A Montana academy is breaking down barriers through online learning

Eric Young

It’s no secret that Montana has long struggled with gaps in educational opportunities across its rural and urban schools, but recent innovations from the Montana Digital Academy are striving to close them.

Established in 2009 by the state legislature, MTDA partners with K-12 public schools across Montana to provide online options to students to supplement their local schoolwork. Using online learning software like Open LMS and EdReady, the institution offers both credit recovery classes for failing students and original credit courses.

When the COVID-19 pandemic required everyone to shift to remote learning, the digital academy experienced an influx of new interest.

“It was a huge increase,” said Andy Braden, a representative for Open LMS. “Our usage almost doubled in a month as the shutdowns really started happening.”

The academy’s focus initially was on credit recovery, but as time went on they found more schools were signing up for their original course offerings. As a result, these options are now 60% larger than the academy’s credit recovery options.

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