Reply – Re: Topic #1: Introduction to the Online Learner
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Re: Topic #1: Introduction to the Online Learner
— by William Eggers William Eggers
         Currently, I teach at Des Moines East High School in the Flex Academy. In years past, it has been called Academic Support Lab or Credit Recovery Lab although the target population hasn't really changed. Funded by dropout prevention, its a non traditional environment for re-engaged or a student who is at at high-risk of dropping out. For many students the material is delivered online through an LMS. Although there is a push to go to a blended classroom it has proven difficult for me as I may have 20 students at one time, in 4 different subject areas, and in different areas of a subject area. For an example one student may be in US History Semester 2 learning about the great depression, one student is working on WW II, and another studying the social change of the 1960's. Considering that, I may have to prep for each student during a block.
          At East, like almost any other school students face day to day challenges that I believe many did not face just a few generations ago. Some students struggle with having jobs, taking care of other family members, or their own children. In these cases where schedules may change in on a moments notice, online learning may be of some benefit.
          There are also some challenges that face online learners one of those being a lack of technology capable of delivering online content. This is most evident in cases where there is a socioeconomic concern for the student. Students may not have an internet connection or a cell phone that many of us take for granted. Another challenge is the motivation that one needs to complete an online or at your own pace class, if a student is not motivated the class will often become an after thought if the student has the opportunity to do something else.
           The most important thing, obviously is motivation as discussed above. That is the challenge for teachers both in the regular and online classroom.    
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