Whenever the amount of acres dwarfs the student population, online learning makes sense. Such is a frequent case in many areas of the American Midwest, from where Spring Green, a 1,628 total population town, could not be more illustrative. Moodlerooms’ E-Learn Magazine profiles the River Valley School District, located in Sauk County’s Spring Green and comprising the Sauk, Iowa, Richland and Dane counties in the State of Wisconsin. River Valley is, at the same time, small in population, and geographically vast.
In these cases, online learning is essential to deliver critical skills, to keep in touch with learners, and to foster a sense of community. It is also the way to guarantee top talent to reach their sparse population.
Competitive, skilled professionals are not confined to the virtual middle and high school classrooms. Jason Hollenberger, one of the teachers, is also responsible for matching the District’s policies with the online offering. Even though the State of Wisconsin places a premium on standardized test education, Hollenberger has managed to offer advanced placement courses into the virtual, Moodlerooms-based platform.
For Hollenberger, advanced classes not only imply more difficult subjects, but higher levels of interaction. He has managed to overcome the pitfalls of online engagement by making an effort to make students submissions heard and properly responded. In his classes, he makes students keep journals, which he follows up devotedly. This has had a positive effect, Hollenberger claims, on the self-esteem and confidence of online students.
To scale up and provide an increasingly robust virtual solution, River Valley is partnering up with the Wisconsin eSchool Network. This will multiply the variety of subjects, allow for even more flexibility, and increase the District’s school competitiveness against the national level.