It’s a new year and CA BOCES’ is releasing its new online course catalog for electives and core courses for the Spring 2019 semester, bringing updated information and an easy guide to signing your students up for online courses.
The online department has been growing and perfecting its offerings for over a decade. Through that process, the distance learning team has searched for the best possible classes to offer students residing throughout Allegany and Cattaraugus counties. The team is constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to make sure that students in this region can compete with college-ready students across the nation, including having the technological skills and online interactions necessary to compete in today’s world.
Literacy is an invaluable tool, and digital literacies are a vital part of that. Educators are responsible for teaching this aspect of education as much as any other both ethically and as emphasized through the ESSA guidelines and funding opportunities for school districts. According to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, “Technology can be a powerful tool for transforming learning” and “can help […] reinvent our approaches to learning and collaboration, shrink long-standing equity and accessibility gaps, and adapt learning experiences to meet the needs of all learners.” Accordingly, students who have opportunities in online education learn how to participate in discussion forums, online collaboration, and digital assignment submission. Further, students receive feedback in a digital format (video responses, interactive comments, and email to name a few), develop self-advocacy skills, and experience giving online presentations and conducting online research. Through all these experiences, they become adept and fluent contributors and collaborators in a digital learning environment.
Looking into our students’ futures, online courses are part of most college and university programs. As educators, we have an obligation to make sure that students are ready to navigate all types of course content and structures, learn to communicate in a fully digital realm, and have a firm grasp of online etiquette in order to be prepared for their future college classes in an ever-expanding digital world. Offering online classes to our students in high school, means that they will have a guided experience with a mentor, have the flexibility to develop their own online learning style, and have the safety of someone to assist if the need arises, unlike in many college environments where students are on their own to figure out the details AND to succeed in an online environment with often costly outcomes if they are unsuccessful.
Knowledge gained in online classes is essential both from the experience of learning in an online environment and from the strategies acquired to learn in a different. These skillsets are broad and range from practicing collaboration needed work with a team in most occupational environments to knowing online platforms enough to attend Harvard’s next online business course. Students will be ready to compete for college acceptance letters and job markets because they have had a chance to experience online learning in a high school setting.
For more information about online learning, video conference courses, or credit recovery options, please contact Distance Learning at 716-376-8270.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
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