In a perfect world, a school schedule is built around the lofty ideals of a school’s mission, values, and pedagogy. If you’ve ever built a schedule, however, you know you’re working with a lot of rooted obstacles, like classroom space, lunch, part-time and crossover teachers. At One Schoolhouse, we’ve learned that many schools use supplemental online learning as a practical solution to address these challenges. At others, however, online learning is deeply connected to and in service of the school's values and strategic goals--just like the schedule should be.
If you're building a new schedule, there are ways that online learning can both reinforce what you value, and help you create options that work within your campus's constraints. Here are three ways we've seen supplemental online learning further the values that a school's schedule prioritizes.
A traditional schedule provides a clear and consistent pattern for learning.this benefits students by creating structure and order in their day. We understand the importance of consistency, especially in reducing students’ cognitive load. That’s why One Schoolhouse designed course templates in our LMS and created a learning cadence used in every week’s work. When wayfinding and expectations are clear and consistent, students get to focus their attention on learning and inquiry–which is exactly where we want it.
A rotating schedule prioritizes flexibility and balances student workload across the week. Those priorities are key in our course design, too. Every One Schoolhouse course releases a week’s worth of assignments at once, helping students to plan their week and balance their online coursework with their other classes and commitments. One of our school-wide competencies is to build academic maturity in our students. We view our course design as one way to encourage and support this goal. With each course release, students are able to understand the scope of their work for the week so they can plan out how best to complete it.
Block scheduling values in-depth learning that allows students to understand complex concepts and engage deeply in project work and research. To build engagement, our courses use pathway choice. This means that teachers offer the same content in multiple formats so students have agency in the learning process. For example, when students learn about Bacon’s Rebellion in U.S. History, they might have the choice of reading a chapter from a textbook, reading an academic article, or watching a section of a documentary. Each option covers the same content, and prepares the student for that week’s assignments or assessments.
So if you're considering moving to a new scheduling strategy, think of online learning as a tool that can reflect and reinforce your mission-aligned priorities. At One Schoolhouse, we believe in focusing not just on how online courses align with your schedule, but more importantly, on how they can enhance your students' learning process. We offer supplemental online courses because they help your school elevate and expand on the values that you’re placing at the heart of your schedule.
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Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)