The Online Learning Environment and the Role of the Online Teacher

Many people assume that the online learning environment is relatively static, and courses from online high schools consist of little more than sitting in front of a computer screen and reading course material. However, this is a misconception – the world of online learning is far more dynamic and interactive than most people suspect. While a handful of programs might consist of little more than reading, a quality high school education online will involve the student on multiple levels.

Digital High School Offers Interaction

One of the most significant misconceptions about online high schools is that they involve virtually no interaction or communication. However, virtual high school programs actually offer a very high level of interaction between students and teachers. In fact, the learning management system that delivers online courses provides several key tools for communication, as well as tools for instruction and assessment. For instance, Red Comet is an accredited online high school that offers personal interaction and instruction between students and teachers, ensuring that all students receive the attention they require.

The Teacher’s Role

To some, it might seem that teachers involved in high school education online have very little to do with students on a personal basis. However, online teachers are just as important as their counterparts in the physical world are. The job consists of the same requirements – only the medium of communication has changed. Teachers are still responsible for guiding students through their studies, for assessing student comprehension and information retention, promoting students when they have completed their coursework and more. Some teachers even have a hand in developing the content for the courses they teach. Many teachers report that they are actually able to spend significantly more time with each student on a one-on-one basis.

Potential Instructional Materials

As mentioned, one of the misconceptions about virtual high school programs is that they consist mostly of reading and memorizing. That misconception can be easily disproved by a quick glance at coursework from the best online high schools. Instructional materials and coursework can include reading material, certainly, but it also includes video presentations, audio information, animated coursework, digitized textbooks and interactive quizzes designed to enhance a student’s capacity to retain information presented. This is far from a static, reading-only learning environment.

Testing and Assessment

Just like a traditional classroom, high school education online requires regular assessment of a student’s retention. This is done through quizzes, tests, interactive learning programs, collaborative study environments, discussions and many other methods. Both individual and group work are used by teachers to assess a student’s progress, as well. For instance, Red Comet is an accredited online high school that offers comprehensive testing, quizzes and other assessment tools to ensure that students retain the information necessary.

However, there are some differences here. Typically, course providers are not obligated to provide exit exams or standardized tests. Instead, it is the parents’ responsibility or the registered homeschool where the student is enrolled. The exception to this is in the case of fulltime online schools, which do provide standardized tests and exit exams for students.