When students are handed their schedules for the year, they feel like they’re holding a verdict in their hands. The perceived stakes mean that a schedule has to be built to withstand not only all the logistical demands we throw at it--classroom availability, crossover teachers, early dismissals--but also the emotional weight of each student’s hopes and plans for the year. When those competing sets of priorities collide, Academic Leaders brace for impact.
Because of the emotions that are wrapped up in student schedules, it’s especially important for schools to solve these problems quickly and effectively. At One Schoolhouse, our partnerships provide the flexibility and range of courses individual students need without compromising a school’s purpose-built schedule. The key to that flexibility is asynchronous learning.
In the early days of crisis distance learning, asynchronous coursework unfairly earned a bad reputation for being unengaging and impersonal. The key to unpacking that reputation is the context of “crisis”: anything that’s built quickly and under stress isn’t going to meet the standard of intentional and expert design--which is exactly what students and families expect from independent schools.
That’s why expert and intentional design is the hallmark of One Schoolhouse’s student courses. We begin by building a faculty comprised of experienced independent school teachers who are experts in their fields. (94% of them hold advanced degrees!) We’ve learned that great classroom teachers need additional competencies and skills to become extraordinary online instructors, so we train our teachers in building online connections with students, effective online communication, and technological acumen.
Asynchronous work allows students to have a personalized experience that aligns to their learning preferences. One student can watch a video to learn a new concept, while another reads a selection from a textbook. And asynchronous assignments don’t have to be self-paced or solitary. Shared weekly due dates ensure that although students complete assignments at the time that works for them, they’re mastering the same content that their classmates are learning. As a result, students have regular opportunities for collaboration and conversation, like writing skits to practice vocabulary and grammar in language courses, or collecting data for a social psychology experiment.
When schools use online asynchronous courses strategically, they’re not limited by classroom space, staffing, or singleton sections. It becomes possible for a student to take two courses that meet at the same time, and financially sustainable for a school to offer an advanced math course for just three students. When academic leaders can start the year by finding positive solutions to scheduling problems, they’re starting off with a win.
One Schoolhouse can help solve your scheduling or staffing problems this year. Call us at 202.618.3637 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)