We at the Ontario Online Schools Network know that ELearning is not for every student, and not every course can be delivered effectively online. Detractors of ELearning often point to the larger class sizes, the poor assessment practices and the detachment from education facilitators and peers, that students often feel, in online learning environments.
To mitigate these concerns, we decided to only offer a limited slate of senior high school courses, and cap class sizes significantly lower than the class size limits of public school board online courses.
We have also tried to mitigate the damage being done to students’ high school experience as a result of course cancellations by focusing on elective courses that students can no longer take in regular high school. These courses are often the high point of a student’s educational experience, as evidenced by the fact that students often choose to take them. In an Ideal world, these courses would be taken in traditional day school, but in this new reality, we will offer them online, and try to make the experience as rewarding for students as the traditional mode would have been.
As professionals, all our education facilitators adhere to the assessment, evaluation, and recording requirements found in Growing Success. In all courses, a student’s final grade will be the distillation of the education facilitator’s informed professional judgment. To come up with a mid-course and final grade, our education facilitators Triangulate Evidence of Student Learning through evaluations of the products students create the education facilitator’s observations of the students participation and contribution to class activities, well as evaluating the quality of education facilitator-student, and student- to student conversations. Collaboration is an essential 21st Century skill, and as such, Ontario Online School learning environments are designed to encourage student to work collaboratively, as they develop the skills articulated in the curriculum. Plainly put, success will be based less on what students know, and more on what students can do with what they know.
It is this Application based approach to education that explains why we use the phrase “education facilitator”, rather than “teacher”. We are preparing students for a future that does not exist yet. As such, the Teacher-As-Keeper-Of-Knowledge model of education is now inadequate. Instead, our educators will strike to teach students the necessary skills, as outlined in the subject curriculum documents, and then facilitate the discovery process, as students use those skills to demonstrate their learning through the solving of real-world problems.
We believe that we have successfully created “A Different Kind Of Online School”. We are sure you will agree.