Maryland’s Baltimore County Public Schools System handles 111,000 students across 174 schools, centers and programs, making it the USA’s 25th largest, as of 2013. When a Moodlerooms-based implementation of a digital learning solution was decided, it was not completely new for them. About five years ago, phone conference calls allowed students to listen to a class and receive assignments, a pioneering practice in Baltimore County.
When it made sense to make the jump to Moodlerooms, the County carefully considered how to maintain benefits in terms of coverage and adaptability for the diverse needs of the student population. A profile of E-Learning Supervisor Jim Fazzino at Moodlerooms’ E-Learn Magazine features the road taken.
The System’s central office, where Fazzino works, handles the digital offering which is available to students from all schools. This enables anyone looking for extra credit or advanced placement classes, for example, to get them online. Fazzino keeps close contact with school leaders to make sure the offer stays relevant and timely. Elearning at Baltimore works all year long for students who want some extra classes during school calendar recess.
Learners with difficulties getting to school; Students wanting or needing to graduate early; Older people or workers who need flexible schedules. These cases and more are covered by Fazzino’s system, who sees “value in providing students non-stop access to education.”
Despite the prominence of the digital realm, the role of teachers remains critical. School teachers schedule regular live webinars and always respond to any student’s asynchronous request. Furthermore, Fazzino works with a centralized teaching staff working online full-time, and with many of the system’s teachers, who get an extra income from working online on afternoons and weekends.
Baltimore and Fazzino deserve some credit and scrutiny, to identify and promote institutionalized blended learning practices.