning, Buechner Institute for Governance, October 2012

The State of Online Learning in Maryland 2010-11, Evergreen Education Group, Maryland State Department of Education, December 2010

State of Wyoming Governor’s Task Force on Distance Education, Videoconferencing, & IP-Based Communications, Wainhouse Research, September 2009

Performance Audit 2013-02: Distance and Online Education Programs in Utah Schools, Utah State Board of Education Internal Audit Department, February 2014

Keeping Pace with K-12 Online & Blended Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice, Evergreen Education Group, 2014

Nicholas Schwaderer, the author of this report, is a graduate of Plymouth University in Plymouth, England and holds a BSc (Hons) in Law with Business Studies. He is a member of the lower house of the Montana State Legislature, and of its Education Committee. Christopher P. Ryan, before entering the service of the State of Maryland, assisted in the preparation of this Report; he is an honors graduate of Towson State University and holds a Master of Public Policy degree from George Washington University. The Calvert Institute is grateful to the Abell Foundation for its support of this project.


Calvert Institute for Policy Research, Inc.
8 West Hamilton Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Telephone 410 752 5887
Fax 410 539 3973
Christopher R. West, President
George W. Liebmann, Executive Director


[1] HB 1197 (2002) http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2002rs/bills/hb/hb1197t.PDF Accessed 10/9/14

[2] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 16. Accessed 10/2/14

[3] http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2010rs/fnotes/bil_0002/hb1362.pdf Accessed 10/2/14

[4] http://mdk12online.org/docs/Memo_Supt_Summer_School_Online_Courses.pdf Accessed 10/2/14

[5] http://mdk12online.org/schools/hsacourses.htm. Accessed 10/2/14

[6] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 17-9 Accessed 10/2/14

[7] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 13. Accessed 10/2/14

[8] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 12. Accessed 10/2/14

[9] http://mdreportcard.org/Enrollment.aspx?PV=34:17:99:AAAA:1:N:0:13:1:2:1:1:1:1:3 Accessed 10/2/14

[10] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 13.  Accessed 10/2/14

[11] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 12, 21. It may also be that this figure include even students who used the online coursework for less than 80% of the course, therefore not meeting Maryland’s definition of “online course.”  This would fall in line with Katie Egan’s interpretation of the law, apparently endorsed by MSDE, which effectively means that the use of online content to support a teacher in the classroom is no different than a regular course in the classroom and therefore requires no additional approval from MSDE.

[12] http://mdk12online.org/docs/MVSCourseDescriptions.pdf; http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/onlinelearning/APCourses.shtm; http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/onlinelearning/  Accessed 10/2/14

[13] http://mdk12online.org/schools/hsacourses.htm; http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 16;  http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/onlinelearning/PDFs/MCPS-StudenteLearning-ProgramOverview.pdf Accessed 10/2/14

[14] http://msp.msde.state.md.us/Enrollment.aspx?PV=34:17:15:AAAA:1:N:0:13:1:2:1:1:1:1:3 Accessed 10/2/14

[15] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 21. http://mdreportcard.org/Enrollment.aspx?PV=34:17:21:AAAA:1:N:0:13:1:2:1:1:1:1:3 Accessed 10/2/14

[16] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 5. Accessed 10/2/14

[17] Accessed 10/10/14 http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/13sdoe/html/13agen.html  Accessed 10/2/14

[18] http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2012rs/chapters_noln/Ch_290_sb0689T.pdf; Reports for 2012: http://dlslibrary.state.md.us/publications/Exec/MSDE/ED7-10B-06(c)_2012.pdf ; 2013: http://dlslibrary.state.md.us/publications/Exec/MSDE/ED7-10B-06(c)_2013.pdf Accessed 10/2/14

[19] http://mdk12online.org/docs/Process_and_Procedures.pdf, 2. Accessed 10/2/14

[20] http://house.state.md.us/2012rs/fnotes/bil_0005/hb0745.pdf, 3-4. Accessed 10/2/14

[21] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 8. Accessed 10/2/14

[22] http://www.nctq.org/docs/24-09_7384.pdf, 2. Accessed 10/2/14

[23] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 10. Accessed 10/2/14

[24] http://mdreportcard.org/Enrollment.aspx?PV=34:17:10:AAAA:1:N:0:13:1:2:1:1:1:1:3 Accessed 10/2/14

