How does a teacher deliver a Virtual High School online course to students from around the world and in different time zones? Follow Jill through one Virtual High School day...
Jill, a teacher from a Texas school, started incorporating the Internet into her lessons a couple of years ago but wondered if she could use the internet to teach a course. When her school joined Virtual High School (VHS), Jill applied to be her school's first online teacher. She enrolled in NetCourse Instructional Methodologies (NIM), a 10 week course designed to instruct online pedagogy and methodology while learning to teach a VHS online course. Jill is interested in taking a previously developed course and then tailoring it to meet her needs and her style of teaching.
VHS professional development experience is unique because the course allowed Jill to receive graduate credits, and the training gave her first-hand knowledge in learning and assimilating information online. Jill really likes that VHS trains teachers in the same online learning environment that she will instruct and deliver her course in - providing her with first-hand knowledge in online learning. Jill joined about 30 other teachers from around the world in her NIM class where she learned how to teach online, including how to facilitate discussions, how to assess students in an online environment, and how to organize cooperative learning groups and activities.
When Jill enrolled in NIM she selected a course, one that she was certified to teach, from a VHS list of previously developed courses. She learned how to tailor the NetCourse to her teaching style by adding new content and features. She has now taught more than six online courses to over 125 students from around the world!
Through her training and instruction she realized the unique possibilities online learning can provide. Jill found that students tend to ask more questions through open and private discussion threads. The anonymity of online discussions fosters an equal playing field for all students. Jill also realized another advantage to online learning. On average, online courses are more writing intensive than traditional face-to-face courses. The quality of her students’ writing improved over the duration of the course.
Part of what Jill loves about Virtual High School is that it has made her look at pedagogy and instruction with a fresh look after 15 years of teaching. Customizing a new course to her style and delivering it through a new venue reminds her of the excitement she felt when she first started teaching - she felt rejuvenated and energized. This new found enthusiasm has carried over into her face-to-face classroom as well. She also loves being an innovator in online education and connecting to an intimate network of teachers worldwide who can share their best practices with one another.
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