Thoughts from the CiTE Conference

4/9/07

I just got back to my office after being at the CiTE conference in Denver. It is the user's conference for eCollege. While most of the presentations are geared towards higher ed, I did get two big things from the conference:

  • Maestro--a student data management system designed specifically for online high schools. I got a demo of this system by their head programmer Beni and it is awesome. University of Miami Online High School basically paid for the development of this system. It completely interfaces with eCollege so we can enroll students in one system and they update eachother automatically. More on this in a separate post after we have a WebEx with these guys.
  • Vertical Staffing model from UMOHS--this model is vastly different from most online classrooms with a single instructor handling all portions of the course. In the vertical model three to four people are responsible to students for a particular class.
    An overall team leader assures the quality of the course and the department. The Lead Instructor is in charge of teaching the class, answering student questions, responding to student emails, posting discussions questions, etc... The Teaching Assistant is responsible for grading alone. All they do is grade assignments for several courses on a part time basis. Then there is a counselor who is in responsible for the student's overall academic experience, handling attendance concerns, transcripts, family issues, IEPs, etc... By having one person responsible for the teaching of the course and another responsible for the grading of the course, this allows both people to manage rolling or open enrollment with all students at different places. In the traditional format the rolling enrollment is the most challenging for the instructor to keep up with. It is difficult to add many more students without burning out the teachers. With the vertical model, adding more students increases the workload of one particular individual only slightly. With our current staff at WeAVE, we could easily implement this model. We have enough current staff, we would just be redistributing the workload. We would need to hire a counselor, but we were planning on that anyway. For any online schools who have rolling or open enrollment I highly suggest you look into this model.

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