December 7, 2011 • Athletic AdministrationCoaching

More Coaches, Athletic Directors And Trainers Are Continuing Their Education Online

Creating A Classroom From Home

One of the drawbacks of taking classes online or via a video correspondence is the lack of communication and dialogue among peers. Some of the best learning comes via face-to-face interactions, so, despite the convenience of taking classes from home, is the lack of physical interaction a drawback? Students are saying “no,” and the institutions are providing unique ways for students to interact.

“We offer our programs using a ‘cohort’ model in that 35 students take each required course together and get to know each other very well as they progress throughout the program,” says Dr. McGlumphy. “This creates a community of learners.”

At Ohio University, the MAA program utilizes Blackboard 9.1 as its learning management system and also incorporates many Web 2.0 tools into the experience, which provides interaction and a “sense of community in distance education,” according to Wright.

“We have discussions with our group online, just as you would in a classroom, however, everyone has to participate, unlike a real classroom,” sayd Debby Casey, the head athletic trainer at Gilmer High School (Texas) who takes her classes with Ohio University. “We never just sit and listen without participating — we must prepare and provide input.

“And, the students are from all over the country. This allows us to gain knowledge of how other areas are dealing with issues, which are often much different from the state where I live.”

Freeland at American Public University says his school takes pride in its direct outreach, virtual chat rooms and social media communities so that student advisors, faculty and peer students work together to answer questions, serve as peers or provide any guidance necessary.

One final benefit of taking classes in this manner is that the instructors understand the plight of the “nontraditional student” a little better. If you are up-front and honest, instructors can work around your schedule — within limits.

“You have to be self-motivated and manage your time well,” concludes Ben Holscher, a wrestling coach at Clovis High (Calif.) who takes classes through Ohio University. “But, during the state wrestling tournament, we are busy 24 hours a day starting Thursday and continuing through Saturday. I emailed my situation to my teachers and asked for an extra day to complete my assignments for the week.

They were understanding of my situation and that they would work with me. I didn’t end up needing an extra day as I made the midnight cut-off on that Sunday night but I was surprised, and happy, that I was supported by the instructors.”

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