Types of Online Learning Environments
Virtual schools are a growing alternative to a typical classroom education. This type of learning allows students at home to attend classes via the Internet taught by real teachers and attended by various students. In some instances, students attend these classes using computers at their own school or in a separate building.
The three common types of online schools are:
Private online schools: Similar to their brick-and-mortar counterparts, this type of school is not controlled by a local or state government. While it is the most expensive option, many are regionally accredited and offered learners one-on-one access to teachers, tutors and counselors.
Public online schools: School districts around the country are creating virtual schools that are free for students to attend. They typically meet the basic state and national school requirements and received the proper accreditation. Some online high school programs are available to supplement traditional classroom learning and do not offer a high school diploma.
Online charter schools: Local and state governments fund these free virtual schools, yet they are independent and are not controlled as much as public schools. These schools target certain demographics, such as honor students, or focus on a certain topic like technology or science. Admissions policies are strict. In some states, if the local school district hosts the virtual learning, then only students from that specific school district may attend. Not all charter schools are accredited, and many have failed.
Online high schools: Many of today’s colleges and universities are including high school students into their programs through special virtual classes that will help them earn college credits. It is a great way to get a jump-start on a college degree, but it’s important to make sure the college is regionally accredited. There are typically college costs, admission policies and class requirements to adhere.