Blended Learning Courses…How do we begin?

I am looking forward to speaking at the November 2011 NYSCATE Conference in Rochester! It is surprising to me that this will be the third year I have presented on the Hybrid High School topic. I recall in my first presentation back in 2009 that I predicted that it would not be long before we had online learning in New York, and I was correct. We now have the regulatory “green light” to begin online and blended learning programs.

For many districts this is a very new idea and administrators are really uncertain as to how these new rules may be implemented in their schools. What is the next step?

In my presentation I discuss my thought on this based on my experience creating my hybrid class and teaching students in this way. I believe we must begin with planning, training and start slowly but with commitment to move forward. I will post a full article after the presentation.

My presentation can be found here.


If you are interested on sharing your experiences, ideas, or just simply engaging in some brainstorming on the issue, I encourage you to email me at, or find me on FACEBOOK, “Susan Palmer”, or “masterymaze” on Twitter. Working together and sharing ideas and strategies just makes darn good sense in the days ahead! You may also register for this site and post a comment here as well.

I would also like to share this article which leads me to the question….Have we considered the brain research as further justification for adding online learning to our instructional practice? Dr. Gary Small’s research suggests that it may be of benefit for the development of the mind. I hope you will read this article and share your thoughts.

There is also another powerful argument made in the video below… My premise is that we have to reformat education and develop creative approaches. Watch this and see if you agree. The possibilities are amazing.

Districts Add Online and Blended Courses

Hybrid courses are on the rise.  As many more states pass legislation allowing online and blended classes, it appears from a recent study that blended learning is growing at the district level.  This comes as no surprise to me as a teacher using blended instruction.  Hybrid formats offer differentiation and opportunities for flexible scheduling to better serve the needs of students.  The model also allows for creative approaches to providing additional course offerings to students.

More information on the recent trends in online and blended instruction may be found here.

New York Regulations Support Online/Blended Instruction

If you have not seen the regulations adopted in New York this year, they may be found here.  Seat time is now flexible in the online or hybrid course format, recognizing that instruction in these models does not occur face to face.  Seat time must occur, however it may occur in the online coursework.  Districts must determine that online and blended courses comply with the Part 100 regulatory requirements for course credit.

Credit Recovery Changes

New York credit recovery changes are complete.

This summer new rules were implemented for credit recovery programs.  Districts are able to conduct their programs with less concern over seat time.  Rules are more flexible to allow programs which can better fit each student. 

Some requirements still in place–instruction must occur under the supervision of a certified teacher.  I am happy to see that!  The rules also include language requiring “instruction” and criteria for what that means.  Students taking courses where regents exams are required may not get the course credit if the exam has not been passed. 

See the details here

We have some parameters at this point which is a good thing!

Photo by Christopher Porter

NY wins the race! The Virtual School plan begins…


Virtual School Update

As you may know, New York was one of the successful states in the second phase of the Race to the Top award.  Modification of teacher evaluation requirements at the state level, combined with other legislative initiatives led to a successful plan in the second round of the competition. 

As part of the Phase II application, NYSED again made mention of the virtual high school.  The description provided to USED can be found on pages 271-272 of the application. (See the full report in the Links section of the site.)

The work proposed will be completed September 2011.  The plan references the concept of online high school allowing students to attend school “anytime and anywhere”.  Alternative pathways for graduation as well as advanced courses study will be explored.  This is all part of Strategy 5 to provide innovative school alternatives.

If you are interested in seeing the pace of this trend across the country, I suggest you do no more than set “online learning” as a GOOGLE ALERT on your email.  I receive at least ten links daily with examples of schools all across the country which are beginning this process.  It will be very interesting to see how this new approach develops in New York.  Teachers and students will both need to adjust to the new concept and gain new skills to be successful. 

We will need to stay tuned!

Photo by Extra Ketchup
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NY Virtual School Plan- More News!


More news!

In the February 2010 meeting agenda, we see the proposal for the Virtual High School initiative.  I am not going to write too much about it at this point because it is important that you browse the plan.  Here it is!

We see the initial roll out in social studies, science and languages for all districts.  Teachers will need to be trained in their new role of supervising students online, says the plan.

NYSED is planning to address any regulation changes needed for implementation.

Here we go….Are you ready? :)

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