Online High Schools Attracting Elite Names

Online High Schools Attracting Elite Names

The students at Malmö Borgarskola have the possibility to study online courses at Stanford. One of the top ranked universities in the world! We are their sole partner in northern Europe. This could be your ticket to the Ivy League or any other interesting university.

November 19, NY Times

In a typical class session, about 14 students simultaneously watch a live-streamed lecture, with video clips, diagrams and other animations to enliven the lesson. Instead of raising hands, students click into a queue when they have questions or comments; teachers call on them by choosing their audio stream, to be heard by all. An instant-messaging window allows for constant discussion among the students who, in conventional settings, might be chastised for talking in class.

You’re interacting with people all the time — with people all over the world,” said Nick Benson, a senior whose career as an actor required the flexibility of online schooling. “The nature of the classes is that you do interact with people quote-unquote in person — you’re seeing their face and responding to them like in any normal class.”

Nick, who scored 2,340 out of 2,400 on the SAT and is applying to Stanford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ivy League schools, said some college admissions officers needed some convincing. “It’s a conversation starter,” he said. “I haven’t had an interview that doesn’t run long, because they’re curious what the school is about.”

Students taking a full five-course load must be present for 10 seminars per week, each of them 60 to 90 minutes, with an additional 15 to 20 lectures of about 15 minutes that are recorded by the teachers and viewable at the students’ convenience. Fridays are reserved for activities like a student newspaper and an engineering team. Papers are submitted electronically, and students are required to find a Stanford-approved proctor to oversee exams.

“It’s uncommon for an online high school to not rely on more of an honor system, and it is a pain for kids to find suitable proctors,” Mr. Ravaglia said. “But we want legitimacy in the results, and don’t want students coming to the school for the wrong reason.”

Mr. Ravaglia said the school would gradually expand to about 100 students per grade and would keep class sizes around 15. (“We don’t have plans to have 1,000 kids and then press control-C to start replicating it,” he said.)

But Mr. Etchemendy, the provost, said he “would be neither upset nor shocked” if enrollment at Stanford Online High eventually approached that of Stanford’s undergraduate population, about 6,500.

Some outsiders have suggested that students and their parents might assume that enrolling in a prestigious university’s online high school would give them a leg up at college admission time. Mr. Ravaglia said the only advantage his students got in applying to Stanford was admissions officers’ familiarity with and respect for the program.

Harold O. Levy, a former New York City schools chancellor and founder of Kaplan’s online master’s of education program, said Stanford’s involvement in this sector could be a watershed.

“If Stanford proves that online high schooling can work for the high end, then that’s a great proof of concept,” said Mr. Levy, who is now a partner in a venture fund that invests in education companies, many of them for-profit or online. “But if it’s used by the low-end for-profits for marketing a poor product — and you know that will happen — in a way that undermines quality, that’s what scares me. That would be very dangerous.”