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Monday, April 25, 2005

Time for Training, Time for Studying

An article in the Macon Telegraph by Julie Hubbard entitled "State prepares to make virtual high school a reality" (see http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/living/education/11474450.htm) caught my attention the other day.

According to Clements, the online class works like a real high school classroom.
Highly qualified teachers from around the state - retired or normally off for the summer - were trained for six weeks to teach courses in their fields to an online class of about 25.

Students enrolled in a course would probably spend 15 to 20 hours a week on the work and can take up to two classes during the summer.

If you recall, last month I had a post that asked the question "How Much Work is Involved for Students in Online Courses?" (see - http://mkbnl.blogspot.com/2005/03/how-much-work-is-involved-for-students.html), which this quotation is starting to speak to... Apparently the principal of the Georgia Virtual High School believe that for one to two summer school courses, it should take about 15-20 hours per week. I really wish some students had replied to the post that I made last month, as I'd be curious to see if this number is a realistic one or not.

You may also remember a post that I made earlier this month asking "Will the Virtual Classroom Redefine What it Means to be a Student -- or a Teacher?" (see - http://mkbnl.blogspot.com/2005/04/will-virtual-classroom-redefine-what.html). Again, Ms. Clements begins to answer the question on the teacher side of things... A virtual high school teacher will be, "Highly qualified teachers from around the state - retired or normally off for the summer..." Does this sound like a typical virtual high school teacher based on your experiences?

I know that in a couple of the comments to the very first entry that I made in this blog (see - http://mkbnl.blogspot.com/2005/03/welcome-to-my-blog-on-virtual-high.html) we had a short discussion about training provided to those who teach in a virtual high school environment. I know from my own experience, it was largely trial and error. Granted, I have been involved with a couple of virtual high schools since their early days, and things may be more structure now. In the case of the Georgia Virtual High School it appears that they have a program where teachers "were trained for six weeks to teach courses in their fields to an online class of about 25." Again I ask, does this sound familiar to those who are out in the field or have been examining the issue?

I don't ask these questions because I believe that the principal of the Georgia Virtual High School has it wrong. I ask these questions because I think that there is probably a wide variety of responses out there depending on the type of virtual high school, how long it has been in existance, the type of structure that is providing the financial and administrative support, etc.. So, for those out there who have been involved with or have been examining various virtual high schools, what is your experience with these notions?

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