Online learning is growing rapidly across the United States within all levels of education as more students and educators become familiar with the benefits of a full range of New York State certified teachers providing rigorous curricula for both credit recovery and accrual purposes. Students are able to work at their own pace with academic coordination, delivery, instruction and support with live teacher chat. Internet access has combined to offer educators an unprecedented opportunity to expand both their population of students and course offerings via virtual schooling. The 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. traditional school day can now expand to a true 24/7 schedule.

The Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego Board of Cooperative Educational Services (HFHO BOCES) Virtual School Program offers more than 90 semester-length online academic courses, including Advanced Placement, electives, test preparation and foreign languages to students who enroll. All courses are aligned to the New York State Regents content standards and performance indicators. Every course offered in the program, regardless of the field of study, is developed by instructional designers under the guidance of subject area experts. Each course has built-in assessments at both the unit and course level. These assessments measure student mastery of content standards and determine whether the student requires any remedial assistance to succeed in the program. The program provides real-time reporting of student progress to involve parents and school administrators in the educational process.

HFHO BOCES has developed a blended teaching model that combines the efforts of virtual instructors, staff from our partnering schools and BOCES personnel. This comprehensive approach promotes the design of individual student plans that assess the needs of the student and create the pathways necessary for success.


Distance learning is a mode of delivering education and instruction, often on an individual basis, to students who are not physically present in a traditional setting such as a classroom. Distance learning provides access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance, or both. Distance education also provides a broader method of communication within the realm of education. With the many tools and programs that technological advancements have to offer, communication appears to increase in distance education among students and their professors, as well as students and their classmates. The distance education increase in communication, particularly communication among students and their classmates, is an improvement that has been made to provide distance education students with as many of the opportunities as possible as they would receive in in-person education.