Mesa Distance Learning Program
|Mesa Distance Learning Program|
|1025 N. Country Club Dr.
Mesa, Maricopa, AZ 85201-3307
|School type||State, Online, Public|
|Motto||Your online link to quality education|
|School board||Mesa Public Schools|
|Hours in school day||1 hour per course recommended|
|The course page of a "sample" student|
Mesa Distance Learning Program is a distance learning program for grades 7-12 sponsored by Mesa Public Schools in Mesa, Arizona, USA that offers students worldwide a US-based education leading to a high school diploma. Tuition is free for students studying in Arizona, and who have passed the Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards exam to obtain that benefit. Those enrolling from outside Arizona must pay USD 200 per course. The Mesa Distance Learning Program is also used by other Arizona school districts.
The program initially catered for those students in Arizona who could not attend a local high school. However, following its success, the program is now being used widely in territories outside Arizona, including the UK, India, and Australia.
All courses are aligned to Mesa District, state of Arizona and national curriculum standards. The Mesa Distance Learning claims that they are only distance learning program whose lab and fine art courses meet the requirement to enter Arizona universities. All students are required to take a mandatory final exam at the end of the course. This may be done using an approved proctor or at the MDLP office. If the student fails the final exam, they fail the course.
Each course lasts 18 weeks but students are encouraged to complete the course as soon as possible. The course is designed to be completed by studying for one hour per school week for each course. Students can take as many courses as they like. However, in order to complete the course within the usual time frame, high school students must be enrolled in at least four courses, and junior high students (grades 7-8) must be enrolled in six courses.
Technical and system requirements
Students need a computer, Internet access, and an email address to complete courses through MDLP. The coursework is composed of lessons, typed worksheets, and timed online tests that run on the Macromedia Authorware software.
Minimum requirements for operating the system on a personal computer include:
- Windows OS (Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7), or Mac OS X (Windows PCs are suggested)
- Internet connection - (Cable or DSL connection preferred)
- Monitor - 256 colors
- CD-ROM drive
- 512mb RAM
- Internet Explorer 7 or above
- Firefox (Firefox 3.5.3 and Safari 4, or above will not allow the Authorware plug-in to be recognized. Users will need to install Firefox version 3.5.2 for plug-ins to work on a Mac)
- System updates current
- QuickTime 7 for Windows
- Word Processing software such as WordPad, Microsoft Word, or ThinkFree Office
- MDLP installation CD - install web player
MDLP offer a wide range of course work. As in traditional high schools, students are able to take elective programs and foreign languages. Due to China's presence in the world economy, a Chinese language course was added to the list of courses offered by MDLP and students can also take Chinese through the online Mesa Distance Learning Program.
Founded in 1999, the Mesa Distance Learning Program initially had little data access. Student management and gradebook was being contracted out to a commercial company. The program was mainly used by home school students and disabled students as an alternative to attending traditional schools, and included those with disabilities preventing them from attending a mainstream school on a regular basis, and students with certain types of school phobias. Interactions between student and teacher were done through email.
Towards the later years, the program has made many changes, including more teacher involvement, and the courseware, student management, grade book, and dialog (message box) are now done in-house by Mesa and do not depend on third party involvement. Data access is now given to the teacher, parent, administrator, counselor and lab teacher, and the teacher feedback feature was added in 2007. Mesa moved from commercial software to in-house use in order to retain control of the software design and to ensure the curriculum is aligned with Arizona standards.
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