Students dip feet into online learning … now required

In McKenzie Cobb’s World History class, homework is submitted with a few keystrokes, PilotOnline reports.

Narrated videos replace lectures. Questions are answered with a pop-up messages. Same thing for McKenzie’s physical education class, except she logs daily fitness activities, too.

The Nansemond River High School sophomore has joined hundreds of Hampton Roads students taking online courses, a growing option in secondary education. And now a required one.

Virtual public high school courses have been around about a decade in the region, but a new state law requires students to take one online course before graduating, beginning with this year’s freshmen class. State education leaders said the experience will help prepare students for college and careers. But students of all grade levels can take such courses.

McKenzie said online classes accommodate her Governor’s School for the Arts program that conflicted with traditional class times when the division changed its schedule this year. She completes coursework at home and also logs in at school with a teacher’s assistant supervising her and about a dozen others. McKenzie likes the flexibility, but noted some drawbacks.

“Some students get a whole class session; we get, like, an 11-minute video for a topic,” she said.

Classmate Emily Bowden said online courses work well for disciplined students, but the workload seems heavier.

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