[25] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 26-7. Accessed 10/2/14

[26] http://hcdppc.wikispaces.com/ Accessed 10/2/14

[27] http://hcdppc.wikispaces.com/file/view/Student_Doc_WH.pdf/348586398/Student_Doc_WH.pdf, 2nd page. Accessed 10/2/14

[28] http://mdk12.org/instruction/curriculum/hsa/world_history/World_History_LitReview.pdf, 5. Accessed 10/2/14

[29] See Unit 4, Lesson C, Opening

[30] http://cecilcounty.mdonlinegrants.org/index.php Accessed 10/2/14

[31] See about 2:35 into the video here: http://hcdppc.wikispaces.com/Home

[32] Ibid., see about 2:15 into the video.

[33] About 4:15 into the video.

[34] 3:05 in, 3:25 in

[35] http://hcdppc.wikispaces.com/evaluation; http://cecilcounty.mdonlinegrants.org/pages/spiffy563.php?unitNum=6&lessonNum=3&pageNum=3  Accessed 10/2/14

[36] Md. EDUCATION Code Ann. §9-102 (12) Accessed 10/10/14 http://www.aacps.org/charterschools/title9.pdf  Accessed 10/2/14

[37] http://kpk12.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/KeepingPace2012.pdf, 21. Accessed 10/2/14

[38] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 23. Accessed 10/2/14

[39] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 24. Accessed 10/2/14

[40] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 15.  Accessed 10/2/14

[41] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 18.  Accessed 10/2/14

[42] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 4. Accessed 10/2/14

[43] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 9. Accessed 10/2/14

[44] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 9. Accessed 10/2/14

[45] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 7. Accessed 10/2/14

[46] http://mdk12online.org/docs/MVSBrochure.pdf Accessed 10/2/14

[47] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 25-6. Accessed 10/2/14

[48] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 25-6. Accessed 10/2/14

[49] http://www.inacol.org/press/docs/nacol_fast_facts.pdf Accessed 10/2/14

[50] http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/01/how-online-learning-is-revolutionizing-k12-education-and-benefiting-students Accessed 10/2/14

[51] http://www.competencyworks.org/about/competency-education/ Accessed 10/2/14

[52] Ibid.

[53] http://www.competencyworks.org/2013/03/which-pilot-do-you-want-flying-your-plane/#more-3040 Accessed 10/2/14

[54] http://www.digitallearningnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/CB-Paper-Final.pdf, 37, 2. Accessed 10/2/14

[55] http://www.digitallearningnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/CB-Paper-Final.pdf, 2.

[56] http://www.digitallearningnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/CB-Paper-Final.pdf, 31.

[57] Iowa Department of Education, “Competency-Based Education Task Force Preliminary Report,” 2013, page 8.

[58]http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_innovation/2012/11/answers_for_lessons_from_critics_of_competency-based_learning.html  Accessed 10/2/14

[59] http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-west/new-twist-in-education-flipped-classroom-makes-homework-an-in-school-effort-puts-lectures-online-216213/ Accessed 10/2/14

[60] http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-west/new-twist-in-education-flipped-classroom-makes-homework-an-in-school-effort-puts-lectures-online-216213/ Accessed 10/2/14

[61] Ibid.

[62] The K-12 Flipped Classroom, Slides 5, 7-9. Presentation can be accessed at: http://sloanconsortium.org/conference/2012/aln/k-12-flipped-classroom Accessed 10/2/14

[63] http://www.stillwater.k12.mn.us/departments/technology/technology-around-district/flipped-classroom Accessed 10/2/14

[64] http://www.mlive.com/flushing/index.ssf/2012/05/mt_morris_schools_leads_the_wa.html Accessed 10/2/14

[65] http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/the-flip-turning-a-classroom-upside-down/2012/06/03/gJQAYk55BV_story.html  Accessed 10/2/14

[66] Ibid.

