Online Education | St. Louis Public Radio

Online Education

Nora Pryor, 15, checks her fitness tracker during several laps of Boulevard park in Lake St. Louis June 26, 2019. She must complete seven hours of physical activity per week as part of her online physical education course.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Nora Pryor imagines squeaking sneakers on hardwood floors when she thinks of gym class. But her physical education is currently punctuated by chirping cardinals.

Nora, 15, laps Boulevard Park in Lake St. Louis several times a week, mixing speed walking and jogging on a hot summer morning to get her heart rate up, and occasionally glancing down at her Garmin fitness tracker.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Virtual schooling is coming to public K-12 education in Missouri next month.

While districts expect high school students to be the first to enroll, the program allows for students as young as first grade to take classes online.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Increasingly, college life is less about walking across the quad or stopping at the dining hall before sitting in a big lecture hall, and more about flipping open a laptop at home.

Take Royal Witcher, a St. Louis native and Army veteran who lives in Belmont, Mississippi. He completed most of his bachelor’s degree through the University of Phoenix, a fully online institution, but often felt like just a number.

When it was time for his MBA, the 45-year-old did his research — lots of it — and decided on Maryville University, which has a campus in suburban St. Louis. But he didn’t return to Missouri, instead taking advantage of an online degree.

Washington University's Brookings Hall
Washington University | Flickr

After failing to make the grade with professors at Washington University, Semester Online is going offline for good.

The consortium was designed to let students at Washington U. and other schools in the group — universities such as Emory, Northwestern and Notre Dame — take online courses in areas that their home school does not offer. It began this school year, and the universities and Semester Online’s parent company, 2U, had high hopes that it could be a pioneer for online learning.

The professor and students can see each other, participate in chat and see course materials at the same time.
Screenshot from promotional video

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 23, 2013: Bill Lowry considers himself to be a “pretty low-tech guy – no iPhone, no apps, any of that stuff” – so he thought it was pretty ironic that he is teaching the first class at Washington University’s entry into the growing field of internet education.

Dubbed Semester Online, the program joins Washington U. with other schools, including Emory, Northwestern and Notre Dame, for online instruction that is less open, less massive than the so-called MOOCs – massive online open courses -- that have been popping up all over in recent years.

Commentary: Students should look online for math, science help

Dec 3, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 3, 2012 - Today’s working parents do not have a lot of time to help their children with their studies. At the same time, they want to ensure that their children are doing well with academics and gaining an adequate understanding of the subjects studied in the classroom.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 15, 2012 - Washington University is joining nine other campuses in a new consortium that will offer online courses to students enrolled in their schools and others in what the group calls “a new, innovative program that transforms the model of online education.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 4, 2012 - Two offerings this summer from Coursera give a pretty good idea of how the online course world works.

One, on world music, is taught by Carol Muller of the University of Pennsylvania. Its first week session was divided into several video lectures, 10 minutes or so each, in which the topic introduced with an overview and a hint of what is to come.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 4, 2012 - As a founding member of the Online News Association, Dianne Lynch is well aware of how developing technology can force severe disruptions in a long-stable business — and how those advancements can also move a field forward at lightning speed.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 28, 2011 - Sometimes people can worry that there are difficult times ahead. But I am here to launch a report that clearly demonstrates America is sitting on the greatest assets you could wish for. This report, entitled "Building a 21st Century Communications Economy," shows how America can usher in a second American Century.

Natural resources, such as oil, are becoming harder to access and more expensive to purchase.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 17, 2010 - If a state Senate panel has its way, Missouri students 10 years from now will be better prepared for kindergarten, three-fourths of them will do well on state standardized tests and 60 percent of them will get college degrees and credentials.

Further, charter schools will expand throughout the state, not just in St. Louis or Kansas City, new lawmakers will have to take lessons to learn how public schools are funded and one agency will oversee education from pre-school through post-graduate degrees.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 5, 2010 - Varsity Tutors, a company founded by a graduate of Clayton High School and Washington University, prides itself on making house calls.

Most of the one-on-one tutoring takes place in students’ living rooms, not in school libraries or coffee shops. After school and on weekends, certified teachers work with K-8 students on math, science, reading and writing; college students who have scored highly on standardized tests work with high school students on test prep and a range of academic subjects.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 25, 2009 - Work smarter! That's good advice for all employees, especially in health care, where inefficiencies can run up costs and mistakes can cost lives. That's the advice BJC Healthcare, the St. Louis region's predominant hospital group, wants to impress on all of its employees, from its lowest-paid hourly workers to its physicians and top executives.