Successful Online Learning – Screening Students
For successful online learning students may need to learn a new set of skills including:
- Communicating effectively in writing.
- Enjoying learning independently.
- Finding challenge and becoming highly motivated in association with being in charge of one’s own learning.
- Demonstrating problem-solving skills and the ability to work through difficulties.
- Managing time well by prioritizing and establishing a personal schedule.
- Using a personal computer and the Internet to access information and to communicate.
Experience has shown that the following factors should be considered when screening students prior to registering in USDLC’s high school credit courses:
- Successful completion of required prerequisites.
- High level of maturity and motivation.
- Positive recommendations of teachers and counselors
- Strong results on local and state standardized tests, if applicable.
- Successful previous performance in content area courses.
USDLC encourages each school to give careful consideration to these factors to ensure a successful experience for each student enrolled. However, USDLC does not recommend any single factor to be used exclusively to screen students. USDLC asks for your assistance in identifying students which would benefit most from this unique opportunity.
Site Coordinator – Role and Responsibilities
In the registration process, USDLC asks that a site coordinator be identified. This person oversees all administrative functions of USDLC courses and programs at the site. This person may be a principal, administrative manager, librarian, or any other person designated to assume the following responsibilities.
- Review the USDLC web site.
- Establish and communicate operating procedures to school personnel.
- Inform students and staff of USDLC programming.
- Join USDLC’s Listserv for information updates by sending name and school name/address to [email protected].
Student Instruction Courses
- Communicate to students about USDLC policies and provide list of courses.
- Screen students for participation.
- Assure that students have a classroom period during the instruction day to attend to online course work.
- Register students for courses.
- Order textbooks/materials for students as required (see individual course descriptions for specific requirements).
- Assign and register facilitators/mentors for student courses.
- Coordinate with technical staff to make certain that online technical requirements for courses are in place.
Facilitator/Mentor – Role and Responsibilities
In the registration process, USDLC asks that a facilitator/mentor be identified by course. This person is responsible for monitoring and assisting in the administration of programs. Each site may assign as many facilitators as deemed necessary. The responsibilities may vary depending on the course. The district should follow its state guidelines when selecting a facilitator/mentor. In addition to those guidelines your state may have regarding the position, USDLC recommends the following criteria. The effective facilitator/mentor will:
- Show enthusiasm for new learning experiences.
- Exhibit a high degree of self-confidence.
- Have good communication skills.
- Be flexible.
- Be patient.
- Possess problem-solving abilities.
- Demonstrate a willingness to learn and to change.
The role of facilitator/mentor is a challenging and rewarding position that is critical to the success of any distance learning initiative.
- Keeping students on task.
- Monitoring student progress.
- Serving as liaison between students and course providers as well as students and online instructors.
- Serving as advocate for the online programming by assisting counselors to promote the program and explain the program to parents and/or teachers.
- Reporting grades.
Assessment of Student Progress
Assessment events are incorporated into the online instruction. Given the variety of courses, it is important to know that student evaluation varies, depending on the purpose of the course. The majority of the courses will use a percentage basis of possible points for any given event. This percentage needs to be applied to your school’s grading scale, as schools use different scales (an “A” may be 90%-100% , or 94%-100%, or 95%-97%, etc.) and various methods of providing grades (letter grades, +’s and -‘s, percentages, etc.).
Each USDLC online instructor will provide full explanation and training regarding grading standards and procedures to those enrolled. At all instructional levels, the USDLC teaching staff welcomes the opportunity to team with local teachers and administrators to make student assessment a meaningful part of the distance learning experience.
The majority of the 1 Unit Credit Courses follow a nine-week grading period as noted on the 2004-05 School Calendar. Half unit credit courses have varying schedules not detailed on the calendar because of the Flex 90 structure which offers semester courses with flexible beginning and ending dates.