Popularly known as America's Dairyland, the state of Wisconsin is currently bidding to become the cream of the crop of states dedicated to developing an educated citizenry. An article in the September 23, 2010 edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel bears the headline, "Enrollment more than doubles in online UW program."
The Journal Sentinel article presents two rather surprising facts about an online course offered by its state university system:
The program in Sustainable Management, the Journal Sentinel article reports, "is the first of several new online bachelor's degrees being developed as part of the UW System's plan to increase the number of people with college degrees across the state."
An initiative committed to increasing the overall education level of Wisconsin's adult population only promises big developments for online degree programs, especially if other U.S. states decide to follow The Badger State's lead.
Indeed, the promise of online education -- for Wisconsinites and everyone else -- perhaps rests as much with what it can do for your social life as for your work life. An article appearing in the September 27, 2010 edition of the Appleton (Wisconsin) Post Crescent reports on the unique experience enjoyed by children enrolled in Wisconsin Connections Academy, an exclusively online charter school.
"Students from Wisconsin Connections Academy, a kindergarten through eighth-grade public school that operates almost entirely over the Internet and is chartered through the Appleton Area School District, took a field trip to learn about the world's ecosystems and interact with the classmates they may have never met," the Post Crescent article reports. The fact that until the time of the field trip these students were strangers to each other did little to discourage interaction. In fact, for just this reason Wisconsin Connections Academy schedules such outings to occur frequently.
Each month the school schedules trips for its students in different locations to give them an opportunity to interact with other students. While the educational outings are optional, many families take advantage of them for both social and educational reasons.
Students and parents have found taking advantage of these outings ... well ... advantageous. So-called "virtual schools" like Wisconsin Connections Academy "are rising in popularity in Wisconsin," the Post Crescent article continues. "In August, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the 1,756 students on the waiting list to be accepted to virtual charter schools were offered seats for the 2010-11 school year. The waiting list grew by about 300 students from the 2009-10 school year."
This burgeoning popularity can be attributed to a number of reasons, most notably
Though it is as yet too early to tell the results of this bold experiment in primary, secondary, and post-secondary education, you definitely get the sense that Wisconsinites are banking on the fact that when it comes to fitness for life and work in the digital age the cheese stands alone.