Should online courses be required in high school?I understand that a number of college now require students to take at least one online course as part of their program of studies, and some programs...

Should online courses be required in high school?

I understand that a number of college now require students to take at least one online course as part of their program of studies, and some programs can be completely entirely online.

Since one of the objectives of high school is to provide a supportive environmen tthat gets students ready for college and the real world, should high school students, particularly college-bound ones, be required to take an online course as a graduation requirement?

Expert Answers
pirateteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

North Carolina has the NC Virtual Public High School which has been helpful for many students across the state. As budgets, and therefore teachers, are cut, the program allows for students to still take classes that interest them.  If only one student in the school wants to take Hebrew, they can easily in the media center.

While my students who have taken online courses have enjoyed it for the most part, it clearly has not been good for every student.  For the most part, only my affluent students who have computers at home have done well in the online courses.  These students can work on homework or look back at notes when they are at home.  By students who only access the internet from school or the public library do not have this opportunity.

The other issue is that many of my students are typical high school kids.  While well meaning, they need that teacher standing over them reminding them to stay off Google and pay attention to their work.  Even with a teacher in the room, they have problems focusing.  Staring at a computer for an hour was very difficult for them.

We've found that many math and foreign language courses do not do well through our virtual high school.  It's not a slight on the teachers, who are often wonderful educators, but simply because the students needed that personal attention and physical interaction to help keep them focused or answer their questions.  Sometime, as much as they tried, emails through Blackboard just weren't enough.

I do support online education.  I'm getting my second Masters online and enjoy doing homework on the couch in my pjs; however, I caution that we take note that just as traditional schools do not work for every student, online courses may not either.

William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It strikes me that the time could easily come, and may be coming, when students will be taking courses online which are entirely automated, so that the students will have no contact with any human beings whatsoever. The information will be presented via video and audio recordings, there will be no books or any assigned reading, reading material presented online will be already programmed, tests and quizzes will probably be objective-type multiple-choice and true-false questions which can be graded by a computer without being seen by any person, grading for the tests and for the courses will be automatic, etc., etc. This dehumanizing seems to be taking place in many areas. For instance, when you make a telephone call these days you are likely to find yourself talking to a robot. The robot keeps telling you to push this button or that button, but you never get to hear a human voice. If the robot puts you on "hold," you find yourself listening to music that could only have been written by a robot and played by robots. But maybe this is the kind of music that robots enjoy. This is a little crazy-making now, but what will it be like fifty or a hundred years from now? The time could come when all high school courses and all college courses are not only given online but are totally computerized and robotized and digitalized and dehumanized. In fact, there is no reason why elementary-school classes couldn't be handled the same way. This seems to be just another development of the Industrial Revolution, which has always been characterized by replacing people with machinery. A further development in online education might be to have robots taking the courses as well as haing robots teaching and grading them. 

maadhav19 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do teach online and rather enjoy it. I'm surprised to hear that some colleges require students to take online classes, but it makes sense. It's more cost-effective for them as institutions.

But I understand it can be an isolating experience for some people. The best classes are those with an active instructor so that students have the feeling that there's a live person somewhere on the other side of the screen. Good classes should also incorporate some synchronous elements, like meetings via chats, Skype, Elluminate, or other such conferencing tool.  

Should high school classes require it? Not if their only objective is saving money, because then they'll only be getting what they pay for. I do think, though, that part of the contemporary educational curriculum should include computer literacy. Under this aegis it is reasonable to expect high school students to have some experience in an online or virtual classroom. This doesn't mean an entire course, necessarily. A unit of a larger course could be handled online, for example, as something of a "getting their feet wet" experience. Odds are, though, that younger students will be more comfortable navigating and learning in an online environment than their instructors.


dmcgillem eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that part of the preparation for post-secondary school should include an online format, but I have many of the same concerns that others have addressed above - the lack of access to the Internet, lack of direct accountability leading to a string of failures for students not yet capable of that type of self-management...

A good compromise, I think, is something like what I have modeled my high school classes after.  We meet according to the traditional school schedule, but in addition to the regular class component, they have modules that they have to complete online on my Moodle site.  These are structured to be completed independently, with no particular due dates other than the end of the semester.  This allows them to practice time management while giving me the ability to "get on" the ones who need that extra push.  They also participate in discussions on forums and blogs, which was one of the areas that I myself found most challenging when taking my online classes.  These exposures, I think, give them many of the benefits of online coursework while addressing many of the concerns.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is an intriguing idea.  I think students who are especially independent leanrners and workers would probably do very well with like type of learning experience, but I would be concerned about the high school students that don't yet have the maturity to handle the time management and relative freedom that this kind of instruction can entail.  There is something about having to look a teacher in the eye and say "my assignment isn't done" that is a motivation for some.  Because there are so many variations of expectations in online-learning situations there might be some programs that are better than others for various types of students.  I do think that this is at least part of the future of education and educators need to always be considering what is ultimately best and necessary to improve instruction.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it's a great idea! I recently was required to take an online college class, and though I missed the physical interaction with the students and, particularly, the teacher (who I loved!), it was a worthwhile experience. In addition to preparing high school students for this aspect of the college virtual classroom, it would save public schools a great deal of money that would otherwise go to paying the classroom teacher(s). Multiple online classes can utilize a single instructor, reducing the number of instructors needed to teach the course(s).

