COLUMBUS, OH, Feb. 12, 2013 – A new online distance-learning web portal can help Ohio students, their parents and educators more easily locate high-quality classroom resources, online courses aligned to Ohio’s standards and learning support materials designed to expand educational opportunities.
The Ohio Board of Regents on Monday (Feb. 11, 2013) previewed the ilearnOhio portal (www.ilearnohio.org) for educators and technology experts in Columbus attending the eTech Ohio Commission’s Educational Technology Conference. ilearnOhio is an online distance-learning clearinghouse that will provide a one-stop, virtual center for a wealth of digital educational tools, standards-based resources, curricula, texts and Web-based courses for the K-12 platform.
“The explosion of online courses and learning materials has made it time consuming and difficult to locate those that best fit the needs of Ohio’s students, their parents and educators,” said Stephanie Davidson, Ph.D., interim chancellor of the Board of Regents. “It is vital that we provide students, parents and teachers with the tools that can help them successfully navigate the online learning environment to unlock its great potential for education.”
The ilearnOhio portal was developed following legislation that called for the establishment of the clearinghouse and awarded the task in 2011 to the Ohio Resource Center (ORC) in the College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE) at Ohio State. Since then, ORC has been responsible for the physical administration and operation of the content repository, while Iquity, a commercial educational technology vendor selected by former Chancellor Jim Petro, has developed and deployed the common statewide platform.
“Ohio State is proud to partner with the Ohio Board of Regents and Ohio Resource Center to launch ilearnOhio,” said E. Gordon Gee, president of The Ohio State University. “A vital resource for educators across the state, ilearnOhio will help us customize curriculum and classrooms to prepare students to join the skilled workforce of the 21st century.”
The site’s learning management system will allow teachers to create online lessons, units and courses for their students, and preserve them within a system that also includes tests, supplementary materials, guidance for students and reporting methods. Parents will be able to monitor their children’s progress through a secure portal, and students can participate in online learning communities. Teachers will also be able to measure the effectiveness of their chosen methods.
“ilearnOhio is a powerful tool that will change the way we teach in the classroom,” said Lou Cirino, a teacher at West Geauga High School in Chesterland, Ohio. “My students are tech-savvy, and this is great way to engage them. This will allow me to create a personalized learning environment to meet the needs of each one of my students.”
“ilearnOhio will facilitate the teaching and learning process by providing content to support educators as they prepare students for meeting the demands of a 21st-century education,” said Cheryl Achterberg, Ph.D., dean of EHE at Ohio State. “The site will direct educators to a repository of peer-reviewed, standards-aligned, quality digital content.”
Content offered by ilearnOhio includes full-year courses, such as Advanced Placement courses and credit recovery courses, as well as subjects that may not be offered through a student’s local school district. Webinars and other helpful resources are available for students still working on a high school or home school diploma, along with college courses for students interested in postsecondary enrollment options. While most of the content on the site is available at no cost to users, some additional premium content also is available through the site’s online marketplace.
The ilearnOhio learning management system features drag-and-drop technology and provides Web-based access from any computer that has an Internet connection. In a pilot phase of the system, educators from a small number of school districts will work with ORC staff to evaluate the training interface prior to the broader release of the final product in the fall.
ORC and its partners have been collaborating with staff members at the Ohio Department of Education, who have been working to build a complementary instructional improvement system through their federal Race to the Top initiative.
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About the Board of Regents
The Ohio Board of Regents is the state agency that coordinates higher education in Ohio. The agency is directed by its Chancellor, who is a member of the Governor of Ohio's cabinet. The Chancellor, with the advice of the nine-member Board of Regents, provides policy guidance to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly, advocates for the University System of Ohio and carries out state higher education policy.
About The Ohio State University
Founded in 1870, The Ohio State University is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 56,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions.
About the Ohio State College of Education and Human Ecology
The College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University offers degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels, including licensure, specialization designations and endorsement. The College is divided into three areas of study: Educational Studies, Human Sciences and Teaching and Learning. Some of the College’s programs are offered at Ohio State’s regional and technical campuses.
About the Ohio Resource Center
The Ohio Resource Center (ORC), located in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University, enhances teaching and learning by promoting standards-based best practices in mathematics, science, English language arts and social studies for Ohio schools and universities. ORC serves as a trusted source of easily accessible, peer-reviewed, high-quality and effective resources.