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The below is part of a class project completed in 2010 or 2011. As such it is not available for further editing.



Online Credit Recovery &Cyber/Virtual Schools

 Amber Swenson & Anna Sheeley






Plato is one of the major industry providers of online credit recovery; at the secondary level they offer “rigorous”,  standards-aligned, customized coursework in the core subject areas (LA, math, social studies, science).  Their programming includes pre-testing and targeted instruction to areas in which students demonstrate gaps.  This programming is intended for use with an on-site teacher presence.  This site offers general information about their offerings, research supporting their programs, several services (newsletter, professional, and support), and a few screen shots within each specific component.  Plato’s images within their programming appears cartoon-ish and there is no live demo.


     Implementation Stories:

          Bellefonte School District (PDF 32KB)

          Castle Park Middle School (PDF 4MB)

          Memphis City Schools (PDF 49KB)

          Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District (ASD) (PDF 2MB)

          White Hat Ventures (PDF 757KB)




Aventa is also an major industry provider in delivery of online credit recovery offering many similar features.  In addition to the four core content areas they offer ELL, Health, and World Languages – Spanish credit.  Their courses are structured somewhat differently.  Aventa offers only one article, but does feature a demo presentation.  Courses appear to be based on the Blackboard model and are basic, but include colorful diagrams and short clips.




Pearson’s foray into online credit offerings, one marketing strain focuses on credit recovery and how it can boost graduation rates and avoid the stigma of students having to take a class over (i.e. senior sitting with freshmen).  Several videos do a nice job of presenting the program, with teacher and principal interviews  and a brief look at course screen shots.  Does not appear to offer any demo.


Carnegie Learning, Inc.: Cognitive Tutor:


“Our Cognitive Tutor® software is the most proven and tested math solution available. It is built on cognitive modeling and artificial intelligence that identifies weaknesses in each individual student's mastery of mathematical concepts, customizes instruction to focus on areas where the student is struggling, and adapts the instruction to the student's individual needs.”  This company offers programming specific to mathematics.  Dubuque Senior High School has been using this program with help from a grant though Keystone AEA.


GAVirtual Schools:


Georgia has set up online courses and offers them both in state and out (student’s school has to agree to give credit as GAVS cannot), to hospital bound students and homeschool students.  Good online self-assessment inventory tool, includes a demo page – looks like version of ICON.  The visuals leave something to be desired from a high school perspective and the level of teacher involvement seems limited.


Wisconsin Virtual School:


This appears similar to the GAVS.  The Factoids section provides some key statistics that would be beneficial to look at (keeping in mind they are based on WVS students) There is a helpful “Is Online Learning for Me” “quiz”.


3D Learn:


3DLearn LLC is a privately held immersive education company that focuses on the K-12 distance learning market. We provide interactive 3D learning environments for K-12 students, 3D educational curricula and courses. 3DLearn owns and operates The 3DLearn Interactive Academy, a Nationally recognized SACS/CITA accredited full-time school for homeschool students.  Educators and parents who recognize that the cliched anytime anyplace learning does not fit all learning styles turn to 3DLearn as a solution for harnessing the full power of 3D technology and immersive education to educate. By integrating 3D virtual learning and 3D virtual world creation with engaging hands-on activities as the core curriculum, we inspire students and educators to explore and achieve.





Ainoa, Inc. facilitates change and outstanding results in the way teachers educate and students learn in the online environment. Our unique approach to developing successful programs is working in concert with administrators, teachers and students to modify content on the fly and provide additional professional development whenever needed. In doing so, we offer teachers the ability to change what they need within the "canned" content to replicate their individual classroom online.




Research Brief:


A compilation by the Principals’ Partnership (2006) summarizing the research on credit recovery; their conclusions were that there has been “little research

into credit recovery programs, their impact, or characteristics that make them effective”.  They do include a list of schools and programs that provide credit recovery.


*Promising Practices in Online Learning:


The North American Council for Online Learning’s report “Using Online Learning for At-Risk Students and Credit Recovery” (there are five other papers in their Promising Practices in Online Learning series that are also good resources). An excellent resource outlining a handful of successful programs that address local/regional students needs in various ways.


Guide to Online High School Courses:


“Guide to Online High School Courses is a product of the National Education Association, Virtual High School, Inc., and American Association of School Administrators, CNA Corporation, IBM Corporation, National Association of State Boards of Education, National School Boards Association, Verizon Communications.” A tool for assessing online course offerings, includes questions for policymakers, teachers, administrators, parents, and students.  This is focused on general online courses (not specifically for credit recovery) but the questions are applicable when considering online credit recovery and cover all perspectives.


