Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Questions for a Virtual School Teacher

Tomorrow evening I will have my first online meeting with a virtual school class. In the meantime, I had the opportunity to explore an AP U.S. History and American Government course. As a result of this exploration, I had a number of questions for the teacher. Some of her answers follow. I did not publish answers that were confidential or offered from a more personal point of view.

  1. Do the courses ever incorporate emerging Web 2.0 activities like blogs, wikis, or Voice Threads for assignments, or are all activities available within the learning management system?

    This is one that is "in the works". We know that these things are essential for our students but we have not yet determined how to best use them. This has especially been a focus in the American Government course since collaboration between the students is required. We are trying to find ways to make the process easier for them.

  2. What is a web inquiry? Is this like a WebQuest? I couldn't see that activity because it was in the SAS section of the course?

    Yes, they are similar.

  3. How often do you use discussions in the course? I saw a reference to the College Board discussion. Do they provide guidelines or discussion topics for the AP courses?

    We only use the internal course discussion board minimally. I think it was designed to be used with greater frequency but students tend to want more immediate response from us or each other and will use email or IM. Also, yes, the college board site does provide a wealth of review information for the students.

  4. Is the lesson content based on a certain text, written by the course designers, or created by another service or company?

    The lesson content is written internally. All our courses are based on the state standards.

  5. What is the percentage of students who successfully pass the AP test?

    The school has a tremendous pass rate over all (through our AP courses).

I'm particularly interested in learning more about how Web 2.0 tools might be incorporated in future offerings. I imagine that some of the difficulty lies in the lack of control.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Thanks for sharing your questions.

I can see how it is a challenge for virtual schools who emphasize mostly self-paced, mastery-based learning to also create and encourage an online community of student learners. With students working at different speeds in a Spanish course, it seems difficult for a teacher to organize and schedule synchronous and even asynchronous communication among the students. It seems like this is one of the biggest challenges for integrating Web 2.0 social tools...