- Who is BLDS for?
- You are a teacher of any subject, at any grade level, interested in learning from others, following current thinking about blended learning and technology, and experimenting with new formats and endless possibilities for professional learning.
- You have already experimented with technology in your classroom, but you’re ready to do more.
- You have made designing and testing new ideas in your classroom a priority.
- You experiment, you thrive on frequent and substantive feedback, and you believe in close collaboration.
- You seek new challenges, are creative and nimble in the face of obstacles, and embrace the exciting messiness of putting new ideas into action.
- You want to be part of a global community of educators.
- Why did GOA create BLDS?
GOA has worked with more than 3,000 students in our small, interactive courses. They’ve shown us the potential of blended and online learning: students learn best and are most engaged when they can leverage technology to create work that is relevant, to build meaningful relationships, and to learn independently. Today, students have access to tools that could make them meaningful collaborators in the learning process, but they need guidance and support in how to leverage technology for deep, sustained learning.
GOA has developed strategies for learning design that, when used in concert, create environments where students become more active, versatile, and engaged learners. BLDS brings the best of our teacher training to educators from around the world in a format that represents what we know about online learning: that it works best when a community of learners tackles relevant issues together.
- How does a BLDS session work?
The goal of a BLDS session is to learn and implement GOA’s Catalyst Card strategies through hands-on work. These strategies are at the core of effective blended learning design, and they can be mixed and matched depending on students’ needs and learning goals.
Each BLDS session is 11 weeks long and led by a GOA coach, an expert in blended learning. The first week is an intensive orientation to blended learning, the Catalyst Cards, and the BLDS community, which includes getting to know your coach and colleagues as well as how to navigate our online learning environment. A critical component of this opening week is a goal-setting session with your coach, who will help focus your work for the session.
Following the orientation, you’ll select from our list of six design challenges for your first project. Each challenge asks you to mix and match GOA’s Catalyst Card strategies in designing a learning experience for students. You even have the option to design your own challenge! You can complete as many or as few challenges as you like during a BLDS session: the goal is for you to work at the pace that suits your learning and classroom needs best. Successful application of the strategies will be recognized with digital badges and a place in GOA’s BLDS Gallery.
As you tackle each challenge, the BLDS community is there to support you. We’ve created a Slack community for easy access to your coach, your BLDS cohort, and the entire BLDS community. You will also participate in biweekly video chats with your BLDS colleagues to share your designs, discuss your ideas, and share resources.
- What is a design challenge?
We’ve identified six challenges confronting educators in a modern learning landscape. As a BLDS participant, you’ll select the challenges most relevant to your work and goals. GOA has curated strategies and resources to support you, and your work will be to design a learning experience for your students that tackles that challenge head on.
- Going Global: How might students leverage online learning spaces to connect to people, resources, and events beyond the boundaries of your classroom?
- Personalizing Learning: How might online learning spaces help students understand, reflect on, and build upon their own learning?
- Reimagining Discussion: How might you use online learning spaces to redefine when, where, and how students have meaningful human interactions?
- Supporting Inquiry: How might students use online learning spaces to become investigators who find and create their own meaning?
- Understanding the Learner Experience: How might you present content so students can better navigate learning experiences on their own?
- Design Your Own Challenge: Mix and match our lists of tools and modern learning skills to design your own BLDS challenge!
- How does BLDS Badging work?
We issue digital badges for each challenge you successfully complete. A badge is a demonstration of understanding, and our digital badges are easy to share with your school or on your social media profiles. In addition, collecting badges helps you track your progress over time: you and your BLDS Coach can see which challenges you’ve mastered and which new ones you might work on. GOA offers Open Badges via Badgr for each of our six challenges. After planning, implementing, and reflecting on your design, you’ll submit a completed Design Brief for feedback and recognition from your coach.
- What is the BLDS curriculum like?
The opening orientation is intensive: it will span five days of mostly asynchronous learning plus a synchronous session with your coach. It will require a minimum of five hours of work. You’ll interact with and discuss content related to effective blended learning and instructional design, you’ll meet 1-1 with your coach for goal-setting, and you’ll acclimate to the online learning environment.