Keeping Pace with K – 12 Online Learning:


The Keeping Pace research demonstrates that successful, high quality online programs arebeing developed and delivered at many different levels, from national programs to single district programs, as well as state-led, multi-district, and consortium programs. The most important variable is not the level at which the program is being offered, but whether the program is able to deliver and ensure a quality educational offering for students. By demonstrating quality outcomes, online education will continue to grow and provide educational opportunities for students and parents.


A Synthesis of New Research on K–12 Online Learning:

Describes online learning as an emerging but rapidly growing phenomenon in K–12 education, but with little empirical research performed to determine its effectiveness in elementary and secondary settings. This article brings up the questions which remain about the educational needs best addressed through online learning as well as its impact on school improvement and learner outcomes.




The nationwide survey, conducted during the 2005-2006 academic year, finds that almost two out of three (63 %) school districts had one or more students enrolled in either a fully online or a blended course, which combines online learning with traditional face-to-face instruction.


Sizing the Opportunity: The Quality and Extent of Online

Education in the United States, 2002 and 2003:

 - higher ed

The 2003 Sloan Survey of Online provides answers to some key questions related specifically to online education delivered by higher education institutions in the United States.  Offers definition of online learning, statistics, and satisfaction.


Entering the Mainstream: The Quality and Extent of

Online Education in the United States, 2003 and 2004:

 - higher ed

Offers definition of online learning, statistics, and satisfaction.


Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning:


Summarizes and compares each state’s online education program, offers a glossary of Online Learning Terms, and a description of online learning.

 - higher ed


K-12 Online Learning:

 - higher ed

This study was to explores issues related to and the nature of online learning in K–12 schools such as and planning, operational difficulties, and online learning providers were also examined. This study does not necessarily answer all of the issues raised but hopefully will promote further discussion and study of them.




*Education Week, "Online Options for 'Credit Recovery' Widen" PDF: content&do_pdf=1&id=3416


Comprehensive article on online credit recovery and how it is becoming an integral part of school offers because of increased awareness of graduation statistics and students’ varying learning needs.  Very nice overview of Plato and Apex seen “at work” in several schools.




This article focuses on the NYC public school system and their credit recovery coming under-fire as not being rigorous.  A good tool for looking at what online credit recovery is working to not be and a situation where facilitated online offerings might be the answer.


Supporting Online Delivery of Standards Based Courses - PDF(Plato):



Online Learning Can Help Minority Students:


Excellent article discussing how minority populations can benefit from online instruction.  Meaningful data from LA and Chicago districts on how to have best practice in online instruction: “various studies of online learning conducted by the Chicago Public Schools show that success rates hovered at 70 percent when a teacher was not in the classroom to monitor and manage students. But when teachers or moderators were present, that success rate jumped to 83 percent.”


Kids Get Wired for Learning:


This article profiles a district in WA that is offering online coursework at its regular and alternative high schools for homeshcool, credit recovery and regular coursework. Comments from students about how this learning has benefited them, statistics on the school’s increase in credit earned and courses taken by students.  Nice to have an perspective that is more real-world than promotional material and academic articles (“man on the street”-friendly).


Cyber Schools:


Great outline of cyber schools


Visions Shaping the Future of Online Education: Understanding its Historical Evolution, Implications, and Assumptions:


Presents a historical background of online education, reviews its current status, and provides visions shaping its future.  Displays the potential and limitations of online learning.  Recommendations for the advancement of online education, including future research, are given.




Argues that virtual schools and schooling can be better characterized by the types of human interaction associated with teaching and learning than the types of technologies used.  Describes virtual schools as real schools, not isolated schools lost in cyberspace but part of an educational system with growth limited by many of the same factors as traditional schools.  


Beyond Brick and Mortar: Cyber Charters Revolutionizing Education:


“Free of bricks and mortar, the virtual school can grow indefinitely, without the fear of stretching library facilities or adding portable buildings. But many state lawmakers . . . are wrestling with laws so wide open - or even nonexistent - that they fear anyone could throw up a Web page, hire a couple of teacher aides and start recruiting home schoolers.”


Sketchy Grades fro Cyber Schools:


Describes cyber schools as places where students complete all coursework online using home computers being a big hit with parents, who are signing up their children as quickly as the virtual doors open. It also shows that test results for 2003 show students at many cyber schools are not measuring up to state standards or to their peers who attend brick-and-mortar schools.


Credit-Recovery Program Helps At-Risk Students Meet Promotional Requirements

A review of e-learning for at-risk students.  The article says students have changed their attitudes toward credit recovery. “They realize that credit recovery is not all worksheets, repetition and drudgery; it also means relearning the standards in engaging and interesting formats with lots of visuals and graphics to help students learn and apply mathematical patterns. “


Virtual Schools a boon to Del. students:


Commentary from a teacher and student regarding the pros and cons of Delaware’s virtual school options.  Why the state may not provide funding for more.


