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Online courses go to work: AMDG's 150-plus academic courses serve K-12 and job training centers.

The online school and job-training model has come a long way since it was first introduced more than a decade ago in Maryland. Liz Glowa, Director of Maryland Virtual Learning Opportunities Program (MVLO), has seen a dramatic improvement through a unique formula.

"Successfully supplying distance-learning courses to students takes more than just turning textbooks into digital form," notes Glowa. "We review [online courses] for content and instructional design before we accept them into our system. If you just throw text online, kids will stay away or drop out."

Glowa's office (http://mdk12online.org), a part of the state Board of Education, partners with Maryland's 24 independent school districts to provide in-school students courses for high school credit. The instruction is conducted online with the student physically separated from the teacher as they communicate online or via the telephone. A site coordinator provides site-based support when needed.

"We're very stringent about what will work for our [online] students and, of course, the online course must meet our state standards," says Glowa. The program serves students, with courses such as AP Art, AP Calculus, English and Geometry that are not available at their school or at a convenient time., The MVLO also serves schools with low enrollments or too few teachers for specific classes.

The MVLO has joined thousands of public, independent, home-schooled and adult students from all over the country that have enrolled in AMDG's (www.amdg.ws) accredited online K-12 program. These students have anytime, anywhere access to more than 150 academic courses ranging from remedial to honors and AP, foreign language, enrichment, and elective courses.

"AMDG is fully committed to meeting the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act," says AMDG's Greg Morse. "All courses are handicapped-accessible and adhere to ISTE, ADA, IDEA, and SCORM standards. Courses are full-content, semester, or year-long and are constructed to meet or exceed national and state curriculum guidelines. Our courses blend the best of traditional resources with online laboratory and library resources."

Additionally, AMDG recruits, screens, trains, and qualifies individuals for employment with Fortune 500 companies on a local, regional, and national basis. Through AMDG's model, companies significantly lower their recruiting and training costs. "AMDG's work force is better trained, more motivated, and enjoys a consistent job placement rate of 98 percent," says Morse.

For example, CSX Corp., the railroad and shipping firm, teamed up with the Job Corps center in Glenmont, NY, and AMDG to train future employees. The result: AMDG-qualified students go to work for CSX Railway at an average $41,000 starting salary (vs. an average starting salary of $16,000 for Job Corps graduates nationwide).

"The quality and structure of AMDG's programs have provided our students with unmatched career opportunities," agrees James Baldwin, Director, Administrative Services, Glenmont Job Corps Center.

"CSX continues to count on AMDG's exceptional educational and training programs to provide high-quality, diverse job candidates for careers with CSX," says Susan Hamilton, Assistant Vice President, Diversity and EEO, CSX Corp.

AMDG is positioned to offer a comprehensive program for work force development with:

* An accredited academic curriculum

* Certificated training for a variety of skills

* Job placement based on successful demonstration of academic competency and basic employability skills

Another key benefit to AMDG's service is the ability to customize courses to an unprecedented level, notes MVLO's Glowa. "We had two second-semester high school students come into our system from out of state and they needed geometry credits to graduate. AMDG was willing to really personalize a program for these students by assessing where they were and creating a course that would fairly and accurately serve them. They bend over backwards to make online courses work."

For more information, contact Clay Hovater at clayhovater@amdg.ws
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Author:Hovater, Clay
Publication:District Administration
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Words:618
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