Monthly Archives: October 2013

Chicago-area Catholic schools offer online classes – Chicago Sun-Times

BY FRANCINE KNOWLES
Religion Reporter

October 22, 2013 1:50PM




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Updated: October 22, 2013 5:57PM

The Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools is going digital.

As of Tuesday, the nation’s largest private school system is offering online classes to middle and high school students through its new Virtual Academy as a complement to existing classes taught at its schools, the institution announced.

The move could one day pave the way for the school system to offer online diplomas, according to Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, superintendent of the school system.

The new online curriculum covers all core middle school and high school subjects, including math, science, social studies and language arts. Students also will be able to choose from 45 elective courses, including computer programming, six languages, music and art appreciation.

Middle School tuition is $289 for each half-year course covering 18 weeks, and $399 for each full-year course covering 36 weeks.

At the high school level, tuition for a full-year course ranges from roughly $149 to $749 depending on the number and types of courses.

Tuition at the Archdiocese’s physical schools ranges from about $2,800 at the smallest elementary and middle schools to $18,000 at a high school for enrollment in six classes with extracurricular activities.

“We are very excited to launch our Virtual Academy,” said Sister McCaughey. “We believe this is an opportunity to serve students, to be able to differentiate instruction. It’s another tool.”

Students could ultimately have the option of graduating from an online archdiocesan school, although its premature to predict that with certainty, she suggested.

“We are looking at that,” she said. “I think we want to get our feet wet, make sure that everything works, that [the courses] have the rigor that we need and that there’s great school communication. But I think down the line we can take a look to see if we want to be a literal virtual academy, to really engage home schoolers or others who want to get that kind of diploma online.”

The Virtual Academy unveiled Tuesday is designed for accelerated learners, students who wish to take additional advanced placement courses, those who want to explore enrichment options and students who are training for competition or careers, including athletes and musicians. It also targets students who are unable to attend a traditional school due to travel, family situations, and illness; need more time than the standard classroom time to master concepts; and those who have learning challenges, the school system said.

Earlier this month, the city of Chicago announced it will provide free online tutoring seven days a week through the Chicago Public Library system for first-graders through high school seniors.

The Archdiocese of Chicago school system serves 84,000 students in 244 schools in Cook and Lake counties.

Email: Fknowles@suntimes.com

Twitter: @KnowlesFran

UGA to offer new online classes next summer – Red and Black

Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 11:00 am
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Updated: 12:59 pm, Thu Oct 17, 2013.

UGA to offer new online classes next summer

Mariana Viera
@mariana_viera1

RedAndBlack.com

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0 comments

The University of Georgia Office of Online Learning is developing new courses for summer 2014.


The 20 new courses will be a part of the OOL’s UGAonline Learning Fellows Program, which launched last year with 36 courses and 38 faculty members.

“[The Learning Fellows Program] is an incentive model to give some incentive for faculty to develop online courses to help meet the needs for increased enrollments in summer offerings and strategically targeted courses that are either high enrolling, bottle-neck courses or have a high demand,” said Keith Bailey, the director of the OOL.

Nancy Byron, the marketing manager of the OOL, said the office tries to offer classes to fulfill core requirements, like the walking class offered online. It fulfills the one-credit out of PE that every UGA student needs to graduate.

Developing and running quality online courses is expensive, but Bailey said there is a portion of the OOL budget reserved for developing the courses.

“I have heard ranged of around $40,000 to $45,000 to develop a course,” Bailey said. “I can’t say that that was what we have spent here, but if we’re looking at across the nation, those are some of the numbers that you hear. It’s about something like that.”

He said the cost covers everything from videography and graphic design to payment for the faculty.

Bailey said the process for developing online courses is going to be different this year. Last year, the faculty, which is comprised of UGA professors, had a semester to develop their courses and worked individually with an instructional designer who helped them develop a quality online course. This year, professors will have a year to develop their course and will meet in groups of five or six with one instructional designer.

Yuha Jung, a visiting assistant professor at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, developed an online version of “Art Appreciation” and taught the class last summer. This year she is in the process of developing an online version of “Cultural Diversity in American Art” to be taught next summer. Jung said developing a course online is time consuming and having a year to work on and organize the class is much less stressful.

“I’ve taught online courses before, so I knew what was expected and how to make online learning more active because you can be very passive,” Jung said. “But I made it explicitly rigorous and interactive, so I put a lot of group projects and all of that. So it was challenging for me to put all of that because it’s very time consuming. In online teaching, you have to have everything in advance. In a face to face setting you have more flexibility to change things, but in an online setting you can’t do that. So that was challenging to do it in one semester..”

Deanna Cozart, a part-time assistant professor at the College of Education, developed a course last spring and taught it over the summer. She said it was important that students left the course feeling like they had actually learned something and to break the stereotype of the easy and passive online course. Jung, Cozart and Bailey said it was important for an online course to not lose the quality and difficulty of a face-to-ace course.

Bailey said about 74 percent of students who took the courses rated them as being “very good” to “excellent” and 88 percent agreed the courses challenged them to think and learn. He said he sees that as being a huge success in creating online courses that are equally as challenging as face to face courses.

“These numbers would suggest an equal learning environment for [students],” Bailey said. “They were very satisfied with that.”

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Thursday, October 17, 2013 11:00 am.

Updated: 12:59 pm.


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