In the recent article, “Thinking Critically about Our Practices, Part I: The Collaborative for Innovative Education,” readers learned about three initiatives in educational practice currently underway at Nueva. In this article, we explore Global Online Academy (GOA) and how it is being used to advance the global engagement of Nueva students. Next month, we will share the innovative ways faculty are using GOA to enhance their teaching practice and bring new opportunities to their students.
Aligned with the Heart of Nueva
Nueva’s partnership with Global Online Academy (GOA) provides a new mechanism for continuing and expanding an effort that is at the heart of the Nueva experience: providing opportunities for students and teachers to personalize their learning experience, connect with peers and thought leaders throughout the world, and find new ways to challenge and build upon our personal strengths.
The GOA is a consortium of more than 70 independent schools from around the world whose mission is:
- To replicate in online classrooms the intellectually rigorous programs and excellent teaching that are hallmarks of its member schools;
- To foster new and effective ways, through best practices in online education, for students to learn; and
- To promote students’ global awareness and understanding by creating truly diverse, worldwide, online schoolroom communities.
Students in GOA courses are globally connected to peers from member schools in classes limited to 20 students with an expert teacher who is also from a member school. Rigorous courses in a wide range of subjects are offered each semester, requiring five to seven hours of coursework per week for students.
A key attribute of GOA classes is that in most cases they are asynchronous, that is, they are not tied to a schedule, allowing students flexibility to work on their own time and at their own pace. Students gain independent learning skills as they log in multiple times a week to engage in discussions, collaborate on projects with classmates, and share ideas, managing their learning within the instructor’s overall calendar of work for the semester.
“We want to continue to be a school that offers an incredible amount of choice — GOA could help us double the number of electives that students can access,” said Nueva's Assistant Head of Upper School and Director of Global Initiatives, Mike Peller.
“GOA provides students another 21st century medium to learn and connect with peers and educators throughout the world. This year, which is the program’s second year, 29 courses were offered and we have 25 students enrolled,”
Global Online Academy through the Eyes of Our Students
Last year, eleventh grader Audrey K. studied Arabic online through the Global Online Academy. Audrey and her family directly attributed that initial experience to Audrey’s success in applying to and being accepted into a NSLI‑Y Arabic summer program in Morocco.
"I would never have thought about pursuing a program in Morocco if not for taking a GOA class," said Audrey. "GOA broadens the possibilities of classes and allows students to pursue interests much more robustly. Through GOA, I have been able to continue my study of the Arabic language, something I intend to continue into college.”
Tenth grader Natalie A. described how GOA courses have put her touch with learners on the other side of the world. “It's really unique to be able to meet new people who don't live anywhere near me in the course and be able to work with them on something that we have in common. I am looking forward to doing more learning and growing through GOA!”
Many students shared that learning through GOA provides a level of flexibility that benefits them across the entirety of their Nueva experience. Eleventh grader Sanam Y. said, “My motivation for taking a class through GOA has been the flexibility I receive with a free period in my day while still taking eight classes. I'm currently taking Arabic through GOA, which I've wanted to take for a long time.”
Kaitlin P., also an eleventh grader, added, “Taking courses through GOA helps you to develop a lot of really useful skills, like time management, long-distance communication, and organization. I think that there are some challenges with staying on top of things, but those challenges have really allowed me to grow as a learner.”
By Jim Morrison, VLP Director and Dianne Willoughby, Editorial Manager
April 4, 2018