If the past few years have proven anything, it’s that online instruction is not just a fad that will soon die out. As virtual learning continues to evolve, the number of students participating in some sort of online coursework is climbing. There are still many misconceptions about this method of instruction that need to be dispelled.
Myth 1 – It is expensive. While there are some online elementary and high schools that can be quite costly, the truth is that many are considered public schools and are absolutely free to students. Students in grades K - 12 can enroll in Oxford Virtual Academy tuition-free if they live in Genesee,
Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, or Wayne County.
Myth 2 – Virtual students feel isolated. There are many opportunities for social interaction so that students do not feel isolated. Ac-cording to Lisa Sullivan, Homeschool Coordinator for Oxford Virtual Academy, “There are hundreds of students throughout South-east Michigan taking OVA’s elective courses through local business partnerships. This arrangement provides students the opportunity to participate in the online component of the courses at home while meeting in-person throughout the semester at locations such as a dance studio, boxing club, or local swimming pool.” Oxford Virtual Academy also has two physical learning labs staffed with certified teachers for class events and for students who need additional support.
Myth 3 - Online courses are easier than “regular” courses. Courses taken through a virtual school aren’t more or less rigorous than those at a traditional brick-and-mortar school; the content is just delivered differently. While being a full-time virtual student is an amazing option for some students, there are others who struggle until they can develop the skills to better manage their time and be-come more self-motivated.
Myth 4 – The computer is the teacher in an online course. When some people think of online learning, they picture students all logging in at a specific time to listen to a talking head on their computer monitors. Though distance learning may have somewhat resembled this a decade or two ago, virtual learning today is so much more. The advantage of online learning for many students is the idea of any time, any place, and any pace. While the students are logging in to an online platform to access their course materials, each student must also have a mentor to monitor progress and a certified teacher of record to manage the course content and grading.
Myth 5 – Online students are not eligible for sports. While it’s true that most cyber charter schools do not offer sports programs, Janet Schell, principal of Oxford Virtual Academy is quick to point out that OVA is not a cyber-school. “We are thankful to be a part of the Oxford Community School District,” commented Schell, “this allows us to be much more flexible and really meet the needs of each individual student. Because we are not a ‘cyber school,’ our students have the option to also attend traditional, seated courses in Oxford, participate in sports, and earn an Oxford Community Schools’ diploma.”
Director of Shared Time and Program Development
Oxford Virtual Academy