Sunday, January 16, 2011

Web-Based Courses (WBCs)

Last class we had another speaker come in, this time to speak to us about Web-Based Courses (WBCs).  We learned that there is a variety of way a class can be conducted:
- face to face teaching (f2f)
- IITV or Web Conferencing - 2 way video and audio (modified f2f)
- Web-Based Course Option (WBC) - teacher guided - cannot see students
- Teacher Mediated Option
- Independent Study Option (ISO) - tutor marker - no teacher interaction
But the best models tend to use blended approaches (absolute best: f2f combined with online instruction - allows for both types of learning styles to happen)

The history about how these Web-Based Courses began in Manitoba is that smaller rural schools couldn’t always offer the classes that their students wanted to take, so to help fix this schools began what is called ‘seat sharing.’  Which is basically swapping students from one school to another, for a class that is not available at their regular school.  Add the technological advancements and the affordability of the technology and you have the birth WBCs.

Currently in Manitoba three learning options are supported: WBC, Teacher Mediated option, and ISO.  

We were asked to brainstorm on two questions:
Who needs web based courses? and How might they be used to support student learning?
Some of the answers for the first one, who needs WBC?, were:
- Athletes - missing a lot of school
- Advanced Placement students - courses not offered
- rural students - courses/teachers not available
- students with exceptionalities

For the second question, How might they be used to support student learning?, we got:
- students interested in alternative methods of learning and earning credits
- resolve timetabling issues/provide flexibility
- implementation of new curricula/courses
- students use WBCs to fill in some gaps  -> enrichment or remedial
- preparing students for lifelong learning
- teacher availability, especially in specialized areas

Overall, we learned a lot about how this is an ever evolving section of Manitoba’s educational plan.  These courses have come a long way, and still likely have a ways to go.  But they are here to stay and should be embraced by teachers as they will really help students to get the learning they require and help fill in the gaps that the ridged face-to-face classroom setting can’t always cover in a satisfying way.


  1. I felt bad grazing upon this site and finding that has yet commented on your dangerous musings. I think that your ability to process and grasp the large ideas, concepts and pictures is quite astounding considering your stature. Never again will I equate height with academic prowess in the Education Faculty. Your prose are like a refreshing blast of cool air in the muggy stench of a garbage heap. Now onto this particular post. I'm sure that if I would have had this gentleman as a teacher in my high school years I would have been able to forge ahead and explore different ways of exploring my education. He had much to tell it appears, and it looks like he was continually pushing ahead with the new technologies that arrived. That is something that must have been extremely advantageous for the students, as it is for us now. These information sessions are important in informing us of the changes occurring in education, and also in predicting what trends might arrive in the near future.

    Mr. Mitchell (and I say that with all the respect afforded to you as a bonafide teacher and me as your humble student) please continue to hold us spellbound.

  2. Coming from a smaller rural Manitoba town, I have experienced the whole concept of "seat switching" and let me tell you, it's annoying. It was sometimes challenging trying to attain good-quality education in my tiny high school and I used to wish that I could just teach myself..

    Now with web-based courses and online resources, you can! WBCs are such a great tool for students that do not have equal opportunity as those in larger schools do, as well as athletes that have to miss class a lot for away games.

    WBC are also a very good teacher resource as well. I am glad that they seem as though they are here to stay and agree that teachers should embrace this online tool, as it has the ability to give students the education they may or may not be getting in the classroom. WBCs allow students to catch up, or work ahead of the instruction they may or may not be getting during F2F instruction.