PargoNet

Reflections on Instructional Technology and Media

Distance Learning January 29, 2007

I really like being a part of the NC Virtual Public School advisory board. At our first meeting on Friday, we got to learn about a study they have done on the online courses currently being offered to NC students. Some were good as is, some need a little fixing, and many need to be thrown out and re-created from scratch. I like the rigor being applied to the analysis of what will be offered to our students.

The rationale I keep hearing for creating an online school and developing these courses is to offer learning opportunities to schools and students who would not normally be able to participate in classes because of low enrollment in their current schools. I buy in to this. It makes sense that a wide variety of AP and honors courses should be offered to students across the state regardless of whether there are enough other students in their geographic region who wish to pursue the same studies.

However, I work in Chapel Hill – we are fortunate enough not to have the same needs for these courses as other districts. Our need for them typically stems from scheduling concerns rather than a lack of face-to-face offering.

A few months ago, I read a statement that charged “every student should participate in an online course before graduating from high school.” WOW – what a thought. What if our students took these courses, not because they are not offered in our system, but because they need to learn how to be students in an online environment? 

Think about how many people are now enrolled in some kind of online course, whether it is through a college/university or for professional growth purposes. I teach online courses for two area universities and typically have at least one student who is completely unprepared to be an online student. How I have wished that they had been able to be in a class online before that taught them the skills they need to be a succcessful online learner. I have seen plenty of lists of suggested traits of good online learners – but never on how we can teach our students these traits so that they can participate in the online edusphere.

What do you think?

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2 Responses to “Distance Learning”

  1. Joe Poletti Says:

    I’m right there with you on this one. How many of our mission statements say something about “preparing students for the future?”

    I think even if they have to have F2F classes, they can be in some CMS like Blackboard or Moodle. Does your system use either of these?

  2. tweeks Says:

    We use SchoolCenter for web enhancement of F2F classes. We looked closely at Blackboard but found that it was cost prohibitive and we really were looking to web enhance rather than actually conduct class using such a tool.


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