[67] http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/the-flip-turning-a-classroom-upside-down/2012/06/03/gJQAYk55BV_story.html Accessed 10/2/14

[68] http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/24/my-view-its-never-too-late-to-begin-flipping-your-classroom/ Accessed 10/2/14

[69] http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/the-flip-classwork-at-home-homework-in-class/2012/04/15/gIQA1AajJT_story.html Accessed 10/2/14

[70] http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-06-03/local/35462583_1_students-classroom-homework Accessed 10/2/14

[71] http://www.pjstar.com/news/x1367608292/Havana-school-district-flips-over-homework-at-school-teaching-switch Accessed 10/2/14

[72] http://www.stillwater.k12.mn.us/departments/technology/technology-around-district/flipped-classroom

[73] http://kpk12.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/KeepingPace2012.pdf, 27. As explained on page 27, the figures from AZ, OK, and CO include both full-time and supplemental students. Indiana’s numbers include some students from blended schools. The most recent figures from the state of Washington could only be found for the 2010-11 school year. Figures were unavailable for Alaska and the District of Columbia. Arizona’s 2011-2012 enrollment data is an estimate. The most recently available overall public school population figures for every state except Maryland are from 2009-2010, available here:  http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2011/2011347.pdf, 6-7. The most recently available Maryland public school enrollment figures are from the 2011-2012 school year, available here:  http://msp.msde.state.md.us/Enrollment.aspx?PV=34:17:99:AAAA:1:N:0:13:1:2:1:1:1:1:3.  Accessed 10/2/14

[74] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 13; http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2011/2011347.pdf, 6 Accessed 10/2/14

[75] If there are other online learning paths in these states, the MSDE did not feel the need to mention them in the report whose information formed the basis for this chart. http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 12. Accessed 10/2/14

[76] http://www.inacol.org/press/docs/nacol_fast_facts.pdf Accessed 10/2/14

[77] Keeping Pace 2013, 25.

[78] Keeping Pace 2013, 134.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Keeping Pace 2013, 33.

[81] Keeping Pace 2013, 42.

[82] Accessed 10/11/14 http://www.k12.com/ohva/ Accessed 10/2/14

[83] http://www.k12.com/ohva#.VC8xEPldX3g Accessed 10/2/14

[84] http://www.k12.com/ohva/who-we-are/board#.VC8xmPldX3g Accessed 10/2/14

[85] http://www.k12.com/ohva/faqs/general#.VC8xqfldX3g Accessed 10/2/14

[86] Ibid.

[87] http://www.starbeacon.com/news/local_news/article_13037ddd-bf2d-5b6b-818b-afa584758c79.html Accessed 10/2/14

[88] http://www.starbeacon.com/news/local_news/article_13037ddd-bf2d-5b6b-818b-afa584758c79.html Accessed 10/2/14

[89] http://www.k12.com/ohva/how-it-works/high-school#.VC81IvldX3g Accessed 10/2/14

[90]http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/htbin/ohio_educ_dir.com?dtype=09.+Community+Schools&dirn=&%20birn=&county=All+Counties Accessed 10/2/14

[91] 3314.041, http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3314.041 Accessed 10/11/14

[92] http://www.ecotnews.com/middle-school-students-receive-virtual-lunch-period/ Accessed 10/2/14

[93] http://www.ecotnews.com/watch-entire-ecot-2014-graduation-ceremony/ Accessed 10/2/14

[94] http://www.ecotohio.org/Events/FieldTrips Accessed 10/2/14

[95] http://www.ecotohio.org/Jobs/Teachers Accessed 10/2/14

[96] http://mosaicaeducation.com/schools/mosaica-online-academy-of-ohio/ ; part of the Mosaica Network. Accessed 10/2/14

[97] http://oh.provostacademy.com/who-we-are/about-us ; focus on at-risk and gifted youths. Backed up by EdisonLearning; http://edisonlearning.com/  Accessed 10/2/14

[98] http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/insight-school-of-ohio-approved-by-department-of-education-213967071.html; emphasis on at-risk youths. Part of the K12 network, homepage available at http://www.k12.com/isoh/home#.VC9HqvldX3g  Accessed 10/2/14

[99] Keeping Pace 2013, 39.; http://ilearnohio.org/search/courses/ Accessed 10/2/14

[100] http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/coursera.org# Accessed 10/11/14

[101] http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/BillText130/130_HB_59_EN_N.html Accessed 10/2/14

[102] http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/BillText129/129_SB_316_EN_N.html Accessed 10/11/14

[103] http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3302.41 Accessed 10/11/14

[104] http://stateimpact.npr.org/ohio/tag/hb-555/ Accessed 10/11/14

[105] http://www.cde.state.co.us/onlinelearning/download/rptEnrollmentAll1213.pdf; Accessed 10/12/14

[106] 1,007 students; Keeping Pace 2013, 78. http://www.cde.state.co.us/onlinelearning/schools.htm Accessed 10/2/14

[107] Ibid.

