Severn Teaches Students Across the Country Through the Malone Schools Online Network
As 2014 marked the year that Severn joined the Malone Schools Online Network for our student participants, 2016 marks the year that we add our own teachers’ expertise to the network. We now offer classes for students at member schools across the country. This year Upper School teachers Ms. Julia Maxey and Mr. Julien Meyer rose to the online teaching challenge with great success and continued confidence in the value of the program.
Ms. Maxey and Mr. Meyer each faced separated challenges in adapting their courses for the online space, but for both the need for efficiency reigned supreme. With only two hours of face time each week with their students, they had to take a close look at their curriculum and determine how to use those two hours most efficiently.
Mr. Meyer utilized screencasts to maximize on and offline class time for his Financial Algebra course,
“With the technology that we have today, I found that I could do most of my instruction offline if needed. I taught myself years ago how to do screencasts and already use them with my classes at Severn. I created about 30 screencasts for this class as a reference. That way, I know that if we don’t go over something in class, I have the screencast to back it up.”
Ms. Maxey was strategic about class time in Creative Writing in the Digital Age,
“Ninety percent of a creative writing class is workshopping where students give each other feedback, so at first I wasn’t sure how to manage that with only two hours together. I found that it worked best when we used our synchronous time for discussion leaving students to complete the reading and writing assignments offline. There was very little time for lecture, but they were able to do all the necessary reading on their own. So our classes were almost all discussion, it worked out really well.”
Building Community Across Time Zones
Another challenge Ms. Maxey and Mr. Meyer expected was difficulty building community without the option to see each other day to day. To address this, they blocked out necessary time at the beginning of their courses to get to know their students and focused on discussion during class time. They found that the online format lended itself to a different type of familiarity than students get on brick and mortar campuses. With everyone front and center on the screen, there was no way for students to fade into the background. Everyone in class was engaged and eager to participate.
Severn’s Enthusiasm Reaches Beyond Our Campus
Our faculty members take a dynamic, innovative approach to teaching. They continually search for new and better ways to engage and support our students — to help them reach above their own expectations. For Ms. Maxey and Mr. Meyer, sharing their expertise through online classes for MSON was a natural extension of both their passion for innovation in education and desire to connect with students from different backgrounds. Although the format of the MSON classes is quite different from their brick and mortar counterparts, Mr. Meyer and Ms. Maxey’s commitment to excellence and enthusiastic approach to teaching has proven to be the the same. Both are looking forward to teaching MSON classes again next year with Upper School art teacher Ms. Mary Ellen Carsley joining their ranks. Click here for a look at the 2016-2017 MSON course offerings.
Ms. Maxey says it best,
“This is a phenomenal opportunity for our school. Both for us to offer classes and for our kids to take them. I think this is what the future will look like and this experience prepares us for that.”
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