To improve access to quality online learning opportunities from early childhood education through college, Congressman Jared Polis and Congresswoman Kristi Noem today launched the bipartisan Congressional E-Learning Caucus. The Caucus, co-chaired by Polis and Noem, will seek to educate members of Congress about the benefits of e-learning and improve federal support for quality online educational opportunities. The Caucus held its inaugural briefing this morning on Capitol Hill.
"I'm excited to be working with Congresswoman Noem to help our colleagues understand the positive impacts of online learning and to improve federal policies and funding so that every student in K-12 and higher education can benefit from e-learning," said Polis. "We're already seeing how online learning can improve student outcomes and bring affordable and flexible higher educational opportunities to students who are working and raising families. I look forward to the Caucus generating bipartisan solutions that can improve the quality and availability of e-learning."
"E-Learning is revolutionizing education nationwide, and I'm excited to work with Congressman Polis on this effort," Noem said. "I was able to earn my bachelor's degree in part because of online courses, and Americans in almost every walk of life are similarly seeing new educational doors open to them. The full impact of e-learning on America's educational landscape is only just beginning to be realized. This Caucus will play a role in developing the policies that can guide this affordable and flexible way to learn to its full potential."
The Caucus will aim to improve Congress' understanding of key issues related to e-learning, including how to best support student academic outcomes and measure them appropriately; have workable policy approaches at the federal level; and identify best online instructional practices through research.
Research shows that online learning schools, programs, and classes in K-12 and higher education can help meet students' diverse learning needs, that some students learn better online, and that online learning can be particularly helpful for students who have not succeeded in traditional settings. Additionally, the self-pacing of online learning has been shown to benefit both K-12 students and college students who are also working full-time.
The inaugural panel this morning provided an overview of online education programs in included presentations from: Michael Kowalski, Administrator, Online Campus, Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools; Scott Jenkins, Director of External Relations, Western Governors University; Becky Takeda-Tinker, President of Colorado State University Global Campus; and, Judy Komar, Vice President of Educational Technology, Career Education Corporation.
Caucus members include: Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), Rep. David Loebsack (D-IA), Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), and Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY).