North Dakota Center for Distance Education
North Dakota’s Center for Distance Education (CDE) was created by North Dakota’s legislature in 1935 as a means of providing educational opportunity for all of North Dakota’s kids regardless of where they live. North Dakota’s rural landscape both then and now present formidable challenges to providing a uniform system of education across the state. The method has certainly changed, but the mission of CDE still rings true today. That is to ensure that all North Dakota students regardless of location have access to educational opportunities that meet or exceed customer expectations for:
- the quality of curriculum,
- ongoing contact time with highly qualified teachers,
- monitoring course delivery efficiency and effectiveness, and
- student learning.
As the only online/virtual school based in the state of North Dakota, CDE partners with all 175 public school districts across the state to provide supplemental online courses. In some instances, CDE serves as the entire academic department when qualified instructors are unable to be hired. CDE offers over 350 unique ½ credit courses to students in grades K-12 taught by a highly qualified ND online instructor. These courses range from core, elective, Career and Technical Education (CTE), advanced placement, dual credit, and credit recovery.
Projects and Highlights
- CDE is managed as a process-based organization. Customers are identified as students and parents. CDE carefully identifies customer expectations for each of the eight core processes within the organization. CDE process owners then use a series of active measures to monitor how well customer expectations are being met via the identified output.
- CDE just recently became a part of the state of North Dakota’s Career and Technical Education Department. This has spurred several new projects that are aimed at bringing more opportunities to students virtually to earn industry-recognized certifications either while still attending high school or shortly after.
- CDE launched its K-5 program in January of 2021. This program was developed with the help of highly qualified ND elementary instructors and through a curriculum partnership with one of CDE’s curriculum providers.
- In 2016, CDE partnered with Creative Learning Systems to bring hands-on, blending, hi-tech, project-based learning labs to rural schools across ND. These “SmartLabs” are blended learning turn-key solutions that flip the traditional instructor role. Onsite teachers truly become learning facilitators as the content is already contained and managed in the cloud with prebuilt activities known as learning launchers.
- Students can earn a high school diploma with CDE. CDE is fully accredited through Cognia and accepts students into its diploma earning program from anywhere around the world with an internet connection. An assigned guidance counselor evaluates each student’s credit needs and helps them stay on track until graduation.