Beginning with the graduating class of 2016, high school students in Idaho will be required to take two classes online.

As part of an education reform package, the Idaho Board of Education voted at its November meeting to make online coursework a graduation requirement. If the requirement stays in place, Idaho will become the first state to require online classes. The requirement would take effect for students entering high school in fall 2012; the state legislature convenes in January and may review the legislation that brought about the online mandate.

"Everything is moving online and we’re doing our students a disservice if we’re not giving them an opportunity in this arena," says board president Richard Westerberg. "Our own institutions tell us that high school students need to have online learning skills to be more successful once they arrive on campus."

The board says local districts will have the latitude to determine which classes will be offered to students online and when they can take them during their four years in high school.