Tag Archives: college coursework

Online Courses are Everywhere: How IOAPA Prepares Students for Online Learning Experiences

There are a lot of benefits discussed regarding Advanced Placement courses—earning college credit, preparation for college-level coursework, and skipping introductory college coursework, to name a few. But did you know that online AP classes can also help prepare you for online experiences in college?

Online learning is a rapidly expanding trend on college campuses—according to research conducted by the Sloan Foundation, roughly one-third of U.S. undergraduate students took an online college course for credit last year. With 70-80% of collegiate institutions reporting that online education is a central focus for long-term strategy, online learning is here to stay at colleges and universities. Because college-bound students will most likely take an online course at some point, more high schools are emphasizing the importance of being prepared for the unique challenges of online learning—some districts even require high school students to take online classes prior to graduating from high school.

High school students in Iowa have a unique opportunity to prepare for online learning through the Iowa Online AP Academy (IOAPA). Students who participate in Iowa Online AP Academy (IOAPA) courses not only benefit from exposure to more rigorous, college-level coursework, but also have the opportunity to practice independent learning, utilizing an online format, and seeking additional help when needed—all skills necessary for success in online classrooms at all levels. In addition, IOAPA students also have built-in support from site coordinators and mentors. Research conducted with college undergraduates found that although learning outcomes are generally consistent between online-only and combined learning formats, access to support was one area in which online students reported difficulty. Access to these additional resources helps IOAPA students learn how to anticipate and master challenging course material, a skill necessary for success in the college environment. When confronted with online experiences in college, Iowa Online AP Academy students have already experienced some of the benefits and challenges of participating in online learning, and may be able to use the skills developed in IOAPA as they continue their education.

Interested in learning more about IOAPA? Find out more.

What Are the Post-Secondary Advantages of Enrolling in AP Coursework in High School?

One of the clear advantages of enrolling in AP coursework while still in high school is the possibility of earning college credit with satisfactory performance on AP exams. (Click here to see how AP exam scores are applied to college coursework at area colleges and universities).

However, a recent study is the latest in a growing body of research to suggest that the benefits of enrolling in AP coursework may go beyond earning college credit on the AP exam. Ackerman, Kanfer, and Calderwood (2013) studied the college transcripts of all incoming freshman in the fall of 2009 at Georgia Tech University. Their examination of AP course-taking information coupled with first-year GPA indicates that the number of AP exams students take, along with scores of 3 or better, was correlated with a higher GPA when compared to students who had not taken any AP exams.

Image from Ackerman, Kanfer, and Calderwood (2013).

Image from Ackerman, Kanfer, and Calderwood (2013).

Similarly, high school students taking AP exams and earning scores of 3 or better also had a higher 4- and 5-year graduation rate, when compared to students who had not taken any AP exams.

Ackerman, Kanfer, & Calderwood. (2013). High school advanced placement and student performance in college: STEM majors, non-STEM majors, and gender differences. Teachers College Record. 115(10). 1-43.