Summer School: Not for Dummies Anymore Part 2

Summer School Classes Online

But the online reaction is expanding across the board. James Madison University is moving aggressively to offer more to the increasing number of students who typically return home and take jobs during the summer, but who still want to take summer classes. The Center for Instructional Technology at JMU has created a number of summer classes specifically for this purpose.7 Kent State’s Office of Continuing and Distance Education is offering grants to its faculty to develop online college courses to be offered this summer.8

Online summer program expansion is not confined to colleges. High schools are getting in on the act, as well. In response to budget cuts in Orange County, California, Fairmont Preparatory Academy introduced a blended summer program and marketed it to students all over the county. As a result, there was a 38% jump in enrollment, “due to the addition of students from other schools.”9

The Hudson City, Ohio, School District is starting up a new online summer program for $170 to $300 per course (entirely self-funded, at no cost to the treasury). Lynn Villa, high school unit principal, says, “We are excited that the Hudson School District has been able to expand our options for the coming summer to include some online courses. By offering Web-based courses, we hope to be able to continue to educate our students in our own district with a curriculum that meets our high standards and through courses that are supervised by our teachers.”10

The Sloan Consortium concludes, “Savvy institutions are using summer online courses and programs for several purposes:

  • Increase student retention rates
  • Revamp poorly attended campus-based summer programs
  • Help students maintain a connection and sense of community with their home institution
  • Help students reduce time to degree
  • Retain tuition dollars that their students would otherwise spend on summer courses at other institutions.”11

7 George Lorenzo, Summer Online Courses, The Sloan Consortium

8 Call for Nominations: Summer Online Course Development Grants, Kent State University, Distance Learning

9 Rajeshri Gandhi, Effective Blended Learning in a College Prep, 8th Annual Sloan Consortium Blended Learning Conference & Workshop, Mar. 29, 2011

10 Tim Troglen, High school summer school goes online, HudsonHubTimes, Mar. 7, 2010

11 Rodica Neamtu, John Senner, Starting a Summer Online Program: From the Unthinkable to the Indispensable, Nov. 3, 2010