I'd have to say yes it does, but I can't be certain. The videos I have shot I have not been still while shooting, and I have not seen any of them go out of focus, but they are short duration and short distance. So, it's possible that it might not. Ken
It does have an optical zoom as well as a digital zoom and the ability to change some settings, but there is no manual mode. It is also image stabilized. It is a great little point and shoot camera and takes nice video as well. But, I am not sure it would be what you'd want for a digital photography class. You might want to have your son check with his instructor or the class syllabus to see what type of camera they are expecting him to have, but I'd think it would call for a DSLR.
Yes it does have an ON flash setting. When in "AUTO" mode though, which will automatically choose settings according to conditions, you can only cycle between auto and off flash. If you turn this mode off and choose the settings yourself, then you can choose among auto, on, or off flash settings