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Since its debut in Utah 20 years ago, online education continues to advance and improve as new technologies emerge. Students and teachers now collaborate in real-time using digital whiteboards or pen tablets, participate in multi-user group study sessions via video conference and receive quick, meaningful feedback to course correct their work as needed.
Online education has become an integral and vibrant piece of Utah's educational landscape.
Can online schools prepare their students for college? With so many online choices it's important to select an accredited school with an appropriate level of rigor that is focused on preparing students for college readiness. The advantages of attending an academically rigorous online school can benefit students in a variety of ways:
The reality is that most employers and careers choices demand time management skills from the get-go. As the world becomes more digital and fast paced, it will be increasingly more important that students learn to manage time effectively.
A school that provides a flexible schedule gives students a crash course in time management. The students set their own schedule each week and are pros at fitting school in around life instead of the other way around.
Persistence, tenacity, and grit
The State Department of Education published a report in 2013 calling on educators to design learning environments to promote the 21st century non-cognitive skills of persistence, tenacity, and grit. One of the recommendations was to leverage technology to provide an optimal learning environment for students.
At Mountain Heights Academy, an accredited online school for Utahns, students are invited to persist and become successful by revisiting assignments and quizzes to review items they did not understand correctly the first time. The easy path is to just move on. It takes tenacity and grit to go back and figure out what went wrong, fix it and then move on. This critical set of skills will help students well past the college years.
Access to university courses
Attending an online school is a best of both worlds situation: students have the opportunity to take concurrent enrollment courses through local universities to earn college credit while still in high school, or may attend a technical college or community college and earn credits there.
As students prepare for college, familiarizing themselves with online courses will be imperative to a successful continued education. Each year, more and more universities develop and add to their online programs. The skills attained through early online education will not only prepare people for collegiate level education, but also a career in "the real world."
Mountain Heights Academy is one of Utah's premier online schools for students in grades 7-12. Visit mountainheightsacademy.org for more information.