Virtual Classrooms Coming to County, City Schools

January 8, 2013

The classroom of the future may come in the form of a computer. Charlottesville City schools already offer eight online courses, and now Albemarle County schools are jumping on the virtual bandwagon, offering its first online course this semester.

"It offers students flexibility in scheduling," said Gertrude Ivory, the associate superintendent at Charlottesville City schools. "It offers them the opportunity to get ahead if they need to or the ability to catch up if they've had some issues."

Nearly 120 Charlottesville students are currently enrolled in online courses. City school officials say that number will continue to grow.

"Eventually we hope to offer a diploma, a full diploma program in a virtual environment for our students," Ivory said.

Now County and City school districts are in talks to pool resources and collaborate in online course offerings. Officials say it's a win-win for both districts.

"Certainly leveraging resources, being able to offer an expanded opportunity for students to interact with other students in another school division," Ivory said.

Officials say the interest from students is there, it's the logistics that need to be worked out before the joint-online learning experience can take place.

"As far as course work and getting students, that's the easy part because we all have those," Ivory said. "It's just the managerial pieces that have to be worked out between the two school districts."

Both school boards are in discussions about the virtual school collaboration but no timetable has been set for when courses could be available.

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