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First-Day-of-School Hiccups Happen at Ohio's Largest Online Schools Too

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Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 2:20 PM


Online schools don't have buses and buildings, but that doesn't mean they're immune from first day of school hiccups.

While the Columbus school district dealt with bus delays and Cleveland told as many as 290 families to show up at a school that doesn't exist, Ohio's two largest online schools had a few issues of their own.

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) and Ohio Virtual Academy both enrolled about 10,000 students statewide last year. Their students generally log on to class from their home computers.

Classes at ECOT started Tuesday, but as of today some students were still struggling to log on or stay logged on to their classes.

The problem was a combination of "unprecedented" enrollment growth and new technology ECOT implemented, spokesperson Nick Wilson. It's likely that all ECOT students were affected in some way, either being shut out of the system or experiencing "system slowness," he  said.

(The new technology included an online event registration system for upcoming school events and field trips and a new server configuration at ECOT technology vendor IQity.)

In a statement posted on the school's Facebook page, ECOT says it hopes to fix the problems soon:

Hi current students and families - we have been told they are resetting their servers, and we will hopefully see an improvement soon. Again, we are very sorry that there has been an issue this morning. Thank you for being so patient, we appreciate it!

Some students were still able to use “work-arounds” to participate in live, online sessions with their teachers, Wilson said.

Still, some students and parents weren't thrilled about being kept out of school. Parent Melissa Johnson wrote to ECOT:

problems logging into iqity today too? my son got knocked off tis morning and has been trying for like 30 mins straight and the hold time for help desk is over an hr wait....

Ohio Virtual Academy also had problems getting some students to school. School started Monday, but the problems continued on Tuesday, according to a post on the school's Facebook page.

Ohio Virtual Academy Senior Head of School Kristin Stewart said today that some students had been unable to log into extracurricular sessions, online orientations and assemblies. Stewart wrote in an email to StateImpact Ohio:

Those that did report issues were contacted by the school and walked through the process to make sure all was running smoothly.  ClassConnect sessions experienced some minor technical issues which were quickly resolved.  All students are accessing their ClassConnect sessions.

Ohio Virtual Academy is operated by public, for-profit company K12. K12 operates more than 30 public online schools nationwide. ECOT purchases some management serves from private, for-profit company Altair Learning Management and purchases other services from companies linked to Altair.

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