For the past few weeks, I have been spending some of my “spare time” perusing through the Michigan Learns Online High School biology course. This site is very resourceful, practical, and creative. The eight main modules are:
1. Welcome to BioVentures Travel Agency
2. Extreme Eco Adventure Tour
3. Ancient Wonder Adventure
4. Genetic Park
5. Classification Cruise Adventure
6. The Triple T Dude Ranch
7. Project BioDome
8. Animal Kingdome Safari Quest
Each module contains from 9-13 lessons and include four main navigation tabs: Itinerary, Bioventure, Travel Log, and Honors. The Itinerary page includes the benchmarks, a brief introduction, and some intriguing pictures. The main information pages are found under Bioventure. Students will also find occasional links to Side Trips which provide extra bits of information. The Travel Log contains tasks, assignments, and important reminders. The Honors tab provides extra information and assignments for students who have chosen to take the that version of the course.
This course has a very user friendly layout including a variety of assessments and assignments. Throughout this class students will complete posters, partner work, laboratory experiments, quizzes, tests, and writing assignments. Students will participate in a discussion board for each module. This will require them to formulate their own answer, share it with the class, and comment on other student work. The instructor requires a phone call, email, and password for students to be able to take the test at the end of each module. I am sure this is critical to keeping organized and following student progress throughout the course. The Glossary link from the homepage is very useful in providing audio samples of correct pronunciation and brief definitions of new terms.
Although the assessments are diverse, the content is not. This site lacks instructional differentiation.
My suggestions include:
· Students may struggle reading this much content on a computer screen.
It would be beneficial to post the notes and assignments in a printable format (Word or pdf).
· Add more video clips to supplement and explain difficult concepts.
· Graphic organizers may help students sort and connect bigger concepts.
· Practice quizzes and sample work may help motivate certain students.
· Have students take pictures as part of an assignment.
· Add Camtasia type videos with content information or directions.
Overall I give this site an A- and would LOVE to use it in my classroom!