Monday, October 29, 2012

A perspective on online distance learning

My second daughter wrote the following about her experience with online distance learning:

This year our distant education classes went live. Previously, we would watch the videos about a week after the class had been taped. Now we’re watching the class live with a chat bar to ask the teacher questions. Here are the main differences between watching live and waiting for the recording:

First, it helps me be motivated to stay on track with the schedule. In previous years about halfway through the school year I would fall a little behind either for homework or because of our own busy schedule. So far this year I have kept up very well with homework and the classes because I’m motivated to stay with the class.

Second, we can ask the teachers questions without waiting a couple days for a response. In previous years, if I had a question about something I would email the teacher and with another thousand distant education students it could take a couple days to get an answer. So far there are only forty other live distant students so now I just type a question into the chat bar for the teacher and within a few minutes it’s answered.

Third, it’s been fun to chat with the other online students. We can answer each other’s questions about the class or homework. We can chat with our friends or ask questions. There are two chat boxes, one for questions for the teacher and another for questions or chatting with the other online students. There are about forty other students watching online so often when someone asks a question another student can answer it before the teacher has read the question.

Fourth, I’ve also gotten to know the students who go to the academy better (the students in the room with the teacher) since they typically turn on the camera a couple minutes before the class starts. This year the distant students will even be able to vote in the student elections for class president something, as a homeschooler, I’ve never done.

Being able to watch the live videos has been a fun addition to our school work this year. It doesn’t mean that I watch all the live classes. Last week we took a field trip to Big Basin with some visiting relatives during the classes. I just watched the classes after I got home since the videos are posted online afterwards immediately. It’s been fun to add the structure of the live classes but still do the fun field trips homeschoolers get to do.


shawn2010 said...

Great article from what is clearly a very articulate young woman. Reading this article has caused me to consider the current approach that I am taking in my Free math website. I currently offer free live tutoring on Thursday afternoons to students on the site but I will endeavor to find more ways of providing live interaction for students to keep them engaged. Thank you:)

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