ON-LINE COURSE HISTORY
The P.U.S.D. on-line program began in April of 1998 under the direction of Dr. Elaine Cofrancesco, Area Superintendent. Four proposals were made by Brad Johnson (Pre-Calculus), Susan Manly (Espanol Virtual), Bob McHeffy (Writing Seminar) and Keith Opstad (Art On-Line). The four courses were approved as pilot courses and received funding by both the district and site level for summer development. Each teacher received 100 hours of funding and any necessary technology (Lap Tops/Software) was provided by the site.
Because the courses were approved after the summer vacation had already begun, each teacher was responsible for student recruitment. Course descriptions and questionnaires were sent to prospective students. Each teacher worked closely with the scheduling clerk at each site to assist with enrollment.
The summer was spent web browsing, researching, and learning various web publishing tools (Front Page & Adobe Page Mill). At this time on-line courses were much in their infancy and web sites like blackboard.com and schoolnotes.com were not available.
The four courses met during the entire first week of the Fall 1998 semester in order to make sure the proper learning environment was established. During the first week, student's schedules were adjusted, basic Internet etiquette was covered, and additional recruitment took place.
Each site agreed to meet during the school day (0 or 6th period) as a fail-safe device just in case the on-line classes didn't succeed. Students continued to meet once a week in a traditional classroom setting with all other interaction occurring over the Internet.
The first year was extremely successful. A virtual task force was formed to serve as an advisory board for current and further on-line courses. Additional proposals were made in June 99' and unanimously approved adding health, American Lit, Civics, and U.S. History to the district's on-line course offerings.
The 1999-2000 school year brought additional success and recognition to the district's on-line endeavors. Webpages became more impressive which incorporated Sync-o-matic to add audio w/ power point presentations. Blackboard.com was purchased for the district wide use, which added discussion board and several useful classroom tools.
The future of the P.U.S.D. on-line courses looks positive as new courses are added and continuous improvements are made. The learning environment is no longer limited to the classroom, providing a broader, global educational experience.