Virtual Classrooms

Pennsylvania Nonprofit Expands Online Learning Options

Capital Area Intermediate Unit (CAIU), a nonprofit regional educational service agency in south central Pennsylvania, has announced an expansion of their online learning partnership with EdisonLearning.

The agency signed an agreement with Edison in spring 2009 for the company to provide online courses for students in its member districts. These included courses that several brick-and-mortar schools couldn't offer some courses owing to budget restrictions or didn't offer them owing to limited student interest, including certain foreign languages and less popular Advanced Placement courses.

With the expansion, and with the cooperation of other regional agencies, students across the state can now enroll in the EdisonLearning courses offered under the agreement, which also include credit recovery, alternative education, and summer school courses.

"This program has helped our students access courses that they typically would not be able to take, such as Chinese I, whether it be due to limited offerings or scheduling conflicts," said Kevin Roberts, director of curriculum for Big Spring School District in Newville, about 25 miles southwest of Harrisburg. "Financially, it doesn't make sense for our district to hire a teacher for this special subject, but the online option gives our students a valuable experience in a language that they really wanted to learn."

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Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.