The world on online learning can be daunting, and I have serious concerns about the quality of some of the educational experiences we have seen from some of the privately owned content providers. I think the quality in the field of online education in general will improve over time, but as companies seek profits in this sector, we need to be cautious about how we move forward with online learning.
Academic rigor, quality student-teacher interaction, and a challenging and nurturing learning environment are all hallmarks of an EA education, and that is why our partnership with the Global Online Academy (GOA) is a perfect fit. In this white paper, Online Independent Schools: Defining a New Generation of Excellence, Michael Nachbar, the Director of GOA and his colleague Brad Rathgeber discuss a new model for online learning, “one that is more reflective of independent schools.”
I like the idea that the classes are small and that they require high teacher-student and student-student interaction. Most importantly, I support the focus on high cognitive demand.
The mission of GOA is compelling:
The mission of the Global Online Academy is to replicate in online classrooms the intellectually rigorous programs and excellent teaching that are hallmarks of its member schools; to foster new and effective ways, through best practices in online education, for students to learn; and to promote students’ global awareness and understanding by creating truly diverse, worldwide, online schoolroom communities.
Several of our teachers were on a conference call with GOA talking with Michael Nachbar about GOA when he said, “Our courses are taught by the teacher sitting next to you.” His point was that the same quality you expect from your colleagues at Episcopal is what we expect at GOA. We began to picture teachers who were creative, inspiring, rigorous, meaningful, talented, and caring and what their classes would look like in an online format. Our excitement grew, and as we formally introduce online learning to our students, GOA seems like a great place to begin.