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Jun 27, 2015

Behind the Scenes: Virtual Coursework

I will be taking a new position for the fall in my district, and I'm very curious how it will work out.  The position is Teacher on Assignment for the Instructional Technology Department.  Specifically I will be teaching virtual classes. Those classes fall at two ends of the spectrum. I will be teaching a virtual AP Environmental Science course, and virtual online credit recovery science classes, for students who have previously failed.

I will be split between different schools, so I will spend a day or 2 per week in each school, meeting with students.  The rest of my student contact, and their work, will be virtual via phone, email, and maybe even Skype. 

I am excited about the change.  From what I have heard it is much lower stress, and I'm ready for a change.  It is a one year position, so after a year I can go back to my current position.

However, it is upending most of what I know about teaching.

"Students working on class assignment in computer lab" by Michael Surran - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Students_working_on_class_assignment_in_computer_lab.jpg#/media/File:Students_working_on_class_assignment_in_computer_lab.jpg
I went to training yesterday and it was about how to use the online LMS (learning management system).  I am having trouble picturing starting the year NOT setting up a classroom.  I will be doing minimal lesson planning because we have purchased a curriculum that I can adapt and modify, but not extremely.  I am working Monday on curriculum work so we will see how that goes.   The AP class is supposed to be "blended" or "teacher facilitated" whereas the credit recovery courses are supposed to be largely independent.

It has been described to me that this position is more like tutoring where individual students get stuck, or building relationships with individuals and small groups.  I think that might be a positive, but its so different!

If any of you have experience on either the student or teacher side of this please let me know.

I'm really looking forward to this new experience, but it seems like a lot of unknowns as well!


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