Panelists: Online learning can help minority students:


Educators discuss how online courses can help meet underserved students' needs and fulfill course requirements.


The Christian Science Monitor

Virtual schools see strong growth, calls for more oversight:


*****Offers a video from a 6th grade student and statistics such as enrollment in online classes last year reached the 1 million mark, growing 22 times the level seen in 2000, according to the North American Council for Online Learning.


The Christian Science Monitor

Online courses aren't just for home-schoolers anymore:


Dearborn (Mich.) Public School. Michigan may require an online class for graduation.  The article explains how public schools can inherit online learning courses.


Online School Lauds Teen:


A description of  Insight Schools is the nation's largest network of tuition-free, diploma-granting, online public high schools serving 10 states. Shows how home schooling has gone high tech, with students now attending high school from their rooms via the World Wide Web.


Laboratories of Reform: Virtual High Schools and Innovation in Public Education


Compares online schooling as a reform of traditional schools; although still in experimental stages, is proving successful.


Report Sees Online Schools as Models for Reform:


Report and commentary on above article.


First 'hybrid' courses; now, a 'hybrid' school New 'bricks and clicks' high school offers unique blend of face-to-face and online instruction;_hbguid=42ac7139-162c-425b-92bd-736b242e3b56


Describes how Hybrid" courses, which offer a blend of online and face-to-face instruction, have become increasingly popular in schools and colleges nationwide. Now, a new high school in Hawaii has taken the same concept and applied it to an entire school.


How Can Virtual Schools Be a Vibrant Part of Meeting the Choice Provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act?:


Proposes online schools and supplementary programs may be a solution to failures to meet NCLB



Checklist for Evaluating Online Courses:


A way for teachers, parents, and students to assess potential online offerings.


Evaluating Online Learning

Challenges and Strategies for Success:


“The evaluations highlighted in this guide represent a broad spectrum of online options, from programsthat provide online courses to Web sites that feature education resources. The evaluationsthemselves range from internal assessments to external, scientific research studies. All demonstratehow program leaders and evaluators have been able to implement strong evaluation practices despitesome challenges inherent to examining learning in an online environment.”


       Costs and Funding of Virtual Schools:


Examines the costs to start, operate, and grow virtual schools and a discussion of funding options for states interested in funding virtual school programs




Allied National High School:


An online high school accredited to grant diplomas, they advertise they offer credit recovery during the summer but did not have any offerings in summer 2008.  This looks to be more of an individual program, such as one involved parents might seek out to recover credit in one or two classes. 


Schenectady School District/Plato:


This New York school has developed an online learning community using PLATO and Blackboard.  They have a very comprehensive powerpoint and video explaining the delivery system and showing screen-shots – better than could be found on itself.


      Los Angeles Virtual School:,227691&_dad=ptl&_schema=PTL_EP


The Los Angeles Unified School District has created a virtual campus which currently offers only math instruction for credit recovery.  A district this large is creating it’s own system, rather than outsourcing. They seem to recognize the importance of face-to-face instruction and teacher training seems to be a







      Texas – Adaline


UHM SEED Academy


A Hawaii 9-12 online education program

UHM SEED Academy at Kapolei High School is a public, accredited high school program of the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa and Kapolei High School, offering a blended curriculum of core courses taken online and hands-on STEM electives taken on-campus at Kapolei High School. Highlights of the school include:

·  Free tuition for Hawai state residents

·  Kapolei High School diploma upon graduation

·  Online curriculum of core, world language and AP courses

·  On-campus curriculum of STEM enrichment electives

·  Online and on-campus instruction and support from highly qualified teachers and academic advisors

·  Use of a laptop computer while enrolled

·  Participation in clubs and activities at Kapolei High School




Podcast on credit recovery from Plato Learning:


      One-on-one interview with PLATO


Virtual Canuck (blog), " Disruptive, Online Education to Go Main Stream":

Educator review of Clayton Christensen’s Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Education Will Change the Way the World Learns.  The book addresses (from a business perspective) how “disruptive innovation” – online education is changing the face of education to be more responsive to varied learning styles, cost, and teacher shortages.


Online Credit Recovery for “First-Time” Freshmen:

An effort by the Chicago Public Schools to be proactive in having students who fail courses to recover the credit early (immediately after freshman year) and encourage them to stay on-track in the future.


Credit Recovery Meets Distance Learning:



       Cyber-School Philosophy:

A personal blog by a parent advocating for online education for youngsters.



Resources for Online Educators


Guide to Teaching Online Courses:

Describes the set of criteria and skills necessary for teachers of online instructors as just as important for them as face-to-face instructors.


GOING VIRTUAL! The Status of Professional Development for K-12 Online Teachers:

More information for online teachers and professional development opportunities. 

No good!;_hbguid=868c0b1b-df27-45ca-8fd1-bc6ea04c98dc