The Leadership Alliance members focus on specific projects throughout the year, exploring how to leverage the efforts of the programs in some of the following areas:
Blended learning district partner consulting
VLLA members have expanded their blended learning services to districts to go beyond just courses and LMS.
- The North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) Occupational Course of Study (OCS) program is a collaborative effort between the NCVPS online teacher and the face-to-face OCS teacher on the school campus. NCVPS OCS courses require a co-teaching experience where the face-to- face teacher is driving the instructional decisions while working daily with the online teacher to best use the online content provided by NCVPS. The NCVPS online teacher helps the classroom teacher individualize and differentiate instruction for each student, while the teacher delivers real-time instruction. The classroom teacher uses the online content, her/his own resources, and collaborates with the online teacher to determine the best way to teach the content to the student. The online OCS teacher is available to the student outside of campus time if needed, although most contact is scheduled through the classroom teacher who is present during the student interaction. OCS course enrollments have grown from 1,000 during the program’s first semester (2010) to over 18,189 by Spring 2016. Learn more here.
- Michigan Virtual offers blended learning training to schools as a combination of resources, products and services to aid them in providing personalized learning options to their students to support improved student achievement.
- In addition to online courses and access to a blended learning LMS, Idaho Digital Learning is providing districts with digital learning portals, a customized interaction for each school that encourages districts to view the organization as more than just individual courses and more as a driver of all digital learning in their school. Portals offer custom links, single sign-on, custom course catalogs, and simple access to tools and course content.
- Virtual Arkansas makes many of its online courses available for schools to use in the classroom in a hosted LMS at no cost. It also has a six-person “Team Digital” field staff that consults with districts to plan and implement blended learning. Team Digital members also conduct much of the face-to-face teacher training and other campus functions for Virtual Arkansas.
- The Franchise Program, offered by Virtual South Carolina allows schools to expand their online course curriculum to address the unique challenges of their district using the local district’s teachers. VirtualSC will provide the technology, curriculum, and training to help schools start their own online program. Learn more here.
Online college and career opportunities
Most of the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance members offer a range of opportunities targeting college and career readiness.
- MTDA has launched EdReady Montana, an online college and career readiness program that assesses student skills in mathematics and provides personalized intervention assistance to students as they prepare for commonly used placement exams. This is an online program for all students in Montana from grades 7-12 and higher education who want to brush up on their general math skills, become better prepared for college math or practice math skills needed for their desired career path. The primary use cases to date involve (1) schools, college orientation or educational support programs using EdReady Montana to recover or brush up on math skills before enrolling in a class or taking a placement test and (2) teachers using the program to directly support students in their classroom by providing a focused scope of study and specific set of curricular topics for them to study. EdReady is provided by MTDA to all Montana students through a gift from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.
- Idaho Digital Learning’s iPATH program is a statewide early college high school model that provides all of the coursework required to earn college credit, industry certification or even an associates degree while still enrolled in high school. Through a combination of courses offered through Idaho Digital Learning and through our partner colleges you can graduate with a diploma from your own high school and with a certification or an associates degree from our partner institutions. Idaho Digital Learning is also implementing an online college and career readiness program that assesses student skills in mathematics.
- Virtual Arkansas offers a significant number of online Career Technical Education (CTE) courses, which make up about 4% of course enrollment in state virtual schools. CTE requires a campus-based lab with a mentor/facilitator for these classes because of the hands-on requirements, and all courses must be approved by the state Department of Workforce Development. The program offers dual or concurrent enrollment in partnership with two Arkansas state universities with about 2,372 course enrollments in FY 2015–16.
Ensuring online course quality
Leadership Alliance members have formed a Quality Matters approach to course design and instruction.
- Illinois Virtual School has embarked on a multi-year Online Course Improvement Process. The framework being used for course design is the Quality Matters K-12 Secondary Rubric. Quality Matters (QM) is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online courses and support continuous improvement.
- Indiana Online Academy’s (IOA) Course Developer Cohort is a group of seven educators tasked with developing ten, full-year courses for IOA. IOA has developed the Course Developer course, which is completed as the educators move through the four-part development process.
- Georgia Virtual School makes its original course content available as open educational resources; about 70 courses, including several for Advanced Placement. A team of course development specialists work with subject matter experts in each respective area to design a course through a nine-month process. The courses are bound by a creative commons attribution, non-commercial, share-alike license.