Virtual learning

Monday, June 4, 2007

The new Missouri Virtual Instruction Program has enrolled 1,700 students so far and has extended enrollment through June 13. Twenty of the students enrolled are from Cape Girardeau County, 10 from Scott County and nine from Bollinger County. No students have yet enrolled from Perry County.

Up to six classes per semester are open to any public, private and homeschooled students at no cost.

The state has invested $5 million to provide the first year of online teaching for elementary and high school students. Personal finance, algebra I, Spanish and biology and the most popular offerings.

MoVIP enables students to take courses not offered by their district, which gives some parity to students who live in small rural districts that can't afford to offer these classes. With online classes becoming more popular at universities, the advent of MoVIP in one sense could help prepare the state's students for college.

The virtual school should not be a substitute for the experience of learning from a teacher in a classroom, and it should not excuse a school district from investing in a course needed at the local level.

With this year's group of online students, officials should be able to assess the effectiveness of and the need for the program.

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