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have nothing against online classes, though students don't always succeed given the internet's inability to address individual learning needs and disabilities.  The other concern I would have deals with access.  I teach in a Title I school, with over 60% of my students living below the poverty level.  I think there is a tendency to assume all Americans have internet access, but this just isn't true.  A lot of my students don't.  So I think requiring the online class isn't feasible or fair at the present time, at least in public schools.

dwbettine eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On-line classes in high school are a great supplement to normal campus learning environments, however to make them mandatory seems a stretch. Having completed an advanced degree entirely on-line, I understand the self-discipline required to undertake such a commitment. I wonder if many high school students, let alone all, could find success in such a learning environment.

While I'll be the first to agree with offering on-line opportunities at both middle and high school levels, I would be against making them mandatory.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with #6 - I think there would be many students who would have extreme difficulty with availability of computer time and internet access. There are many students who don't have the equipment at home and many schools do not have enough computers or make what they do have available for enough flexible hours to accommodate the needs that would arise if online classes became a requirement.

I have mixed feelings about the whole idea, aside from the logistical difficulties!

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Idaho is going to require it because they are trying to reduce the cost of paying teachers.  I don't really like the idea because I did not feel like I was doing a good job when I taught online.  I don't like being only able to impart information via the written word.  I think it's a poor substitute for in the classroom learning.  But I guess the reality is that they're likely to take online classes in college and so they have to be ready for better or for worse.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Having explored online courses myself I think it is important that students are familiar with any educational development that they may be exposed to in the course of their learning experiences. I agree with other postings in that it may not be necessary for students to do whole courses, but being taught the protocols and systems erquired to access online courses is surely part of the educational process now.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I had no idea. I am not sure it's a good idea. I think kids would just be scrambling around taking random courses just to get the requirement taken care of. Schools might also try to do with fewer teachers, sticking 100 kids in a room with a computer tech.
arrellbelle | Student

I think online courses should just be made an option in college, where students are paying for the tuition and for those who also have a job or family that they need to take care of. If you're in high school, you don't necessary pay for any part of your tuition and being in class or school for all your subjects is more ideal because you get the help you want, you can go to the library for your research, and you are around your peers. 

lsrose | Student

I disagree. I'm taking AP US History online, and maybe it's because I'm taking courses overseas, but we have major, major issues with favoritism and carelessness with grading. I know this isn't a problem on the part of the course itself, but if online course are going to be required, then there needs to be some sort of regulation that can control that! I've been consistently getting the same grade for the same type of assignment within a few minutes after I turn it in! Not to mention, the students not overseas get better grades than us even though they don't turn anything in. Students shouldn't be forced into this kind of a situation!

maggiekb | Student

I think that requiring online courses would be unfair to anyone who does not have internet access at home. What would they do in a situation like that? Would there be other options for them?

ricklaurence | Student

Definitely, online teaching is not that advisable to students than the class room teaching. For me, class room schooling still does best than stay at home schooling. Anyway, have your heating and air-conditioning units installed or repaired? Visit us now HVAC Virginia Beach VA.

tdwaltersjes | Student

I believe that it bennefits students. You do have to prepare before going to college so if you don't take an online course than it is going to be a big eye-opener to those who have no idea. It also reduces the time of haveing to be in classrooms or school for that mature because alot of teenagers don't like being in school or classrooms. they would rather be in there own enviroment. Alot of students are taking gateway so they can avoid having to sit in class. Going imto gateway is a good choice if you don't like teachers, students, or school schedules. I did an online course because i had alot of medical issues and was never really attending school so i choose to do an online course and i loved it :)

salimj | Student

I have no problem with online courses. Infact I support these cources. Especially students of high school should be ready to take new methords of learning in order to survive in the modern learning process.

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I'm not in favor with this. Actually my brother tried but it doesn't work and it's hard for him to learn unlike in actuall classroom discussions. Anyway, in Raleigh, Carpet Cleaning Proz strive to make our residential and commercial clients the happiest clients of a carpet cleaners that can be. If you need carpet cleaners visit us now Raleigh Carpet Cleaning.