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Virtual Classrooms: How do they work?

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With the invention and implementation of the internet, more and more companies are going digital.  So why not schools, colleges and universities?  An online system would have the same structure as a school, with each student needing to log in –with, or without facial recognition- before they can start.  Textbooks get printed from a computer don’t they?  So why not save the paper and study online.  Of course, just having the books online won’t be enough, sometimes a human touch is needed, so we have online tutors and videos to aid us.  This article will be looking at these three points then.  Namely, the system, the coursework, and the tutors.

The System

A school is only as strong as its’ backbone.  If a strong structured system doesn’t exist, the school will most likely fall apart at the seams.  This very same principle applies to virtual classrooms.  With websites online such as “Khan Academy”, there’s a strict system in place to make sure that everyone knows what they’re learning, and what their progress is.  As with most schools, the first thing that needs to be checked off is attendance.  This is done by a user logging in to the site or system.  Their login time and date is registered on the mainframe for future reference.  Next up, is their coursework.  Some systems have a “pages per day” quota system for students, whereas others are more lenient.  However, where they do not differ, is the recording of work done.  All good systems have a way of tracking the progress of each and every student, no matter how many subjects they are studying.

Coursework?  Of course!

However, a good online classroom needs to have good coursework.  You can’t have a website hosting unverified information can you?  If that was the case, you might be told that the Pythagorean Theorem is “A=B+C2” (instead of “C2 = A2 + B2”, which is the correct formula).  So, naturally a good online classroom has to have a page dedicated to their information verification, such as who verified it, how, and when.  After that, the next important detail is the levels of teaching.  You can have a site –such as Khan Academy- that only has one level –or grade- of subject matter.  Sites like this aren’t as beneficial for younger students that aren’t capable of learning more difficult topics and definitions.  What you need is a classroom that has a few different grades of learning.  One for primary schoolers, one for high schoolers, and one for school leavers.  A website built along these lines is a powerful website indeed.

Tutors, teach me!

The third part of a virtual classroom, which is a vital part, is tutors.  Not just the “real life” kind, but ones in videos too!  Written and typed coursework is only good if you can understand and retain it.  However, not everyone learns best this way.  Others learn better through spoken teaching.  So if the classroom has videos for the student to watch, then that website or program gets bonus points!  That being said, videos aren’t able to answer all questions.  Sometimes you will get a student with an obscure question, or just not being able to understand a concept properly, and when this happens, what can they do?  Well this is where actual tutors come in to play.  Being able to voice chat, or video chat with a tutor is hugely beneficial to a student.  They can ask questions, and keep asking until they understand a concept.  Why is this better than a video?  Because everyone is different, and so a generic “lesson”, -although suitable for most- will not be able to cover every single detail in a subject or a topic.

The final word

So in conclusion, the parts of a virtual classroom that you need to look out for when choosing one, are as follows:  They need to have a solid mainframe, with a method of recording logins and logouts, as well as a way of recording the progress of a student through their coursework.  It needs to have verified sources and lessons.  And lastly, it should –although not needed- have online videos explaining the coursework, and –of possible- access to online tutors for the students.

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