There is a broad array of online educational options for students. The type of online education delivery models has changed as school leaders realize that most students, particularly at-risk students, do better with a combination of online learning and meeting face-to-face with a teacher. People call this either blended or hybrid learning and there hasn't been a strong preference for either term nationally.
In Colorado, hybrid/blended schools cannot get funding to operate. The School Finance statute and state board rule do not permit schools to use the blended approach. Colorado law allows online schools to use a "learning center," meaning a regular location that students attend where instruction is delivered online and the school has gained the approval of the school districts in which the learning centers are located. However, to establish a student's schedule with both online and regular hours with a teacher isn't permissible under the law.
Across the nation, policy makers are wrestling with how to fund online students. Colorado's system relies on a annual count day (October 1) to establish funding for the entire year. Online students need to sign on their computer's online program numerous times within the "count window" in order to be counted. Further, teachers must document time on the phone with students and any virtual classes they conduct.
As the use of technology increases, and students become more adept at newer technologies, watch for policy makers to address the issue of blended or hybrid learning.