Case Study: ASB Online School
“We like VHS courses because they have a very high quality of content. VHS provides a very good range of courses. The student-teacher interaction levels are high which contributes to our students’ success.”
− Debbie Grieve, Consilience Director – Online and Blended Learning Services
Case Study: ASB Online School
Located in Mumbai, India, the American School of Bombay (ASB) is a college preparatory, coeducational independent day school that serves students from over 50 countries. The school has earned a prestigious reputation in the region for its results, which are based on continuous inquiry-based and collaborative learning as well as the use of technology to enhance the learning and academic achievements of its students.
In 2011, ASB founded its own virtual school. The ASB Online Academy offers a range of curated online learning opportunities to ASB students as well as other schools (via its Institutional Enrollment Program). While some of the courses are designed and taught by ASB Online Academy instructors, others are offered in conjunction with accredited content providers such as The Virtual High School (VHS, Inc.) based in Massachusetts (USA). ASB Online Academy students first took VHS courses in 2012; all students enrolled in technology-related courses.
Coordinating studies in a global classroom did not come without its issues. Nikhil Dandekar, the ASB Online Academy Coordinator in India found that some ASB Online Academy students struggled to get used to deadlines set in an online worldwide class. “Our students have many after-school activities: sports or school events. So, sometimes finding the time to finish their assignments within the deadline was challenging,” he said. “Sometimes, the time zone difference adds more challenge when we try to meet deadlines.
Consequently, many students had to hone their skills in planning, prioritizing, and organizing time and materials. “To first-time online learners, I would say the learning curve can be demanding,” Nikhil continued. “However, I meet with the students every day to guide them through the process, so we don’t have a problem with it.”
Nikhil likes the VHS course emphasis on interpersonal communication. “The interaction is definitely the strongest point of VHS courses,” he said. “Students use the discussion boards and the private topic feature to communicate with teachers and other students during learning and they like it.”
Debbie Grieve, Consilience Director of Online and Blended Learning Services based in the United Kingdom likes the rigor of the VHS courses and sees them as an invaluable resource in their efforts to expand general interest in online learning. “Online education is well developed in the United States; however, in international schools, it is still very new,” she said. “In fact, we would like to help more international schools start online education programs.”
Debbie added, “We want to continue to work with both Indian and international schools in other parts of the world, expanding students’ opportunities to select course topics they may not otherwise have been able to take, and helping prepare them for college where more and more students are taking at least one course, online”.