THE POWER OF ONLINE LEARNING

Last week, I delivered two workshops; same content, materials, and chance for questions and answers. First event: 15 people showed up. Second event: 150 people attended and many more will access via archive. What was different? I presented the second workshop from my office online via the Internet to people all over the US.

Distance learning is not new. In the 1700s, students in remote areas could learn via weekly lessons mailed to their home. As the postal service expanded, correspondence programs enabled students and teachers to regularly communicate with one another and sending materials back and forth.

Today, schools like Capella University and the University of Phoenix offer online degree programs. Even at traditional universities, online classes are a common component of most majors. Online classes are delivered via the Internet with minimal or no direct contact between the student and professors. Many include discussion forums and online team projects. Over 90% of US colleges and universities offer online coursework. Chances are, most students will take an online class in college.

Can students with learning disabilities succeed in online classes? Of course they can! To be successful, online students need to complete their assignments on time and regularly check in with their professor and fellow students via chats and group discussions. Sometimes, online classes provide a more positive learning experience than in-person learning. Online students are better able to focus on the content of the class, less likely to get lost during off-topic discussions and don’t have to worry about being distracted by
disruptive students.

To help your child get familiar with this technology before college, consider having them take an online class for a favorite subject over the summer. Check out an online high school or your local community college for course listings. Good luck!

Submitted by Janet Thibeau, Principal of Barlow Thibeau Associates: Coaching, Advocacy, and Meditation

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