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When the Virginia State Board of Education meets next month, members will discuss establishing new licensing requirements for educators who teach only online courses.
The issue reflects a concern that while online courses may be an effective cost-cutting measure, the reduced level of student-teacher interaction could decrease the effectiveness of instruction.
The Board's goal is to help maintain high-quality instruction as more school systems move away from traditional brick and mortar classroom settings. The measure requires the Board to establish what type of license a teacher already has, what the teacher may be lacking to be credentialed, and what courses are required for licensure.
But Board member Dr. Oktay Baysal believes that perhaps it isn't just the teacher who needs more instruction in these cases. He suggests that it would helpful to the teachers if the online schools established requirements for training students to be online learners.
"I don't believe that the general public is as properly informed about the online learner," he says.
Additional licensing may also mean assessing the available personnel to instruct educators, and that would include determining the fiscal impact. The Board is expected to conduct its final review on May 23.