Following the Orientation, plan on spending 2-4 hours a week working on your BLDS projects and participating in BLDS community activities. You’ll have six BLDS design challenges to choose from (including the option to design your own). Each challenge includes a playlist of resources to inspire your planning as well as access to GOA’s Blended Learning Resource Library, an online compendium of examples of effective learning design. For each challenge you take on, you’ll be asked to complete a Design Brief, where you’ll mix and match our strategies and you’ll document your Vision (planning), Action (implementation), and Reflection (identification of next steps). At any point, you can submit your brief to your coach and BLDS colleagues for feedback and discussion.
Once you complete a brief, you can submit it for badges and a place in our BLDS gallery, which are awarded for successful application of Catalyst Card Strategies. Over the course of a BLDS session, you can complete as many or as few challenges as you like.
- If I’ve already taken a GOA professional learning course, can I take this?
Yes! Professional learning should be ongoing and relevant. BLDS can accommodate experienced blended learning designers, and we encourage participants that have taken previous courses with GOA (such as the Online Learning Environments (OLE) series) to join BLDS. BLDS will provide you a more in-depth and personalized approach to blended learning strategies with the help of a supportive coach. And, with the creation of a professional learning network, you will be linked into a collaborative bank of resources and colleagues.
- Can my school sign up as a group?
Absolutely! Teams of teachers from the same school learning together can have an amplified impact on their own learning and that of their students. We think BLDS is a perfect fit for them. You have the opportunity to collaborate not only with your colleagues in the online environment, but also develop on-campus connections that support your work.
BLDS Teams: If your school registers a team of ten or more, we can create a BLDS experience just for your group. You’ll be assigned your own GOA coach, who will tailor the program to the team’s needs and experience. That coach will also provide feedback and guidance, as well as additional activities and learning opportunities for the team to reflect on, share, and engage with. BLDS Teams will meet in person on a biweekly basis; the team’s coach will join via video chat. For an additional fee, BLDS Teams can bring their BLDS coach to campus for in-person work. School leaders should contact GOA at firstname.lastname@example.org about creating a BLDS Team.
- This feels like a lot, what else can I do?
Take our two-week online course, Introduction to Blended Learning. This course is a primer for those who are just getting started with blended learning and technology integration. Participants will learn from the latest research on blended learning, engage in discussions about what blended learning looks like, and apply key ideas to their teaching.
- What are my takeaways?
- Mastery of your box of Catalyst Cards: how to use them in your own teaching and with your colleagues long after BLDS is over.
- An applied understanding of how blended learning can be used to empower and engage students in new learning experiences.
- Access to GOA courseware.
- Completed design briefs that show your work and can be models for future work.
- Badges to post to your professional network.
- A network of peers that spans schools from around the world.
- A place in GOA’s BLDS Gallery, an online space and newsletter highlighting the work of our participants that we share with your school and the education community.
- What are the program dates and length?
There are two BLDS sessions in 2016-2017.
- Session One: October 3 to December 16, 2016
- Session Two: February 6 to April 21, 2017
- How much does BLDS cost?
For educators from GOA Member Schools: $600/11-week session. For non-members: $800/session.
- What is expected of me?
Research shows that professional learning is most effective and most engaging when teachers can tailor the work to their own context and practice. BLDS is designed to be flexible and personalized, and our expectation is that you are a proactive learner who is open and communicative about your goals, your needs, and your work. We also expect you to put your full effort into the design process: articulating a vision, testing it in your classroom, and reflecting on its effectiveness. After the orientation, which will require 4-6 hours of your time, you can expect to spend from 2-4 hours a week working on your BLDS projects.
BLDS is an ongoing, communal experience. You will be expected to engage with your coach and colleagues in discussions and feedback regularly, including biweekly synchronous video chats. These activities and appointments should be prioritized: they are critical to nurturing the collegial atmosphere that supports a professional learning community.
- Are Global Online Academy courses approved by the University of California?
- Does Global Online Academy grant diplomas?
Global Online Academy is not a diploma-granting school. But students do receive credit from their member schools for Global Online Academy classes.
- Is Global Online Academy a non-profit organization?
- Is Global Online Academy accredited?
We are in the process of obtaining our accreditation through New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
- Is online education a replacement for traditional classroom learning models?
GOA is a supplement to the strong programs at our member schools, and allows them to expand their on-campus curriculum. GOA is not intended to replace the classroom or campus, nor do we believe students should take all their courses online. Our goal is to increase diversity in style and perspective by having online courses available alongside traditional learning environments.
