Monday, April 23, 2007

The Technical Side to Virtual Schools

Obviously, the technical side of creating an online school must be addressed before you roll out the program and begin enrolling students. Surprisingly, the choice of learning management systems was only briefly discussed. However, there are so many out there to choose from ranging from open source to commercially available, that even a school as successful as FLVS, who uses EduCate (?), can work with Moodle, Drupal, or SAKAI.

Help Desk/Support

  • Each district must account for volume in order to make this program work
    • volume of calls or service requests must not exceed the capabilities of your tech staff.
    • Interesting to see the numbers as they increase when a district adds a virtual element to their curriculum.

Students and teachers, in addition to the course content needed at the inception of the class, will be creating content and data as the course moves through its progression. The problem of data security and integrity becomes an issue.
  • are you teachers virtual or not?
  • where are you storing your data?
    • is it safe and secure?
    • disaster recovery
    • you need to have definite plans for disaster recovery and to evaluate who is going to be hosting your student information
  • laptop
    • support
      • remote support
    • MS Office
    • Instructional team gets Dreamwaver
    • life-cycle of machines
  • VOIP Phones
    • calling students is essential to the success of the school, so VOIP works for this purpose.
    • support for phones
    • paid for
  • High speed internet connection is mandatory
    • paid for by school
  • Printer/Fax machine supplied by the school
  • elluminate
    • web conferencing for classes but also for administration within the staff in FLVS
    • Cost might be an issue here
  • VSA
    • student information system and teacher management system/performance indicator.
    • SIS/TIS
    • phone calls are logged in by teachers
    • reports on student performance are generated and housed here, also on the teachers as well.
  • Disk Space per student?
    • some classes will require students to upload huge documents and housing this material can become problematic when you grow your school.
  • Parent/guardian accounts to access the performance of their child within the LMS or SIS.

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