One of my current job responsibilities (indeed, one of the more exciting hats I wear at the district) is to develop pure online courses. We define online courses at Oak Hills as typically asynchronous and completed outside of a brick and mortar classroom. Students may meet face to face occasionally with their teachers (the most common times being orientations and final assessments), but for the most part are responsible to complete the class on their own time.
We typically develop online courses three ways.
- Designation and Mapping: This is a course a developed in-house by our own teachers. My responsibility is to assist in the outlining of the course, the technical aspects of the LMS, and helping teachers in any way.
- Personal Development: I develop the course from scratch. This is done in areas that I have expertise (i.e. social sciences, Spanish, and computer science).
- Purchase and Customize: We also purchase courses from vendors and customize them to fit our district and student needs. Frankly, this can sometimes be almost as laborious as creating courses from scratch.
Online Courses Offered by Oak Hills
Oak Hills currently offers or will offer for the next year:
- Spanish 1 and 2
- Mandarin 1 and 2
- Online Health (all students take online health)
- Personal Finance
We are constantly exploring more options.
Personal Reflections & Observations
The biggest observation I communicate to students is this:
There is a direct correlation between time you put in an online class and the grade you get.
This might seem obvious, but in a brick and mortar class a student can show up but mentally check out. They can’t do that in an online environment. If a student doesn’t complete activities, they get logged out and that data is available to a teacher (and parent and student). I’m very clear with time expectations for an online course.
Online courses give students opportunity.They can supplement their schedule, get a head start on a world language, and work on their own time. It also transfers a considerable amount of ownership to the learner. Many students excel in this environment. In particular, we often see the quiet introvert interacting vigorously in online forums.