The Nova Scotia Virtual School (NSVS) provides online high school courses to students enrolled in public high schools in Nova Scotia. Courses are taught by Nova Scotia certified teachers using both synchronous and asynchronous methods. NSVS online courses start in September and in February, in conjunction with secondary school semesters. Students are expected to sign in to their course every day to complete course activities and assignments and to interact with their teacher and fellow students.
As part of the NSVS program there are two key education leads: the online teacher who supported by our instructional lead, and the liaison/support teacher at the school level. The following descriptions provide an overview of two key leadership roles at NSVS – our instructional lead and the school liaison/support lead. Our instructional model combined with local support has proven to be critical to the success of NSVS students taking online courses.
NSVS Instructional Lead
Colette Rennie carries out the provincial role of instructional lead to the NSVS teacher team. She has an overarching responsibility to support NSVS teachers in their duties by aiding with the asynchronous learning platform Moodle and the synchronous learning platform Via. On any given day this support encompasses troubleshooting and fielding queries on course delivery, course development, and hardware issues. She facilitates professional learning with NSVS teachers and assists in the completion of grade reports, the delivery and receipt of course exams, and provides orientation for ‘new’ NSVS teaching personnel. The overall goal of the instructional lead position is to advance online teaching practices to maximize teaching and learning in an online environment. A focus on strategies for teachers that work to engage students and to assist them to succeed in all aspects in online learning are key.
NSVS Support Teacher
Tommy Chisholm is the liaison/support lead for NSVS. In this role he provides support to students, teachers, schools, and parents. When an issue such as student absence, work not being passed in, technology usage difficulties, or other challenges cannot be resolved at the classroom level it is directed to Tommy. He also works with host schools and/or parents to resolve the difficulties that students have with the on-line learning environment. The overall goal for the Student/School Liaison is to provide support beyond the online teacher for students. He bridges the distance gap and makes sure that communications are effective for all involved and helps to course correct as needed to ensure that students have the tools that they need to be successful in online learning.