What Can An Online School Look Like

The possibilities are endless, and some of them are surprising and quirky. Let’s toss aside your old fashioned notions of “school” and see if we can imagine new possibilities for the wor(l)d.

For the sake of this post, we are going to use the term “school” in a general way. We are not going to worry about what legally constitutes a “School” in San Diego and how it differs from an “Academy” in Sicily. According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary, a school is “An organization that provides instruction”. We’ll look at some organizations and explore the possibilities of what an online school can look like.

These people and organizations have founded schools:

Mike Klinger founded a school of Music Technology. He uses WizIQ to teach both synchronous and asynchronous classes about how to use musical technology in the classroom. He has created hundreds of video tutorials to walk students through information. His students often progress through the lessons at their own pace, but submit assignments and receive feedback from Klinger. Many of his courses do not actually have “live” classes.

LiYa, or Life Yessence Academy has used WizIQ to build a worldwide spiritual and learning community. LiYa uses WizIQ to teach live classes on parenting, joyful living and harmonious family life. LiYa also uses WizIQ to conduct weekly e-Satsangs, in which leaders guide the students in meditation and song. LiYa even used WizIQ to allow their international community to participate in live protests.

TutorCO provides one-on-one tutoring for students in their homes. They employ more than one hundred tutors and can meet the learning needs of many different students.

-Sophia Khan runs the online classes for the AlHuda Sisters, who are a group of dedicated Muslim women committed to providing authentic, insightful, and enlightening Islamic education for Muslim and non-Muslim women and girls. They provide instruction in Islam to women in a supportive and comfortable environment.

-I run SHINE, which stands for Students at Home in New England. Shine is a blended program that serves home-school students in New England. It combines weekly online meetings on the WizIQ Virtual Classroom with assignments, cultural events and monthly field trips.

Schools Can Be Public or Private

Many schools have open and public enrollment. Anyone who wants to learn can participate in the course. Other schools are private. They only allow enrolled learners to participate.  Some people offer free courses as a way to drive traffic to another site. Other people charge tuition.

Online schools can conduct classes synchronously or asynchronously

-In synchronous courses, there are live classes which occur at a specific time and use live video and voice streaming. Students and teachers can engage in the real-time exchange of information and ideas. The program that I run has a weekly meeting in which I introduce the week’s work and make sure that everyone understands what they will be doing.

-In asynchronous courses, a teacher uploads materials and often educational videos or tutorials. The students work through the lessons and the material independently. Sometimes, the student progresses with a cohort and there are specific due dates. Other times, the students work independently of each other, but in dialog with the instructor.  Mike Klinger’s Music Technology workshops, for example, have a lot of video tutorials that the students can work through at their own pace, mastering material and sharing it with Mike as they need feedback and guidance.

An online school is a way to share ideas that you care about with people who want to learn

A school can be as standard or as unconventional as you are! You can create a school to help people master a foreign language or to help high school students learn about technology. You might really thrive on the real-time exchange of ideas or you might appreciate the individual attention you can offer in asynchronous courses. If you have something to teach, you can create a school to teach it.


I am a teacher, hiker, mother, dancer and home-maker. I have taught pre-school through SAT prep. I am exploring ways to create on-line learning communities for home-schooled middle school and high school students. In particular, I am starting a low-residency on-line middle school. I would like to help young people explore important ideas while enjoying their lives! You can learn more about my programs at www.onlineclassesforgroovykids.org.

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