Will K-12 ever offer Online Courses for students run by district staff?

I am wondering if in the near future K-12 districts might begin offering online courses?   With online courses, would it be possible to enroll students from out of the district since they would not be in a typical classroom?  Could we offer specialized programs and courses that other districts do not for a fee?  Could online learning be a money generating program larger districts could provide to smaller ones?   Would K-12 students be able to effectively utilize online courses and be responsible enough to handle it?  Is Michigan Virtual School already doing this and so it is pointless to try?  Could we compete with a lower price with MVS for students who may live in the district but are home schooled or have special needs?  Could we work with MVS to provide courses within their network?

There would be many hurdles to overcome such as working with teachers, providing the training to use online courses effectively, technology issues, etc.  There are a lot of questions I see that would need to be worked out.

What I have been trying to do is put into place all the necessary pieces so that if a teacher wanted to go completely online they could do so.  Moodle, Mahara, WordPress, and BigBlueButton working together provide the means to make online learning a reality. My overall game plan is to prepare our staff with the latest in open source products so that we can compete – if not rival – what universities use and offer their staff.  This ultimately serves the student’s interest as it will prepare them for online college courses.  Blackboard is great but applications like that cost an arm and a leg and you can’t really modify them due to licensing.

Dearborn Public Schools can currently offer student ePortfolios, complete online course creation, web conferencing, and web publishing tools for staff and students.  If you put this all together and add some hard work you could create a very powerful online experience for students.

I am thinking of trying to work with our Community and Adult education people to see if we can develop some online courses there that we can generate some small revenue.

I am curious if there are other K-12 districts using open source software to build their own online learning platforms and thinking to the future when your district might be offering online-only courses.  What are the tools you envision needing or using?

We are planning an online parent course for k-3 reading skills which I plan to utilize as much of the technology as possible to do a trial run for offering online learning courses.

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