University of Alabama’s ACCESS Support Center offers free online courses to grades 7-12

University of Alabama’s ACCESS Support Center offers free online courses to grades 7-12
The University of Alabama has provided ACCESS Virtual Learning since 2004. Course content is available for Alabama students in grades 7-12 through an agreement with the Alabama State Department of Education. (contributed)

The University of Alabama ACCESS Support Center, in collaboration with the Alabama State Department of Education, is offering free online courses through its Franchise Model to all students in grades 7-12 in the state of Alabama.

“The ACCESS Franchise Model is an agreement between school districts and the Alabama State Department of Education to use the content of selected ACCESS courses absolutely without charge,” said Dr. Kevin D. Besnoy, director of ACCESS Virtual Learning. “All Alabama public schools that serve grades 7-12 may use the course content as defined in the ACCESS Franchise Agreement and Teacher Memorandum of Agreement.”

ACCESS, which stands for Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide, was launched in 2004 as a distance learning initiative. It has become a cornerstone in providing equitable education to all Alabama public school students in a cost‐effective model regardless of where they live. UA’s ACCESS Support Center, part of the College of Continuing Studies, designs more than 120 courses for grades 7-12.

For educators across the state moving to teaching online for the first time, Besnoy says to be patient and don’t try to be perfect.

“Teachers are an amazing group of professionals who are accustomed to overcoming enormous odds on a daily basis,” said Besnoy. “While current circumstances are testing what is possible, each teacher in the state of Alabama has it in them to still ‘be present’ for their students.”

Schools interested in using the ACCESS Franchise Model can contact Dr. Sherrie Banks at the Alabama State Department of Education at 334-694-4941.

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