Nearly a decade after the first virtual-school programs offering online-only instruction began to emerge, virtual schooling no longer can be considered a fringe activity. Recent developments have confirmed online learning's place in the education mainstream.

Michigan, for instance, soon could become the first state in the nation to require students to have some sort of online learning experience before graduating from high school. And the latest survey of online learning trends in higher education says nearly two-thirds of all colleges and universities that deliver face-to-face instruction now offer online courses. Even the concerns that virtual

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