[108] Keeping Pace 2013,25.

[109] http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-922796 Accessed 10/12/14

[110] http://www.npr.org/2012/12/07/166748835/more-teachers-flipping-the-school-day-upside-down Accessed 10/12/14

[111] http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-922796 Accessed 10/12/14

[112] http://www.coloradocapitolwatch.com/bill/1/HB11-1277/2011/1/ Accessed 10/7/14

[113] http://www.coloradokids.org/issues/k12education/ Accessed 10/2/14

[114] Keeping Pace 2013, 25.

[115] Keeping Pace 2013, 33.

[116] Keeping Pace 2013, 35.

[117] http://ok.gov/sde/sites/ok.gov.sde/files/Rules-Ch15Sub34SuppOnlineCourses.pdf; rule coming from direction in SB380 http://www.oklegislature.gov/BillInfo.aspx?Bill=sb280&Session=1100  Accessed 10/5/14

[118] OSDE Supplemental Online Course Information http://www.ok.gov/sde/sites/ok.gov.sde/files/OK14-15SupplementalOnlineCourses.pdf  Accessed 10/5/14

[119] Standards available at http://ok.gov/sde/oklahoma-c3-priority-academic-student-skills Accessed 10/5/14

[120] 210: 15-34-3

[121] 210: 15-34-2

[122] 210: 15-34-14

[123] Part of k12 Network http://www.k12.com/ovca#.VDHIqPldX3g Accessed 10/5/14

[124] Data at http://www.k12.com/sites/default/files/pdf/2013-K12-Academic-Report-Feb6-2013.pdf Accessed 10/5/14

[125] Reported by KJRH 5/18/13 http://www.kjrh.com/news/local-news/oklahoma-virtual-charter-academys-first-graduating-class-turns-their-tassels-earns-their-diplomas Accessed 10/5/14

[126] http://epiccharterschools.org/ Accessed 10/5/14

[127] http://epiccharterschools.org/about-epic/frequently-asked-questions/  Accessed 10/2/14

[128] http://www.advancedacademics.com/ Accessed 10/4/14

[129] Keeping Pace 2013, 138.

[130] http://oklahomavirtualhighschool.com/about.html  Accessed 10/4/14

[131] http://www.connectionsacademy.com/oklahoma-virtual-school/home.aspx Accessed 10/4/14

[132] http://www.connectionsacademy.com/oklahoma-virtual-school/our-school/home.aspx Accessed 10/4/14

[133] http://www.connectionsacademy.com/Libraries/Board-Agendas/OKCA_Board_Meeting_Schedule_14_15_APPROVED.pdf Accessed 10/5/14

[134] http://www.connectionsacademy.com/events.aspx Accessed 10/5/14

[135] 210:15-34-1(c)(2) Curriculum and Instruction Subchapter on Supplemental Online Course Procedures

[136] Bill information available http://legiscan.com/OK/bill/SB419/2013 Accessed 10/5/14

[137] http://www.oklegislature.gov/BillInfo.aspx?Bill=SB1816&session=1200 Accessed 10/5/14

[138] https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/legislation/54th/2013/1R/SB/267.pdf Accessed 10/5/14

[139] http://www.ok.gov/sde/statewide-virtual-charter-school-board Accessed 10/5/14

[140] Keeping Pace 2013, 15.

[141] Keeping Pace 2013, 25.

[142] Keeping Pace 2013, 162.

