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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 124D

Section 124D.095

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124D.095 Online learning option.

Subdivision 1. Citation. This section may be cited as the "Online Learning Option Act."

Subd. 2. Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following terms have the meanings given them.

(a) "Online learning" is an interactive course or program that delivers instruction from a teacher to a student by computer; is combined with other traditional delivery methods that include frequent student assessment and may include actual teacher contact time; and meets or exceeds state academic standards.

(b) "Online learning provider" is a school district, an intermediate school district, an organization of two or more school districts operating under a joint powers agreement, or a charter school located in Minnesota that provides online learning to students.

(c) "Student" is a Minnesota resident enrolled in a school under section 120A.22, subdivision 4, in kindergarten through grade 12.

(d) "Online learning student" is a student enrolled in an online learning course or program delivered by an online provider under paragraph (b).

(e) "Enrolling district" means the school district or charter school in which a student is enrolled under section 120A.22, subdivision 4, for purposes of compulsory attendance.

Subd. 3. Authorization; notice; limitations on enrollment. (a) A student may apply to an online learning provider to enroll in online learning. A student age 17 or younger must have the written consent of a parent or guardian to apply. No school district or charter school may prohibit a student from applying to enroll in online learning. An online learning provider that accepts a student under this section must, within ten days, notify the student and the enrolling district if the enrolling district is not the online learning provider. The notice must report the student's course or program and hours of instruction.

(b) An online learning student must notify the enrolling district at least 30 days before taking an online learning course or program if the enrolling district is not providing the online learning. An online learning provider must notify the commissioner that it is delivering online learning and report the number of online learning students it is accepting and the online learning courses and programs it is delivering.

(c) An online learning provider may limit enrollment if the provider's school board or board of directors adopts by resolution specific standards for accepting and rejecting students' applications.

(d) An enrolling district may reduce an online learning student's regular classroom instructional membership in proportion to the student's membership in online learning courses.

Subd. 4. Online learning parameters. (a) An online learning student must receive academic credit for completing the requirements of an online learning course or program. Secondary credits granted to an online learning student must be counted toward the graduation and credit requirements of the enrolling district. The enrolling district must apply the same graduation requirements to all students, including online learning students, and must continue to provide nonacademic services to online learning students. If a student completes an online learning course or program that meets or exceeds a graduation standard or grade progression requirement at the enrolling district, that standard or requirement is met. The enrolling district must use the same criteria for accepting online learning credits or courses as it does for accepting credits or courses for transfer students under section 124D.03, subdivision 9. The enrolling district may reduce the teacher contact time of an online learning student in proportion to the number of online learning courses the student takes from an online learning provider that is not the enrolling district.

(b) An online learning student may:

(1) enroll during a single school year in a maximum of 12 semester-long courses or their equivalent delivered by an online learning provider or the enrolling district;

(2) complete course work at a grade level that is different from the student's current grade level; and

(3) enroll in additional courses with the online learning provider under a separate agreement that includes terms for payment of any tuition or course fees.

(c) A student with a disability may enroll in an online learning course or program if the student's IEP team determines that online learning is appropriate education for the student.

(d) An online learning student has the same access to the computer hardware and education software available in a school as all other students in the enrolling district. An online learning provider must assist an online learning student whose family qualifies for the education tax credit under section 290.0674 to acquire computer hardware and educational software for online learning purposes.

(e) An enrolling district may offer online learning to its enrolled students. Such online learning does not generate online learning funds under this section. An enrolling district that offers online learning only to its enrolled students is not subject to the reporting requirements or review criteria under subdivision 7. A teacher with a Minnesota license must assemble and deliver instruction to enrolled students receiving online learning from an enrolling district. The delivery of instruction occurs when the student interacts with the computer or the teacher and receives ongoing assistance and assessment of learning. The instruction may include curriculum developed by persons other than a teacher with a Minnesota license.

(f) An online learning provider that is not the enrolling district is subject to the reporting requirements and review criteria under subdivision 7. A teacher with a Minnesota license must assemble and deliver instruction to online learning students. The delivery of instruction occurs when the student interacts with the computer or the teacher and receives ongoing assistance and assessment of learning. The instruction may include curriculum developed by persons other than a teacher with a Minnesota license. Unless the commissioner grants a waiver, a teacher providing online learning instruction must not instruct more than 40 students in any one online learning course or program.

Subd. 5. Participation in extracurricular activities. An online learning student may participate in the extracurricular activities of the enrolling district on the same basis as other enrolled students.

Subd. 6. Information. School districts and charter schools must make available information about online learning to all interested people.

Subd. 7. Department of Education. (a) The department must review and certify online learning providers. The online learning courses and programs must be rigorous, aligned with state academic standards, and contribute to grade progression in a single subject. Online learning providers must affirm to the commissioner that online learning courses have equivalent standards or instruction, curriculum, and assessment requirements as other courses offered to enrolled students. The online learning provider must also demonstrate expectations for actual teacher contact time or other student-to-teacher communication. Once an online learning provider is approved under this paragraph, all of its online learning course offerings are eligible for payment under this section unless a course is successfully challenged by an enrolling district or the department under paragraph (b).

(b) An enrolling district may challenge the validity of a course offered by an online learning provider. The department must review such challenges based on the certification procedures under paragraph (a). The department may initiate its own review of the validity of an online learning course offered by an online learning provider.

(c) The department may collect a fee not to exceed $250 for certifying online learning providers or $50 per course for reviewing a challenge by an enrolling district.

(d) The department must develop, publish, and maintain a list of approved online learning providers and online learning courses and programs that it has reviewed and certified.

Subd. 8. Financial arrangements. (a) For a student enrolled in an online learning course, the department must calculate average daily membership and make payments according to this subdivision.

(b) The initial online learning average daily membership equals 1/12 for each semester course or a proportionate amount for courses of different lengths. The adjusted online learning average daily membership equals the initial online learning average daily membership times .88.

(c) No online learning average daily membership shall be generated if: (1) the student does not complete the online learning course, or (2) the student is enrolled in online learning provided by the enrolling district.

(d) Online learning average daily membership under this subdivision for a student currently enrolled in a Minnesota public school shall be used only for computing average daily membership according to section 126C.05, subdivision 19, paragraph (a), clause (ii), and for computing online learning aid according to section 124D.096.

Subd. 9. Repealed, 1Sp2005 c 5 art 2 s 85

Subd. 10. Online Learning Advisory Council. (a) An Online Learning Advisory Council is established under section 15.059, except that the term for each council member shall be three years. The advisory council is composed of 12 members from throughout the state who have demonstrated experience with or interest in online learning. The members of the council shall be appointed by the commissioner. The advisory council shall bring to the attention of the commissioner any matters related to online learning and provide input to the department in matters related, but not restricted, to:

(1) quality assurance;

(2) teacher qualifications;

(3) program approval;

(4) special education;

(5) attendance;

(6) program design and requirements; and

(7) fair and equal access to programs.

(b) The Online Learning Advisory Council under this subdivision expires June 30, 2008.

HIST: 1Sp2003 c 9 art 2 s 20; 1Sp2005 c 5 art 2 s 58; art 4 s 12-14