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ERIC Number: ED503863
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Promises and Pitfalls of Virtual Education in the United States and Indiana. Education Policy Brief. Volume 6, Number 6, Spring 2008
Holstead, Michael S.; Spradlin, Terry E.; Plucker, Jonathan A.
Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, Indiana University
The Internet has become a powerful force in transforming organizations in both private and public sectors, including public education. Some educational reformers now view virtual schools, in which the majority of course content is delivered online, as a viable alternative and innovative means of educating K-12 students. As of September 2007, 42 states, including Indiana, had some form of public online learning program, and many of the remaining states had plans for online learning in development. However, virtual education remains a controversial subject with many obstacles slowing its development and success. Finding acceptable accountability measures for virtual programs that are often different from the traditional measures of physical classrooms has created questions from the student to the state. The variety of benefits and obstacles, both present and future, compounded by increasing program and student enrollment numbers, has thrust virtual education to the foreground of the educational debate. This policy brief examines the main aspects of virtual education to provide a summary of the current status of virtual education in the United States, focusing on primary issues of funding, program and teacher quality, and administrative oversight and accountability. Policy recommendations are offered for education leaders and policymakers to consider as a means to moving virtual education forward in the state of Indiana. Four Policy Perspectives are included: (1) Expanding Educational Opportunity and Innovation through Online Learning (Susan Patrick); (2) Virtual Education and the Future (Ron Brumbarger); (3) Indiana's Coming of Virtual Age (Bruce Colston); and (4) Key Considerations for Moving Forward with Virtual Learning (Tom Pagan.) Thirteen web resources are included. (Contains 61 endnotes and 2 figures.)
Center for Evaluation and Education Policy. 509 East Third Street, Bloomington, IN 47401-3654. Tel: 800-511-6575; Tel: 812-855-4438; Fax: 812-856-5890; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: Practitioners; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Indiana University, Center for Evaluation and Education Policy
Identifiers - Location: Indiana; United States