[143] Most recent report via Wyoming Switchboard Network for SY 11-12; http://www.wyomingswitchboard.net/Docs/2011-2012WyoDE.pdf Accessed 10/8/14

[144] More PAWS info from Department of Education http://edu.wyoming.gov/educators/assessment/paws/ Accessed 10/8/14

[145] Page 10; http://www.wyomingswitchboard.net/Docs/2011-2012WyoDE.pdf Accessed 10/8/14

[146] http://www.wyomingswitchboard.net/Providers/Statewide/WeAVE/Description.aspx Accessed 10/8/14

[147] http://www.k12.com/ccvs Accessed 10/8/14

[148] http://wyomingswitchboard.net/Providers/Statewide/CCVS/Description.aspx Accessed 10/8/14

[149] http://www.k12.com/participating-schools/wyoming/1110#.VDWtzPldX3g Accessed 10/8/14

[150] School website http://evhs1.uinta1.com/ Accessed 10/8/14

[151] http://wyomingswitchboard.net/Providers/Statewide/EVHS/Student.aspx Accessed 10/8/14

[152] http://wyomingswitchboard.net/Providers/Statewide/EVHS/Contacts.aspx Accessed 10/8/14

[153] http://www.connectionsacademy.com/wyoming-school/home.aspx Accessed 10/8/14

[154] http://wyomingswitchboard.net/Providers/Statewide/WCA/Description.aspx Accessed 10/8/14

[155] Ibid.

[156] http://www.k12.com/wyva#.VDWwy_ldX3g Accessed 10/8/14

[157] http://wyomingswitchboard.net/Providers/Statewide/WyVA/Description.aspx  Accessed 10/8/14

[158] http://legisweb.state.wy.us/InterimCommittee/2013/04Rpt0715Appendix16.pdf Accessed 10/8/14

[159] http://www.uwyo.edu/accreditation/_files/docs/dist_learn_wh-consult_rep_revc.pdf Accessed 10/8/14

[160] http://wyomingswitchboard.net/Docs/WSNRDHB.pdf Accessed 10/8/14

[161] http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2008/Bills/SF0070.pdf ; summary at http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2008/Summaries/SF0070.htm Accessed 10/8/14

[162] Pg 14 2011-2012 Summary Report of Distance Education in Wyoming; http://www.wyomingswitchboard.net/Docs/2011-2012WyoDE.pdf Accessed 10/8/14

[163] Keeping Pace 2013,35.

[164] Pg. 23, The State of Online Learning in Maryland 2010-2011, Accessed 10/10/14 http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf $$

[165] http://www.idahodigitallearning.org/AboutUs/WhoWeAre.aspx Accessed 10/8/14

[166] http://www.idahodigitallearning.org/Educators/BlendedLearning.aspx Accessed 10/8/14

[167] http://www.idahodigitallearning.org/Educators/SiteCoordinators.aspx Accessed 10/8/14

[168] http://www.idahodigitallearning.org/Educators/TrainingRegistration.aspx Accessed 10/8/14

[169] http://www.idahodigitallearning.org/Students/Courses/CourseCatalog.aspx Accessed 10/8/14

[170] http://kpk12.com/states/idaho/ Accessed 10/8/14

[171] Run through the K12 Network; http://www.k12.com/idva Accessed 10/8/14

[172]Through Connections Academy http://www.connectionsacademy.com/idaho-online-school/home.aspx Accessed 10/8/14

[173] http://isucceedvhs.net/faq/ Accessed 10/8/14

[174] http://isucceedvhs.net/about/history/ Accessed 10/8/14

[175] http://www.rmckenna.org/High%20School%20Program/onlineLearning.htm Accessed 10/8/14

[176] http://anotherchoicecharter.org/ Accessed 10/8/14

[177] http://www.iconschool.org/learn_about_icon Accessed 10/8/14

[178] http://kootenaibridgeacademy.org/education/components/faq/faq.php?sectiondetailid=561 Accessed 10/8/14

[179] http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/S1091Bookmark.htm Accessed 10/8/14

[180] http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title33/T33CH16SECT33-1620.htm Accessed 10/8/14

[181] http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2013/H0221.pdf Accessed 10/8/14

[182] http://www.khanidaho.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Khan-Academy-In-Idaho-Map-2014.pdf Accessed 10/8/14

[183] http://www.khanidaho.org/resources/Khan-Academy-Idaho-Release.pdf Accessed 10/8/14

[184] Ibid.


[185] www.khanacademy.org Accessed 10/8/14

[186] https://www.khanacademy.org/talks-and-interviews/other-features/v/khan-academy-in-idaho Accessed 10/8/14

[187] Accessed 10/8/14 http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/48-idaho-schools-flip-classroom-and-pilot-khan-academy-online-learning

[188] Ibid.

