TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – 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.
While ACCESS highlights the Franchise Model to support distance learning as a result of COVID-19, Besnoy says currently enrolled students will continue to receive the same high-quality instruction.
“For students currently enrolled in an ACCESS course, our teachers are continuing to engage students through the normal course procedures,” said Besnoy. “Throughout the normal school year, our teachers work tirelessly to establish rapport with their students and develop strong relationships. Given the amount of unknowns that everyone is facing, these strong relationships are a comfort to thousands of students across the state.”
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 utilizing the ACCESS Franchise Model can contact Joan Greene-Fisher at the Alabama State Department of Education at 334-694-4641.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.