A recent article from NPR's KQED interviewed individuals about online high school education and reported back with 5 findings that might surprise you given the following misconceptions about online education.
- Online programs reduce one-on-one attention from teachers.
Students at Florida'sVirtual School (FVS) report that teachers call them weekly to check up on their progress. They also feel that email, chatting, and texting give them a great deal of personalized interaction with their teachers. Indeed for shyer students, it may make it less intimidating for them to admit confusion.
- Online courses are not as rigorous as on-campus classes.
While some assessments have raised concern that online courses are less rigorous than on-campus classes, others have found that some students perform better in online programs. Arthur Vanderveen, of iZone in NYC has indicated that many of these concerns have little to do with online learning itself, but are the consequences of different institutions' choice of curriculum.
- Online learning only works for self-starting students.
Online education makes it easier for educators and students to create individualized learning programs. It also makes it easier for students to re-take classes they've had trouble with in the past, by focusing on the concepts that were most difficult the first-time around. A New York Times article noticed that students often do better with more personalized, online curricula.
- Online learning reduces student involvement in extracurricular activities.
Students with health problems, or extensive extracurricular obligations have greater flexibility to complete their studies remotely at a pace that suits their particular schedules.
- Students will not learn to cooperate unless it is in the classroom.
Students report that they frequently engage in study groups through online chat and phone conversations. They regularly complete group projects and even engage in extracurricular activities, such as the school newspaper, through the Internet.
Have any experience with online schools? Let us know what you think!