Despite various problems caused by shrinking school district budgets, there’s one sign of hope and innovation the virtual classroom. Online learning is now being used in the majority of the country’s school districts and universities and is allowing administrators to offer crucial courses to their students despite less funding.
Shrinking school budgets have caused many districts to reduce staff sizes and cut their traditional course offerings. Both of these moves would have been detrimental to the learning of students in the districts were it not for the implementation of virtual teaching. Virtual teaching is meeting many of the needs in school districts by offering core classes that would not have been a possibility with traditional classroom learning.
Advanced courses are also on the rise again because of online learning options. Often, advanced courses only include a few students and are therefore unsustainable on shrinking budgets when offered in brick and mortar classrooms. However, because of online learning, students are again able to get a head start on their college courses by taking advanced virtual courses.
The needs of students with disabilities are now being better met by virtual classrooms. By using online learning, these students can obtain crucial life skills from home or in settings that are more accommodating to their needs. Even students who are facing school suspensions can remain caught up on the majority of their coursework with virtual courses.
Online learning is also changing the way teachers think about their jobs. A main complaint of instructors who teach in traditional classroom settings is they are overworked and underpaid. However, online teaching opportunities are changing this issue.
Now, instructors can literally be anywhere in the world while instructing their students. In most cases, all that is needed is a computer and an Internet connection. This change is reducing the stress felt by teachers and will hopefully be enough initiative to recruit more college students to choose teaching careers.
The College Scene
School districts aren’t the only institutions using virtual professors. In fact, the majority of colleges and universities now offer full online degrees for their students. In fact, online programs are the only way many non-traditional students have found the time to earn college degrees.
The college students that virtual learning has likely benefited the most are soldiers who are currently deployed. These young soldiers sacrificed the normal lifestyles that many people take for granted to serve their country. However, they no longer must give up as much by remaining on track with college degree programs, using virtual classes.
Many college classes now being offered through online courses and the options are expanding each year. From graphic design and writing classes to calculus and other math classes, the possibilities are nearly limitless.
As this educational technology expands, many more school districts and universities will likely begin implementing virtual classrooms into their curriculum. The newest generation entering the school scene has grown up with computers and should therefore be able to easily adapt to online learning.
Guest post by Stephen Cline, who has an MBA and has worked in the finance industry. You can follow him on Twitter @stephlines or check out his writing at http://www.economiccrisisblog.com/.