Creating Online Courses is a Team Effort
Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is dedicated to the academic success of students. Our goal is to support students with a complete online learning experience, whether they are taking one course or a full course load with us. Each course is hand-crafted to meet academic standards and student needs with the goal of maximizing success.
FLVS courses are brought to life by our Curriculum Development team which consists of a variety of experts including teachers, writers, designers, and even student contributors! Each course requires hundreds of hours spent writing lessons, exams, and assessments, as well as hours of reviews to ensure quality and consistency for our students, teachers, and clients.
Writing Content for New Courses
FLVS Curriculum Specialist Gerald Liles is one of the team members responsible for writing course content. Gerald spends a lot of his time researching a topic before he can confidently produce pieces for new courses. His team meets weekly to share and exchange ideas and “season” the content to be more interesting and enjoyable for students.
Currently, Gerald is crafting content for AP Macroeconomics, one of 15 Advanced Placement courses offered by Florida Virtual School, and he says, “In AP courses, we try to balance reassurance that this will help students perform well on the AP Exam and get that college credit with observations of why the information is useful long after the exam. This being an undergraduate level economics course, I’m focused mainly on accuracy and clarity, leaning on the team to help with visualizations and interactives that make the course as stimulating as possible.”
When creating new courses, writers like Gerald don’t do it alone. He is currently working on a new course scheduled to be released in the coming year, which involves collaborating with many others like calculus teachers, elementary teachers, and foreign language team members to ensure that the complex concepts are explained in a way that students will understand.
Gerald says, “It was gratifying to wrestle with challenging content and collaborate on how to make it clear, comprehensible, and relevant to the students’ lives.”
Producing an Engaging Experience for Students
When writing content for courses, our Curriculum Development team strives to make courses interesting and relevant for students. “School is a requirement, but virtual school is a choice, so we want to give students a reason to choose us, and stay with us, if that’s what works best for them,” says Michelle McRae, FLVS Engagement Writer. In Michelle’s experience as an Engagement Writer, she has found that it is essential to know your audience. She shares one of the secrets to keeping students engaged is to be concise and add surprises like oddball statistics and fun facts. “An unexpected interpretation. A llama here, an alpaca there. People, not just students, enjoy these brief moments of joy, mostly because they don’t expect them.”
One of the courses she has enjoyed working on the most has been M/J Coding Fundamentals, which was released January 2020. Michelle says, “The course design is dramatic, beautiful, and draws you in. The integrated Python-Guided-Activity, created specifically for FLVS coding courses by our developers, lets you code directly in the course with practice. The writing is smart and fun. And, I produced the videos, so I may be biased, but they’re pretty awesome.”
Developing New Courses
This year, we released our highly-anticipated American Sign Language 2 course, which is packed with unique features for students. Katie Brown, FLVS Engagement Writer, told us students can expect to find helpful videos and interactive practice, adding that “each vocabulary phrase taught now includes the ASL gloss—the use of English words to transcribe what’s being signed in ASL. We’ve also added new review playlists that allow students to quickly review signs they’ve already learned.”
In addition to creating our new courses, the FLVS Curriculum Development team updates current courses with lessons, videos, and activities that are relevant to our changing audience while retaining academic standards and rigor.
Explore all the Florida Virtual School course options for Kindergarten through 12th grade at flvs.net/courses.