PLATO TRAINING MODULE (TEACHERS) / PLATO ORIENTATION MODULE (STUDENTS)

In September 2014, Learn4Life Charter Schools purchased a series of ready-made online courses from Edmentum Sensei hosted via their learning management system, Plato.

Other than the purchase of these online courses, there was no preexisting roll-out plan to implement these classes or their associated technology. As a result, I was brought on board to design and develop an implementation plan for this online platform for two of the Learn4Life charter schools (Desert Sands Charter High School and Assurance Charter High School).

My work for this project entailed research and analysis of both the Plato platform and the current environments in which we would be implementing these courses. I attended seminars held by Edmentum representatives; held focus groups and one-on-one interviews with various staff members at both charter schools to determine the potential impact of this new technology on their daily workflow; and gathered other relevant information and data.

Utilizing the information I obtained from my analysis, I designed and prepared a full-scale roll-out plan to implement the online courses at both charter schools. This implementation plan included the following considerations:

  • Giving instructors access to the new platforms and preparing them with processes and materials for conducting their work with the new technology;

  • Designing and hosting on-campus training sessions to outline the coming changes for instructors and get them prepared to utilize the new technology and systems;

  • Designing and constructing an Independent Training Module that instructors could access online anywhere and at any time to accompany their on-campus training (Note: This piece of technology also functioned as a job aid to provide on-going support to instructors following and in-between on-campus training, and it also served to train new hires during "on-boarding" and other staff members who may have missed the on-campus training sessions for other reasons);

  • Designing and developing a student orientation plan, which included regularly hosted on-campus orientation sessions, so as to prepare students to utilize the new technology and to follow the processes required for their participation in online courses to be successful and in-line with other school protocol;

  • Designing and constructing an Independent Orientation Module that students could access online anywhere and at any time to accompany their on-campus orientation (Note: This piece of technology also functioned as a job aid to provide on-going support to students following their on-campus orientation, and it also served to prepare online students who would not be able to attend the on-campus orientation sessions for any reason);

  • Preparing a content support system for students (this entailed my hosting meetings with various tutors and workshop teachers at the two schools to comprise a Tutoring Schedule, which was released to teachers and students to offer on-going support to students in the specific subjects addressed in the online courses);

  • Preparing teachers and tutors to offer content support to students (with assistance from another staff member, we printed and put together a number of "binder books" that contained all the teacher guides, rubrics, answer keys, and other materials associated with each of the online courses, which were then issued to the instructors and tutors during a training session);

  • Designing and building an assessment or grading system for the online courses (Note: Unfortunately, one of the much needed instructional items that Edmentum did not provide to Learn4Life to accompany the purchased online courses was a scoring system for the students' completed assignments. In other words, there was no guidance provided on how to grade the students' work after they submitted it. Therefore, with assistance from another staff member, I designed and developed a full-scale grading system that was consistent across all the online courses. This included ready-made scoring sheets for all the assignments in each instructional module for each online course, all formatted and scored using a similar method);

  • Establishing an on-going feedback and tracking system to monitor teacher and student progress in the online course, so as to gather and report data to administrators, provide ongoing support to the staff members utilizing the new technology, determine the overall impact or success of the implementation plan on staff and student success, and make any changes to the training, orientation, and support processes and materials as needed.

  • I am proud to say that the implementation plan that I devised was so popular among administrators and so successful for the two charter schools in which it was implemented that the strategies and all associated materials I developed were "pushed out" to all the other 50+ Learn4Life charter schools to support those in charge of the implementation of the online courses there in their similar roll-outs of the technology.

    You may view two short slideshow presentation that I created below, which will briefly describe how staff and students would utilize the independent training module and orientation module: