By Jasmine Hsu
The Carmel Clay Schools board of trustees on June 22 reviewed feedback from parents on the virtual learning process to finish out the 2019-20 school year.
More than 3,400 parents responded to an online survey about the issue. While most parents were satisfied with the accessibility of online materials, they felt unsatisfied with the amount of interaction and personal connection their child had with their teachers and fellow classmates. In fact, many parents indicated they prefer in-person learning, saying that their kids were missing out on the connections a traditional classroom brings. They also wanted to see more group work and one-on-one instruction with teachers.
A common concern from parents of high school students was difficulty aligning the time of in-person classes with the virtual learning process for synchronous learning. Parents also wanted to see more material from CCS teachers instead of online videos from other instructors not affiliated with the district.
With virtual learning an option in the fall with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, CCS is working to refine the online classroom experience.
“In response to this, we are working with all of our teachers and our administrators to make the (virtual) course design have common practices for K-12,” said Amy Dudley, CCS assistant supt. of curriculum, instruction and assessment. “Families can have the same expectation, whether you’re in kindergarten or 12th grade, as far as navigating the course content. One of the things we’re working on is optimizing the course design for that ease of navigation. We want to make sure that our students are only one or two clicks away from accessing their content.”
CCS adapted its Canvas platform, previously used primarily to store online resources, for virtual learning to finish out the 2019-20 school year. The survey showed some students and parents had trouble navigating the site. Dudley said teachers are being trained to use Canvas and its wide range of tools more effectively.
“We want to make sure our teachers know how to use those tools and really get the most benefit,” said Dudley. “As well as working with our teachers, we want to make sure that our students and our parents are poised to use Canvas, regardless of the delivery model. We are making sure that students will learn course navigation and how to easily navigate through Canvas whether they are in first grade or 12th grade.”