- What is the mission of Global Online Academy?
The mission of Global Online Academy is to replicate in online classrooms the intellectually rigorous programs and excellent teaching that are hallmarks of its member schools; to foster new and effective ways, through best practices in online education, for students to learn; and to promote students’ global awareness and understanding by creating truly diverse, worldwide, online schoolroom communities.
- What support does Global Online Academy offer member school, teachers and students?
Global Online Academy offers extensive ongoing support to both its schools and its teachers. Global Online Academy has a full-time instructional design team and academic dean who ensure teachers are trained and supported throughout the year and receive regular ongoing feedback about their courses and their teaching. Through training and experience, teachers learn new skills that help them foster more interaction and student engagement in their regular classrooms. For students, Global Online Academy works closely with the site director at each member school to provide ongoing support to students taking Global Online Academy classes.
- Who founded Global Online Academy?
Global Online Academy was founded in 2011 by a consortium of 10 independent schools, each committed to offering best-in-class online learning, and developing a partnership of peer schools to lead the effort to prepare students for a global future.
- Are there any technical prerequisites or requirements?
- Participants will need a working computer, access to the Internet, and a functional webcam.
- All GOA courses are hosted through a web-based Learning Management System. Participants will be given a GOA Google Apps account that allows access to our Haiku portal.
- Unless specified in the course description, there are no prerequisites for GOA Professional Development courses.
- How do I register for a Global Online Academy PD course?
You can register for Professional Development courses here on the GOA website.
- How much does a Global Online Academy PD course cost?
- $300 – Member Schools
- $400 – Non-Member Schools
- What should I expect as a participant in a Global Online Academy PD course?
Our courses are designed to be hands-on and highly participatory. Participants are expected to log in to their course daily, and commit approximately 30 minutes per day for a total of 3-6 hrs of work each week. Whether it’s a discussion, work on a shared project or reading for the course, clear time frames for the completion of coursework will be provided by the instructor. Just as with a traditional learning environment, participants are expected to communicate and collaborate with peers both synchronously (at a set time, using video conferencing), and asynchronously (at different times, using online discussion tools).
- Who teaches Global Online Academy PD courses?
Our Professional Development courses are taught by educational leaders and teachers with practical experience and expertise in the subject area.
- Why should I take a Global Online Academy PD course?
Our professional development courses allow teachers to expand their professional knowledge, develop new ways of thinking about their practice to match the modern world, and prepare students for a global future. Specifically, participants will:
- Learn using the best practices in online professional development
- Enhance their current practice
- Learn with master teachers already well versed and experienced in utilizing online learning environments
- Have the flexibility to learn at a time that works for their individual schedules
- Are Global Online Academy teachers compensated?
Teachers receive either a stipend or a course load reduction from their school.
- Can a teacher from a non-member school teach a Global Online Academy class?
Global Online Academy teachers must work at a member school.
- Can any school become a Global Online Academy member school?
Global Online Academy is a consortium of leading independent schools. Admission is determined by the Expansion Committee of the Board of Trustees. In a spirit of equity and inclusion, the Expansion Committee, in reviewing all requests to join, will consider the location of the school, the school’s academic profile, and the commitment of the school to including online education in its curriculum.
- Do member teachers interact with each other?
The academy’s strength lies in its membership. Teachers become part of a network of excellent educators with whom they can collaborate, share ideas and gain inspiration. Global Online Academy teachers network with one another frequently and have regular faculty meetings to share best practices and discuss new ideas related to great teaching.
- Do teachers need to have previous online teaching experience to become a Global Online Academy teacher?
No previous experience in online teaching is required. Global Online Academy teachers receive 60+ hours of professional development prior to teaching their first Global Online Academy class. There is an online teacher-training course, followed by a mandatory residential workshop in July where teachers are given ample space, time, and support to develop their course in a collaborative environment. Regular professional development and ongoing support are offered throughout a teacher’s tenure. Please note that only teachers concurrently employed by a member school may teach for GOA.
- How many member schools do you have, and who are they?
Global Online Academy currently consists of over 50 member schools. We hope to continue to add more leading independent schools. A full list of our founding and member schools can be found here.
- What are some of the considerations of membership?
