Our school has been using online learning since the mid-1990s when we became one of the first to sign up for VHS Learning. Since then, we’ve expanded our use of the program and involved more students.
Here are four tips for success that I’ve learned along the way, and that other schools can use to get the most out of their online learning partners:
1. Involve all types of learners. Online learning isn’t just for high-performing students who want to earn more credits or expand their learning horizons. We use it for learners of all levels, and it can serve as a successful alternative for struggling students, allow students to explore specific areas of interest not offered at our school, and for those who want to take more Advanced Placement (AP) courses than we offer on campus. I always have several students who are interested in AP classes that we don’t offer at our school, but I also make sure that I keep half of the online semester elective courses open for students who are interested. I want to make sure that students at different levels have an opportunity to learn online as well.
2. Dedicate the space and time. Our students have a dedicated class period for online learning that either lasts for one semester (for an elective) or a full year (for an AP class). This effectively replaces whatever elective the student had previously registered for offline. About 50 percent of students using the online platform take AP courses and the rest are taking other courses.
How to prepare new teachers for virtual learning
How I make online teaching work as a high school educator