According to Kowch (2009: 41-48), a cyber school (typically referred to as a cyber charter school) can be defined as an educational institution that teaches courses mostly or entirely online. Cyber schools serve students in elementary and/or secondary school.
This paper presents the findings of a literature review conducted to determine the advantages and disadvantages of cyber schools. Prior to conducting the research, this writer knew only that cyber schools were of interest to many students and it was believed that they were fairly effective but probably not as effective as regular schools. The purpose for conducting the research is to learn both the advantages and the disadvantages of these schools. Only in this way can it truly be know as to how effective or ineffective cyber schools truly are.
There are several advantages associated with cyber schools/cyber charter schools. First, such schools are attractive to an increasing number of students (Cavanaugh, 2009: 28-31). Indeed Cavanaugh (28) reports that there are 180 such schools in the United States located in 25 different states with many more being started. Cavanaugh (28) also notes that there are additional, and even more important, advantages of these schools. For example, cyber schools can make curricula available to students at any time and place. In addition, students can work on the material at their own pace. Further, the cyber school can design curricula in a manner that meets the students specific needs and abilities.
Carr-Chellman and Marsh (2009: 49-55) make the same points about the advantages of cyber schools; however, in a discussion of the implementation of cyber schools in Pennsylvania, the authors mention a clear disadvantage. This is the disadvantage of funding. Cyber schools appear to be last in line for federal funding and this necessitates that these schools be very creative in ensuring that they receive sufficient funding so as to mak...