Global Online Academy schools:
- Are accredited by a regional independent school association or international equivalent
- Are enthusiastically supported by their head of school and administrative team to be members of Global Online Academy
- Are academically competitive
- Contribute to the geographical diversity of Global Online Academy
- Show a spirit of innovation, and can demonstrate a willingness to be creative and try new things within their institution
- Create and support a diverse student body, and have a desire to enhance the public purpose of independent school education
- Live a mission that supports the mission of Global Online Academy
- Nominate faculty members to develop and teach courses for the academy, and share a willingness to provide curricular resources with the academy and its member teachers
- Grant credit to students who take Global Online Academy courses
- Financially support their membership to the academy annually and fund additional costs associated with membership
- Support the technological and academic needs of their students
- Who teaches Global Online Academy classes?
All Global Online Academy classes are taught by teachers from our member schools. All teachers at our member schools are eligible to teach a Global Online Academy class. Member schools are responsible for identifying, recruiting, and nominating teachers to teach Global Online Academy classes. Each member school is required to offer at least one teacher a year, though all hiring and course selection is at the discretion of Global Online Academy.
- Are teachers and courses evaluated?
All teachers and courses are observed and evaluated regularly to ensure they meet the standards of our exemplary schools.
- Can students connect with each other and their teacher on a 1:1 basis?
Teachers and students make connections on a global and individual scale, promoting global awareness and perspective sharing. Teachers engage with their students on a regular basis. In addition to scheduled 1:1 meetings with their students, every teacher has regular office hours when they are available to video chat or talk. Just as with a teacher on campus, students can also schedule individual meetings to discuss something or ask a question.
Students make connections and form relationships with classmates through partner work, group projects and discussion forums. Students can ask a peer for support, input, or just strike up a conversation via a live video chat feature or through instant messaging.
- Do students take Global Online Academy classes on top of a full class schedule?
No. These classes are taught by teachers who approach the design of their course the same as any other class they teach. In most cases, a full load of courses is seven classes, including art and PE. This class should not be added as an eighth class, or as a sixth academic class.
- How do GOA courses compare to courses at my school? Are they as rigorous?
Over 90% of GOA students report that the intellectual challenge of their GOA course is comparable or exceeds that of courses they take in-person on their school’s campus.
- How long is a Global Online Academy semester?
The majority of our courses are for a semester – 15 weeks long. We also offer a handful of year-long classes.
- How many students in each class?
Classes are limited to 18 students.
- How should colleges interpret GOA courses as part of a student's overall curriculum?
Colleges should view students who take Global Online Academy courses as curious, driven, and responsible. Students learning with GOA are excited to share their voice on a global stage, and pursue topics that will fuel their passion and help prepare them for success in higher education.
GOA curriculum is created and curated by our member school teachers, who are proven exemplary educators in their school communities. Teachers model creative thinking, research, and discussion skills by curating online materials such as videos, news, blogs, and journal articles. Read what a college counselor from one of our member schools has to say about GOA.
- Is there a cost to students to take a Global Online Academy course?
Global Online Academy does not charge students to participate.
- What kind of engagement will a teacher and student have?
Students report a high level of engagement with their Global Online Academy teachers, including 1:1 conversations; Global Online Academy teachers know each student in their class.
- What level of commitment is required from students participating in a Global Online Academy course?
GOA courses are as challenging and as interactive as courses at a home school. In a typical week, students commit five to seven hours to a Global Online Academy course and log in five to seven times a week to interact with their teacher and peers. Coursework is spread out throughout the week as students engage with peers, their teacher, and course materials on a daily basis. Learn more about the GOA experience.
- Who defines which Global Online Academy courses are offered?
The academy’s strength lies in its membership. Global Online Academy provides the opportunity for our member schools and teachers to shape the future of online learning. Therefore, Global Online Academy seeks input from students, teachers and heads of schools to determine which courses to offer. Teachers of our member schools can also propose new courses, although final course selection is at the discretion of Global Online Academy. Our aim is to have a cohesive, well-balanced course catalog that best serves our member schools and students.
- Who develops curriculum and course content?
Global Online Academy curriculum is created by our member teachers, who are proven exemplary educators in their school communities. Teachers, all of whom work at one of our member schools, create their own materials for classes. Teachers curate online materials such as videos, photos, news media, journal articles, etc., that supplement their own created materials.