Who is going to school online?

Summer school is looking different with more kids taking classes online instead of sitting in a brick-and-mortar classroom.

Students are taking classes online this summer because they failed a class or they want to replace a low grade. Some are trying to free up their schedules for electives.

Several school districts – Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett – run their own online programs. The Georgia Department of Education also operates the Georgia Virtual School.

(There’s also a virtual charter school, the Georgia Virtual Academy.)

Online classes are more convenient for many kids and their families. Kids spend so much of their lives online it makes sense that they learn that way.

Does this type of learning work for everyone? Kids need to be more independent and they have to be good at managing their time.

What do you think of online learning? What types of classes do you think work best online?

13 comments Add your comment

Cere

July 6th, 2009
9:14 am

My children used online classes and they were just fine. In DeKalb, a little known secret is that you can take an online course through DOLA during the school day at school for free. Your counselor has to set you up in a computer workstation. Also, you cannot “replace” a low grade. ALL grades are factored in for high school GPA upon graduation. So, if you fail a class (0) and retake it and get an A (4) your GPA for that class is now a 2.0 — Failing high school courses is highly punitive and nearly impossible to recover from.

AP Teacher

July 6th, 2009
10:03 am

An online learning environment is not for everyone. Just because a child may spend hours upon end on the computer does not mean that he/she has the discipline necessary to be successful taking an online course. The student should be self-motivated and able to devote time everyday to the course. Typically, people tend to think that online courses are easier than face-to-face courses. They are not. In fact, there are some courses that would be harder to take online, since there is no teacher there at all times. One more thing – sometimes students will get other people to do their coursework for them to turn in, but, the truth always comes out when they have to take the mandatory face-to-face final exams.

Cere

July 6th, 2009
10:54 am

AP Teacher – couldn’t a student just as easily get someone to do their classwork or homework for them in a regular setting?

What about college courses? There are many college courses being offered online nowadays. Many courses are even called “hybrids” which are half online and half lecture. They’re very effective – and take away a lot of the need to grade homework as the program itself grades the work – and plots how you are doing – what you seem to understand and what you need to revisit. The teacher can view the data too – and re-teach topics that the class seems unclear about. The feedback is pretty powerful.

Cere

July 6th, 2009
10:57 am

I will also say that the Georgia Virtual Academy seems to be much better than local systems. At least in DeKalb where the teachers who teach DOLA courses do so separately from their DCSS contracts. Therefore, if you have a problem there is no repercussion for the teacher. One person I know had a problem, when the teacher decided she didn’t want to teach the AP course she had committed to after three weeks, and just quit responding to her – what turned out to be – only student. No problem for the teacher to bail on that student. It’s not part of their official job – just an easy way for them to make some extra $$$.

This same student ended up taking the course through the State’s virtual school. The quality of teaching was very good – and the classroom participation (online chatting) was very high. I’ve heard from several people that the State’s program is a good one.

Lynn

July 6th, 2009
12:50 pm

Having had a child who took a Math class online in an attempt to get ahead a year in Math, I have to say it was not what I expected. There were no online teaching sessions. Powerpoints were posted with information on how to do problems. Students could email the teacher with questions. Homework was submitted online. There was no voice to voice interaction or even class time when the entire class could sit down online and follow the teacher presenting the material and ask questions. It was a great job for the teacher. She took several week long vacations during the course time when she might only respond to emails a couple of times a week.

This was basically a self taught course with someone receiving the online homework and posting grades.

jim d

July 6th, 2009
12:58 pm

It most assuredly brings closure to the one complaint teachers have on this blog . DISCIPLINE.

Now if we can just get enough of these classes to reduce teaching staff’s in order to get rid of the people taeching that have no business doing so.

on the down side–this may very well place more pedophiles on the streets by taking them out of the classroom

AP Teacher

July 6th, 2009
4:23 pm

Cere – How can a student get someone else to do their classwork, quizzes, and tests in a face-to-face environment?

come on jim d!

July 6th, 2009
5:51 pm

I don’t know what to say about you. On one hand you have some thoughtful posts. Then again you also come across as an example of why parents need to monitor their kids internet usage. Anonymity is great isn’t it? :)

Cere

July 6th, 2009
8:14 pm

Well, AP teacher, maybe not classwork (I didn’t mention quizzes and tests) that gets taken up at the end of class, but certainly homework, projects, papers etc..could be farmed out. There will always be people who cheat, but this isn’t a reason to ditch online learning. I think the online experience – as with classroom experience – has more to do with the quality and dedication of the teacher than anything else. Luck of the draw…

AP Teacher

July 6th, 2009
8:24 pm

Cere – I never suggested ditching online learning; I actually have taught online for many years! My point is that the online learning environment is not for everyone. The dedication needs to be on the side of the student…

Cere

July 6th, 2009
11:46 pm

oh – sorry. I didn’t read your post with the correct intent – it seemed to me that you didn’t have anything good to say about online courses. Personally, I think they work the best in the college environment, but they are a great way to make up credits in high school. In my experience, DeKalb’s is not too great. I think they need dedicated teachers just for online classes – not as an extra duty for teachers who already teach a full load of classes.

ScienceTeacher671

July 7th, 2009
3:51 pm

For optimum learning, there needs to be dedication on the side of the student whether the classes are traditional or online…

AP Teacher

July 7th, 2009
9:55 pm

ScienceTeacher671 – thank you! That’s what I was trying to say!