KATONAH, N.Y. — Online courses are one option for students looking to continue learning over the summer, but unlike with internships, travel-abroad programs and arts and science camps, students do not have to leave the comfort of their own homes to get ahead.
One of these programs is the eHarvey summer session, presented by The Harvey School, a private institution in Katonah: seven weeks of online study with teacher support as needed.
The class meets with the instructor in one weekly group online session, and students can access all curricula online. With eHarvey, students can make up an entire year of one class or simply take a class for enrichment or skill reinforcement.
Not all schools accept eHarvey courses as credit toward graduation, particularly public schools such as Fox Lane High School. Drew Patrick, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Bedford Central School District, said public schools are subject to a “maze of regulations” from the state, and strict rules apply in this case as well.
“In New York you need a minimum number of hours in the classroom to earn the credit even if you’ve mastered the material,” Patrick said. Another challenge to accepting online courses for credit, he said, is that the state requires the course’s instructor to be certified to teach in New York.
Private schools, however, are not bound by those restrictions. Michelle Christie, eHarvey's program director, said most of the courses, which are open to any high school student with the financial means, are taught by Harvey teachers or former Harvey teachers.
“We’re finding that most students are taking (the courses) to advance,” Christie said.
Students take the classes for enrichment, to fulfill a prerequisite or even just to "lay the groundwork, so they go through the course online first," she said.
Patrick said Fox Lane could possibly use a student’s grade in courses like eHarvey’s to place a student in the correct class, in the same way that a transfer student might be evaluated by his transcript from another school.
But in its own way, Fox Lane does use online learning, which Patrick said has been shown to be “an effective method of learning for some kids.” However, courses are only during the school year, and students use them only when they need to retake a class.
For more information about eHarvey, visit its website. Summer classes start June 25.