Florida universities and schools have long embraced online learning and distance education, and today the state offers some of the best online programs in the nation. In addition to online courses, Florida’s education systems are working to put educational technology in the hands of students and teachers.
Higher Learning Initiatives
Florida Virtual School
The Florida Virtual School is the largest (and oldest) state-run online K-12 school in the nation. Students from Florida can enroll in classes for free. Out-of-state fees apply for non-residents. The school offers an extensive catalog of online courses, including AP classes. During the 2012-2013 school year, virtual programs were extended to high school students and diplomas will now be offered through the online institution.
University of Florida-Coursera Partnership
In 2012, Coursera announced its free Mass Open Online Course (MOOC) initiative. Joining the ranks of other top-tier universities, the University of Florida signed an agreement with Coursera to provide free, high-quality classes to the public. By participating in this innovative project, the University of Florida has cemented its position as a supporter and leader of mainstream online education.
The Digital Learning Now Act
This 2011 bill requires school districts in Florida to establish online courses. It also requires students to take at least one online class in order to graduate from high school. The bill’s aim is to promote school choice as well as to familiarize students with online learning. Moving further into digital education, the bill requires all statewide end-of-course assessments to be administered online by the 2014-2015 school year.
The Florida Virtual Campus
Provided by the State University System of Florida and the Florida College System, the Florida Virtual Campus is a comprehensive database of the online courses offered through the public higher education system. The FVC was created in 2012 in order to offer academic support and organization to existing and potential students of online courses. Students can use the site to apply for programs as well as to search for and enroll in online schools in Florida.