ns_vignette-1 Chignecto Central Virtual School (CCVS) is a system that allows the Chignecto Central Regional School Board to offer a variety of courses to all their high schools, but in particular to their smaller high schools. The courses at CCVS are designed to have an asynchronous component where the lessons are online for the students to view and work on through Moodle®. Additionally, the students and teachers meet

synchronously to simulate the classroom experience once a week using the video conferencing software, Marratech®. Courses offered through this programme include technology type courses (e.g., Film and Video 12, Multimedia 12), Sciences courses (e.g., CHE 11, 12 and PHYS 11, 12), Math courses (e.g., MAT 12 Adv, PCAL 12 and CALC 12) and others (e.g., African Canadian Studies 11, Entrepreneurship 12). Although Guy Aucoin has taught many of these courses, his main responsibility now is to teach the Math courses.

When Guy first heard that he was becoming an online teacher, he thought that it would really isolate him from his students, just sitting at his desk correcting work. Luckily, Guy was surprised that this wasn’t the case. Due to the synchronous component where he meets his students, he feels that he has been able to keep in touch with them. The other thing Guy appreciates about the video conferencing software, Marratech®, is that students can come in when they are struggling and ask questions at almost any time during the school day. This one-on-one contact has allowed Guy to get to know his student better than he usually would in the classroom.

Like other teachers, teaching online involves correcting the students’ work and, in CCVS courses, there is generally a greater load than in the classroom since they need this extra student work to use as data to determine where the students are in their learning. Not being in the same location can pose a challenge to get the work from the students at times, but through emails, remote access to the student’s computer and the ability to view through Moodle® which activities students have been working on, CCVS teachers can often communicate with the students to see why things are late.

For the students, taking an online course through the CCVS it gives them the best of both worlds. They can work independently without having a teacher physically present to tell them what to do all the time. For some senior high students, this is a great way for them to get prepared for a university setting. Yet, they also have the real-time support through Marratech® – where they can talk to their teacher during the school day if they run into difficulty. For some subject areas, such as the Math course that Guy teaches, this i ns_vignette-2

s often much easier than trying to get explanations through emails. Another comment that is common from CCVS students is that they like the fact that taking these courses online allows them to compare their subject matter knowledge against students from other schools. In many instances, CCVS students have been quite successful in the particular discipline, and taking these courses online often allows them to work with students with the same academic goals and interests.