[189] Keeping Pace 2013, 12.

[190] Keeping Pace 2013, 25.

[191] Keeping Pace 2013, 37.

[192] https://www.mdlp.org/ Accessed 10/8/14

[193] Accessed 10/8/14

[194] https://www.mdlp.org/index.php?page=catalog Accessed 10/8/14

[195] Existing AOI Schools; http://www.azed.gov/state-board-education/files/2014/06/list-of-aoi-districts-2014.pdf Accessed 10/8/14

[196] Keeping Pace 2013,71.

[197] http://www.azauditor.gov/ASD/PDF/Charter_Schools/USFRCS_Memo_%2083.pdf Accessed 10/8/14

[198] http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/1r/summary/s.1196_house%20changes%20memo.doc.htm Accessed 10/8/14

[199] http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/hb2129s.pdf Accessed 10/4/14

[200] Keeping Pace 2013, 13.

[201] Keeping Pace 2013, 25.

[202] Keeping Pace 2013, 36.

[203] Keeping Pace 2013, 112.

[204] Keeping Pace 2013, 37.

[205] SF1528 in 2012

[206] List of providers, http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/StuSuc/EnrollChoice/Online/index.html  Accessed 10/9/14

[207] https://mnlearningcommons.us/ Accessed 10/9/14

[208] Keeping Pace 2013,15.

[209] Keeping Pace 2013, 25.

[210] Keeping Pace 2013,37.

[211] http://schools.utah.gov/edonline/ Accessed 10/9/14

[212] http://le.utah.gov/~2011/bills/static/SB0065.html Accessed 10/9/14

[213] http://le.utah.gov/~2012/htmdoc/sbillhtm/sb0178.htm Accessed 10/9/14

[214] http://www.inacol.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/iNACOL_FastFacts_Feb2013.pdf Accessed 10/5/14

[215] http://www.digitallearningnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/CB-Paper-Final.pdf, 28. Accessed 10/4/14

[216] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 26.

[217] Keeping Pace 2013, 12.

[218] Keeping Pace 2013, 25.

[219] http://www.flvs.net/Pages/default.aspx Accessed 10/10/14

[220]http://www.flvs.net/Homeschool/Pages/default.aspx?source=flvshome Accessed 10/10/14

[221] http://www.flvs.net/Students/Pages/certificate-courses.aspx?source=homeschoolhub_banner Accessed 10/10/14

[222] http://www.vis-network.org/ Accessed 10/9/14

[223] Keeping Pace 2013, 32.

[224] Keeping Pace 2013, 37.

[225] Keeping Pace 2013, 38.

[226] CS/CS/HB7197 in 2011 http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=46852 Accessed 10/10/14

[227] http://www.fldoe.org/GR/pdf/2013/hb7029.pdf Accessed 10/10/14

[228] http://www.fldoe.org/schools/virtual-schools/DistrictVIP.asp Accessed 10/10/14

[229] http://www.fldoe.org/schools/virtual-schools/pdf/SparsitySupplement.pdf Accessed 10/10/14

[230] http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2013/7029/BillText/er/PDF Accessed 10/10/14

[231] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 25. Accessed 10/8/14

[232] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 25-6. Accessed 10/8/14

[233] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 25. Accessed 10/8/14

[234] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 13. Accessed 10/8/14

[235] The State of Online Learning in Maryland 2010-2011, 5.

[236] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 26. Accessed 10/1/14

[237] http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/D895AEF0-476A-46CF-86E5-A77C87A4E129/27450/OnlineLearning_MD_2010_2011.pdf, 26-7. Accessed 10/1/14

[238] http://www.inacol.org/col/ Accessed 10/1/14

[239] Ibid.

[240] http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/education-statistics-digest/files/esd-2012.pdf, 3. Accessed 10/3/14

[241] http://www.fldoe.org/GR/pdf/2013/hb7029.pdf Accessed 10/10/14

[242] Keeping Pace 2013, 36.

[243] 50/50 and 80/20; respectively.

[244] Most recent report via Wyoming Switchboard Network for SY 11-12; http://www.wyomingswitchboard.net/Docs/2011-2012WyoDE.pdf   Accessed 10/8/14

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