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Distance Learning Numbers Increase

October 23, 2012, 6:52 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Distance Learning Numbers Increase

More South Dakota high school students are ditching traditional class time for distance learning to earn part of their education.

The NSU Center for Statewide E-learning connects students in various schools with a teacher at NSU through technology and its enrollment has jumped nearly 10 percent this year alone.

When kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment in a school falls in the low hundreds, the number of classes offered in-house can be limited. That's why some Warner students are thankful for additional courses offered online or elsewhere.

"It's just another way we get the opportunity to get those classes that aren't offered here," student Erin Punt said.

"Yeah, because it definitely opens more opportunities and shows you more than just your conventional classes," student Carly Rozell said.

Warner students can take classes online through South Dakota Virtual School and through the E-Learning Center.

The center now serves nearly 1,200 students state-wide. Given South Dakota's rural makeup, Warner Superintendent Kirk Easton isn't surprised the E-Learning Center has seen an increase, especially during tight budget years.

"As school districts, we want to provide our kids with opportunities. And one of the best ways to provide those opportunities right now is through distance education," Easton said.

Easton wants students to have access to specialty classes pointing to certain careers so they can plan for the future. Students like Punt and Rozell want to make sure they have access to classes now that'll help them in college.

"It's more opportunity,” Rozell said. “For scholarships and stuff, most of the time you need foreign language classes."

Easton is also happy to see students become acquainted with distance learning during school because many of them will need to continue their education through similar means throughout their careers.

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