Two basic types of e-learning are commonly compared, asynchronous and synchronous.
Synchronous type classes aren’t dissimilar to traditional classes in that the students and teacher are all assembled together in a virtual “class”. Using media such as videoconferencing, webinars and chat, the “class” is scheduled and all participants arrive at the appointed time for the lesson. Communication is immediate and students feel less isolated with the ability to participate in discussions with both the teacher and other enrolled students. Synchronous learning fosters more social support and increases motivation amongst learners, because there is a limited amount of time to complete the lesson.
Asynchronous type classes are the opposite of synchronous classes. The students and teachers are not assembled at a specific time, but rather communicate through other mediums, such as e-mail and discussion boards to support the learners when participants cannot be online at the same time. These types of lessons are helpful because of their convenience and flexibility in that a learner can participate in the class even if he has other commitments to attend to. These are more self-paced in nature since immediate responses aren’t necessary in communications. Asynchronous e-learning makes it possible for learners to log on to an e-learning environment at any time and download documents or send messages to teachers or peers.
Synchronous Classes at Wapaskwa Virtual Collegiate
Our recommended method of learning is through synchronous real time instruction between students and certified teachers. Wapaskwa Virtual Collegiate follows a semesterized school year, with four 70 minute periods per day.
These synchronous classes deliver online course material to students during a specific time of the school day. Students begin by logging into their “virtual learning environment” where they have the ability to speak or text chat live with the teacher and peers in their online room. Teachers and students can write on the shared interactive whiteboard or raise their hand when they wish to speak with the teacher.
Live sessions are recorded and stored in the archives so that students may view or listen to them at a later date, in the event that they miss a class or require re-teaching. Our teachers will always strive to adapt their teaching practices to accommodate the different individual learning styles.
Our outstanding quality of teaching, current technology practices and dedication to learning will allow for each student to get the best education possible. As a student in a synchronous e-learning environment, there are two components for you to master:
Learning Management System (LMS)
This component is best thought of as your school building. It houses your course pages, assignments, email, grade book, drop boxes (for handing in assignments), lesson quizzes, message board and electronic storage (locker).
Once you are logged into your Desire2Learn account, students link out into the Elluminate Live! This is your virtual classroom where you will meet, in real time, with your teacher and other classmates.
- Benefits of Synchronous e-Learning
- Increased motivation
- Significant student success
- Regular student – teacher interaction
- Audio communication
- Virtual Whiteboard Instruction
- Real-time feedback
- Make friends with other students from different communities
- Improved course completions
- Greater preparedness for post-secondary
Asynchronous Learning at Wapaskwa Virtual Collegiate
This fall, WVC will pilot an asynchronous model called our “flex” option with a limited number of courses. This option allows students to have greater flexibility in choosing when they log in during the school day to complete the course material. This new “flex” option allows for greater flexibility and permits students to work within a schedule that matches their community school. Students should be prepared to follow WVC’s recommended pace charts in order to achieve course credit. Pace charts are available for varying school calendar options including: Quarter system (Copernican or Quad), Trimester system, Semester system and full year options.
Students who enrol in “flex” option courses are still required to attend the Elluminate Live virtual classroom for check-in sessions with their instructor. These check-in sessions are of a shorter duration and will be scheduled three times per week to allow for students to clarify any learning outcomes they are having trouble with. By checking in on a regular basis, it allows the teacher to ensure that students are keeping pace with the assignments in order to complete course in the recommended time. In the event that students do not complete the course in their initial slot, they will have the option of extending the course into the following block.
Courses designated as “flex” option courses require the students to master both the Desire 2 Learn and Elluminate Live components.
When registering, be sure to notice if the “flex” option is available for your course.
Benefits of Asynchronous e-Learning
- Extreme scheduling flexibility
- Allows students to work at an individual pace
- Students can work anytime, anywhere
- Discussion board is content-related
- Greater preparedness for post-secondary