In our behind-the-scenes looks at BJU Press textbooks and Distance Learning videos, we’ve had a lot of fun talking to artists about their art. But there’s another kind of art that goes into creating a successful video course. As a homeschool parent, you know better than most that organization is an art in and of itself. In the midst of homeschooling, do you really have time to stop and think about how each course is set up? We talked with Steve Case, our instructional design supervisor, to find out about the art of organizing Distance Learning courses.
Both of Steve’s parents were teachers. He acquired their love of education and went on to study it in college. After graduation, he went into teaching and eventually became an administrator at a school. When he came to BJU Press, he brought along his knowledge of successful education and applied it to Distance Learning courses. No artist is ever fully satisfied with a piece, so he made it his commitment to create better learning experiences for your children.
Better Efficiency in Distance Learning
In the early days of online courses, there were few standards for how to put a course together. Each course differed according to the instructor’s style. Parents and students had to learn how each teacher did assessments, gave notes, and set up schedules. Today, Steve works to standardize the courses so that you always know what to expect from a new course.
Better Engagement in Distance Learning
Keeping your children engaged goes beyond getting their attention through the teacher’s personality—though it is hard to ignore Mrs. Walker when she’s excited. Keeping students engaged means making sure they’re involved in the instruction. Steve has been working with the teachers to add academic supports that encourage student involvement, such as the guided notes and clear visuals that you may have already benefited from.
Better Effectiveness in Distance Learning
In order to make the courses as effective as they can be, Steve evaluates each course carefully. He and his team look at how courses present information and whether the videos provide manageable chunks of material. They also make sure that all other material complements the information, so that together, the lesson becomes a balanced meal.
When approaching each new Distance Learning course, Steve’s primary goal focuses on making the course better. There’s always a new and flashy way to create art, but he’s not just after new. He takes a careful look at the previous edition of that course, sees what can be improved, and ensures that what was already excellent comes through just as well as before, if not better. He wants parents to look at our catalog, see a new course, and know that it’s better than before.