Governments and districts are establishing new online schools, and current programs are adding more students and courses, whereby online learning is always evolving. The increase reflects a growing recognition that online programs and courses can meet a wide range of demands and students. Several online schools have been operating for years, have altered and built management structures and formal processes, and serve as management role models. This paper examines emerging online operations and program management strategies that can be used by a variety of personnel, from school executives to department managers to teachers seeking to increase their efficacy with online students.
Online programs’ practices differ depending on the program’s type and objectives. The program’s full-time or supplemental status and geographic scope are two of the most important factors to consider. The permanent vs. supplemental parameter determines whether or not the online program is responsible for Adequate Yearly Progress, students’ state assessment scores, and other common-sense factors (Baran & Correia, 2014). The geographic scope of a program dictates whether it must run wholly remotely or can easily incorporate a face-to-face factor, as well as the jurisdictional difficulties it must encounter. A multi-state program, for example, must include curriculum requirements and teacher certification in different states (Bawa, 2016). One or both of these variables influence many management problems.
Many online institutions understand that teaching a class is not the same as creating an online course. A teacher can split the learning experience in a physical classroom into categories such as activities, class lectures, and textbooks, and extra instructional resources. These components are matched and mixed in the online environment. Even though a physical textbook is no longer used, the interaction between educational resources and the teacher’s instruction is becoming increasingly vital. While professional development in online teaching benefits online teachers, establishing an online course demands the development of additional skills (Baran & Correia, 2014). Professional development for online teachers begins with ongoing training and orientation throughout the instructor’s online career. Establishing a consistent training program during teacher induction serves as a standard and a single point of comparison for evaluating instructional staff performance.
A culture of teacher mentoring and collaboration is frequently emphasized in successful online programs. Although establishing consistent and clear rules is crucial to ensuring accountability, encouraging instructors to contribute new ideas by developing a feeling of mentorship and collaboration develops a friendly work atmosphere (Gacs et al., 2020). Online managers and instructors must commit some effort and time to maintaining the academic integrity of their programs and lectures. Since the early days of remote learning, concerns and questions about academic integrity have been raised, and this trend has continued with the acceptance and rise of online learning (Goodman et al., 2016). Most of the inquiries about the legitimacy of student work come from people who are not part of the online learning community.
On the other hand, most administrators and teachers think that different well-established and well-proven evaluation systems can handle the problem. Academic integrity infractions among students are not unique to the online environment, but they are viewed as a serious and difficult topic in online education (Meyer & Murrell, 2014). School-based counseling is overwhelmed by administrative responsibilities that limit personal interaction with individuals and offer little room for proactive intervention.
The online program may aid the district’s counseling efforts in supplemental online learning circumstances, allowing the online counselor to devote more time to learners. The initial interaction between a prospective online school and an online student is critical to a smooth transition to online study. Established protocols assist online learning professionals in guiding students through the participation and enrollment process in online courses. Mentoring and counseling are provided to pupils in physical schools (Goodman et al., 2016). Online schools are also heading in this direction by expanding training for on-site coordinators or providing online counseling help for students who often handle many traditional school counselors (Coswatte Mohr & Shelton, 2017). While online educators usually highlight that the core of online learning is teachers, not computers, technology systems are certainly important in an online school. Like buildings and classrooms, computer software and hardware are essential features of an online school (Coswatte Mohr & Shelton, 2017). These tools help teachers become more effective and creative by providing statistics and information for program administration.
In conclusion, many of the challenges educators face, especially in difficult times, can be addressed through online learning. Districts and states are increasingly using online programs to give educational possibilities and access while also giving students more individualized learning options. Because of the increase in online learning, school managers must appropriately analyze and operate their programs. While most online programs offer competent instruction, improved student outcomes, and high-quality content, these advantages are not guaranteed. Instead, they result from meticulous planning and management, starting with the design and description of the online program and continuing through all aspects of operations and management. Student outcomes are already improving due to online learning, and it has the potential to be truly transformative.
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