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Texas Tech University
Reaching Out to the K12 Community

While some K12 schools embraced the online learning environment early on, it was the higher education community that made the greatest advancements in terms of presence, technology, design, and offerings. However, these now-established platforms are looking towards the lower grades as a means of connecting to those students who are also looking for an alternative learning environment.
 

July 10, 2008
 

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The increase in online k12 programs is growing rapidly but not necessarily always in the right direction. It is important to find an accredited program that will provide students with the rigor and support they need to succeed.  Texas Tech University Outreach & Distance Education offers online learning solutions for both higher education and for students in grades K-12.

Homeschool.com interviewed Michele Moskos from Texas Tech University about the advantages of their K-12 Distance Learning Program.

Homeschool.com: First of all, I want to say congratulations for all that Texas Tech University has achieved since it started in 1923. It's my understanding that TTU ODE is one of the largest K-12 distance learning programs in the United States and that ODE's K-12 program serves students in 40 states, 15 countries, and also works with more than 1,800 school districts, academies, and other academic organizations.  In addition to all of that, you also offer traditional print-based courses and more than two dozen high school courses online. To what do you attribute this growth?

Michele: Well, Thank you! We have grown a lot since the school started and we attribute that growth to the transient nature of families and to the many people who are looking for comprehensive, accredited programs, which is offered through TTU's Outreach & Distance Education (ODE). Our program options are flexible; you can take a course or enroll as a full-time student in Texas Tech University Independent School District (TTUISD). This allows families the freedom to supplement any work that they do through ODE with other activities and programs.

Homeschool.com: Can you tell me about the academics of your programs and what support is available for students?

Michele: All of our courses and Credit by Examinations meet the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Texas Tech University Independent School District, our elementary, middle and high school diploma program, is accredited by the Texas Education Agency. We have a team of excellent and talented curriculum authors and editors who are constantly creating and perfecting new courses. Support services are always available to our students and educators at any time through our new call center as well as our online course portal (www.courseportal.ode.ttu.edu).

Homeschool.com: Can you explain what Distance Learning is and how your programs operate?

Michele: Our distance learning options give you the choice to take one course or a whole program. Our courses can be taken at any time, at your own pace, completely at a distance, no matter where you are. You can choose from over 70 self-paced, independent study, online and print-based courses. Depending on the course, assignments are submitted via e-mail, regular mail or fax. Upon enrolling in an ODE course, you will have six months to complete the course including the final.

Homeschool.com: In your K-12 program, your materials and curriculum are very extensive. You cover over 20 subjects across 12 grade levels: where did all these materials come from?

Michele: All of our courses are written by Texas certified teachers and edited and produced by our talented staff of curriculum authors and editors.

Homeschool.com: Are your programs accredited?

Michele: Yes, all of our courses and Credit by Examinations meet the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and all of our courses are taught by Texas certified instructors. TTUISD is accredited by the Texas Education Agency.

Homeschool.com: Is Texas Tech University: Outreach & Distance Learning a secular or religious program?

Michele: The Division of Outreach & Distance Education is a division of Texas Tech University and we do not have any religious affiliation which gives you the option to supplement religious courses and programs of your choice.

Homeschool.com: What do you believe makes your school/program a great option for all homeschoolers?

Michele: We have a quality program for all K-12 students which include both independent study credit options and an elementary, middle and high school diploma program offered entirely at a distance from Texas Tech University Independent School District (TTUISD). Students also have the option of testing out of courses to accelerate their academic progress and may take dual-credit courses to earn both high school and college credit simultaneously. On top of all that, all courses are written to Texas State standards, by Texas certified teachers and accredited by the Texas Education Agency. If that wasn't enough, TTUISD graduating classes have historically scored above both the national and state SAT/ACT averages.

Homeschool.com: Can you give me a run-down of what the Elementary, Middle School, and High School courses feature?

Michele: Sure. The elementary courses are designed primarily for parents or tutors working with elementary students in a home environment. The course guides include daily lessons as well as worksheets, answer keys, and tests. The lessons appeal to different learning styles and also emphasize higher-level learning. Many of the lessons include Internet activities to encourage students to use computers to gather and interpret information.

The middle school courses average nine lessons and one final examination. A pre-approved proctor administers the final examination and students have up to six months to complete each course. Students complete the lessons and return them to be graded.

The high school students must satisfactorily complete 22, 24 or 26 academic credits and pass the TAKS exit-level test in order to earn a Texas high school diploma. They can view the courses available by going to our website.

The great thing about these K-12 courses are that students can enroll at any time and decide when and where to study. We also provide student support services online or via phone and parents can access their students' grades 24/7 online.

Homeschool.com: What is the benefit of dual-credit courses in a homeschooling program?

Michele: Our dual-credit courses give high school students the opportunity to jump-start their college experience. They are able to earn high school and college credit simultaneously by taking college-level courses taught by Texas Tech University faculty. This decreases the amount of time required for them to graduate from college, improves the abilities and skills needed to succeed at the college level, and it also cuts down on college tuition expenses.

Homeschool.com: How much do these K-12 courses at TTU cost?

Michele: Tuition and fees are $90 per .5-unit credit for the K-8th grade courses plus a $30 non-refundable administrative processing fee per course. For 9-12th grade courses, tuition and fees are $100 per .5-unit credit plus a $30 non-refundable administrative processing fee per course. For dual-credit courses, you can call 800.MY.COURSE or visit our course catalog located on our website.

Homeschool.com: I really like everything I've heard today about your materials and courses. How do our readers purchase these courses for their children?

Michele: To view course descriptions and to learn more about course/credit options or to enroll in TTUISD, please visit www.ode.ttu.edu or call toll-free at 800.692.6877 (800.MY.COURSE) / locally 806.742.7200. You can also email distlearn@ttu.edu for more information.


   
 

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