High school administrators know how to be flexible. It seems like each week presents a new opportunity to think differently about a situation.
Traditionally, dual credit has not enabled schools to be very flexible. The credit-granting institution has to make the program work for several different schools, not to mention their own accreditors. So if the needs of your students change, it’s hard to get your dual credit program to change with them.
Having a dual credit program with asynchronous courses can give you the flexibility you’ve been missing. With asynchronous courses, you can build a dual credit program that meets the needs of your students, regardless of your delivery model.
Understanding Asynchronous Courses
Since the days of the one-room schoolhouse, synchronous courses have been the norm. The school day starts at 7:50 a.m. Everyone opens their books to page 154. Time to switch to the next class. Technology and the changing needs of students have provided another way.
With no ingrained meeting times or deadlines, asynchronous courses give you more options to deliver your dual credit program the way that works best for your students. Asynchronous courses do not have any coordinated components, such as a specific class time or scheduled exams. Most asynchronous courses will have an end date when students must complete the course. But within the course, the material is completely self-paced with no in-platform deadlines.
Not all students are ready for completely self-paced courses. Some programs with asynchronous courses provide optional milestones so students must complete certain tasks, such as mastery assignments, before they can move on to the rest of the course.
Because of this flexibility, asynchronous courses are perfect for any delivery model, including in-person, online, or hybrid.
Using Asynchronous Courses With In-Person Learning
When a school is struggling to find qualified dual-credit teachers or has a low number of students interested in a specific course, facilitated asynchronous courses can make college-level learning accessible for more students.
Dual-credit courses usually require faculty with advanced degrees in the subject area, which can be less common among high school teachers than college-level faculty. With no coordinated meeting times, asynchronous courses have the instruction built-in. So instead of overloading faculty with another course, look to coaches and support staff who enjoy being around kids and know how to support them to facilitate these courses. One of our partners had an athletic coach facilitate a range of dual credit courses, including a world language that he didn’t speak.
This is also helpful when you only have one or two students who want to take a specific course. Instead of adding on to the full plate of a faculty member, pull all those students into one room with a facilitator. Facilitators have access to the platform to look at the material students see, but students have an instructor available by email or during office hours who can help with specific content questions.
Using Asynchronous Courses With Online Learning
Fully online asynchronous courses make it easy for students to learn on their own schedule, one of the primary reasons many choose an online school to begin with. Students often juggle multiple responsibilities, including work, sports, and family. With asynchronous courses, they can choose when it’s best for them to work on schoolwork.
Traditional dual-credit courses require students to attend class on campus. With asynchronous online courses, students don’t have to worry about transportation and finding their way around for just one course. They don’t have to worry about connection issues and web cameras for coordinated meetings, either. They get to take the dual credit course where they are most comfortable.
Another benefit of asynchronous courses is that students can move at their own pace. If they want to get everything completed before a mission trip, for example, or if they need more time on a particular topic, they don’t have to worry about the rest of the class or rushing for an exam. Students decide when they are ready to move to the next module, not the instructor.
One homeschool student used TEL courses to earn an associate degree. During that time, he also worked and managed other extracurricular activities. In an attempt to get ahead of a particularly busy time, he was able to finish a course in a matter of weeks by being extremely focused.
Using Asynchronous Courses With a Hybrid Model
Whether you are hybrid by choice or because you need to be prepared for situations to change quickly, asynchronous courses are one less stress for your teachers and students.
Faculty don’t need to scramble to adjust assignments or coordinate online meetings when plans change because all of the instruction and materials are available from anywhere at any time. There is no forgetting materials at home or at school because everything is included in the platform.
Students can also take more ownership of their learning with asynchronous courses, working ahead on topics they feel comfortable tackling on their own while saving tougher topics for the days when the class meets in person. Of course, with TEL, they can also get content support from active instructors and time management help from student coaches.
For asynchronous courses (or any courses, for that matter) to be effective, facilitators and administrators need access to comprehensive reporting. These reporting tools serve as an extra layer of support, and the team doesn’t have to wait until students are in-person to assess progress.
An Asynchronous Dual Credit Program That Works For Your School
You don’t make the decision to deliver your courses a certain way because that way is easier than the others. You make that decision because it’s the best model for your students and faculty. With asynchronous courses, you can create a dual credit program that blends seamlessly into your students’ schedules, no matter where they are located.
If you are ready to take more control of your dual credit program, contact us to set up a walk-through of our courses.