Online Course Options
All online courses offered by OSPI-approved online course providers are taught by Washington certificated, highly qualified teachers. An online course is one where more than half of the course content is delivered electronically using the internet or other computer-based methods and more than half of the teaching is conducted from a remote location. View the full definition.
If students are interested in taking online courses for credit, they should first contact their local school district to see what online options are offered. All districts in the state have adopted policies (#2024) and procedures regarding student access to online courses and online learning programs.
Options available in a school district
Districts may be able to offer some of the following options:
- District-created online courses. Contact the local district for enrollment procedures.
- Courses purchased from a contracted provider. Contact the local district for enrollment procedures.
- Digital Learning Department (DLD) online courses. If a student is enrolled in a school that uses the DLD for online courses, s/he has access to a large catalog of courses. Check to see which schools are participating and learn more about DLD online courses. Students may talk to their school guidance counselor or DLD registrar, who will help students review the DLD catalog of available courses and assist in signing up for a course. There are also online guides for students and districts to help get started with DLD online courses.
Important to note:
- If the course is taken outside of a student's regular school schedule, districts may pass some or all of the course cost on to the student. Check with the district for the policy on paying for online courses.
- In order to claim state funding for online enrollments, districts must either use approved providers, run an OSPI-approved program, or follow the criteria for district use of non-approved providers. This could impact the courses and providers with which students may participate.
Enrolling independently of the school district
If the options available in a school district do not meet a student's need, the student has the option of enrolling directly with an OSPI-approved online course provider. We cannot enroll the student directly in a course listed in the DLD catalog without coordination/support from their local school, but families are free to use our catalog as a good representation of the courses available to WA students from approved providers. It is assumed that the student/family would pay for the course directly, as an addition to a full schedule of courses being provided by the local school or program. We strongly encourage families to make sure they are on the same page with their districts before independently enrolling their students in an online course.
Important to note:
- Confirm with the local school the intention to enroll directly with the OSPI-approved online course provider. There may be procedures to follow in order to earn credit for an online course enrolled independently of the district.
- Check with the district to confirm how the credit will be awarded for the online course and reflected on the local school transcript.
- Check if the local school has a preference for an OSPI-approved online course provider over another.
- Confirm with the online provider that the student is being placed with a WA certificated online teacher.