Online learning is challenging. Too often, I have seen high school students opt out of a face-to-face course to pursue the same course in an online environment. Online, module based courses are challenging, require determination, diligence, and self-motivation. In most circumstances, online course, at the highschool level, resemble a work at your own pace style of delivery similar to Bishop Carroll in Calgary, and St. Joseph’s in Edmonton. From their website, Bishop Carroll argues “what sets Bishop Carroll apart from other high schools is our unique, personalized, self-directed learning environment, which puts students in the driver’s seat of their educational journey. Here, students have the freedom to customize a learning program they feel is best suited for their unique goals, abilities and interests. With the guidance of a Teacher Advisor and their parents, the student will choose the program and courses they want to follow.” Some students don’t succeed at Carroll or go there in the hopes that escaping a demanding teacher just fits their learning style.
Switching from online learning from face-to-face, when faced with challenges in f2f, is HARD. From my experience, working with high school students, learning gets more challenging when a student switches from structure to unstructured (time wise that is).
Even in my teaching and learning online, I am left asking questions:
- How could this be richer face to face? Would it be a better course face to face?
- Is an online course better than no course at all?
- If we compared learners taking the same course (f2f and online), how would the results compare? Is online just a “lite” version of what could be?