Dave Sheehan, a teacher in Eugene
School District, assists fifth-year senior
Jose Gonzalez, who used online credit
recovery in geography and health to
meet graduation requirements this year.
PHOTO COURTESY DON W. BROWN
Siuslaw School District Superintendent Jeff Davis (left), Fern Ridge School District teacher
Michael English (center), and McKenzie School District principal Kyle Cox (right) discuss
course management during the kick-off cadre meeting in Eugene at Lane ESD. Administrators,
teachers, instructional assistants, and tech staff all play a role in the online options cadre.
many free resources was not up to par. Using the iNACOL
Standards for Online Learning, ISTE’s NETS, and research
on best practices, we are now in the middle of developing
our own course standards for blended learning. Our cadre
will continue to discuss and guide this framework using
their firsthand experience with students.
We also want to progress from the “turnkey” purchase of
courses (where we purchase the course, LMS, and a teacher from a vendor) to a place that will allow more local
teachers to take advantage of teaching online. We have the
Moodle training in place for this reason and will move to
leasing content as a bridge while we develop courses with
our own course standards, which may include project-based options within the course architecture. We also want
to use community engagement as a mandatory element of
all secondary courses.
We have learned a lot in our first year of operation with
more than 525 individual course enrollments:
• We now know that every online course varies and every online teacher varies, just like in brick-and-mortar schools.
• Our most critical role in developing a consortium for
implementing online learning has more to do with facilitating communication within districts than actual
computer specifications and course selections.
• For online learning, the role of the teacher breaks into
three distinct roles: the mentor who is with the student,
the teacher providing online instruction, and the course
designer (or instructional designer) who makes the
course engaging and aligned to standards. As we look
ahead to hiring our own staff, we must consider the
unique training and experience requirements for each of
• Finally, we have learned that online learning can be very
engaging for any student, especially using the blended
models that are present in our consortium. We have an
overall success rate of 75% of students passing online
courses for both summer school and courses completed
so far this school year. We would like it to be higher, but
that rate of success for a proof-of-concept year points to
a higher success rate once more mentors, teachers, and
instructional designers are trained and gain experience
and after we collect even more data about what works
with the students in our schools.