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Virtual schools is the term used to describe schools that deliver instruction predominantly or exclusively through computer programs accessible via the Internet. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar schools, virtual schools may have no physical place called “school,” but create educational communities by linking students with teachers and classmates through the Internet. In virtual schools, students remain in their homes under the supervision of their parents, attending classes by means of their computers. In addition, virtual schools are referred to as “cyber schools,” “online schools,” “e-schools” and “Web-based schools.” This entry looks at their development and related controversies.

Historical Background

As technology advanced, it is not surprising that computer-based learning began to be explored. Initially, virtual schools were used to help students obtain course work that was not available in ...

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