Online learning may be the new norm in higher education, but what about pre-university programmes like the International Baccalaureate (IB)?
The answer is yes, you can take IB courses online.
But as a programme that’s meant to teach students transferable skills such as collaborative thinking, is it really wise for young students to be taking IB courses online?
Hannah Senel-Walp, Principal of Online Courses at online education provider Pamoja, enlightened Study International on the topic in an exclusive interview.
Students can take online IB courses with Pamoja in preparation for the Diploma or career-related programmes, but not the full IB Diploma Programme.
You get to take charge of your own learning
As Hannah explained, “A UCL Institute of Education study in the UK found that online learning helped prepare students for university, making them more independent and self-directed learners.”
“Students who had taken courses online at school took greater ownership of their learning, were more likely to set goals based on their own performance, were less likely to rely on university tutors for help, and were better able to manage and pace their studies.”
They also gain the practical experience of using digital and collaborative tools that are increasingly used in today’s workplaces.
Other benefits of online courses include the fact that schools and teachers can accommodate last minute or ad hoc requests to tailor and personalise a student’s learning experience.
A chance to collaborate with a vibrant virtual community
One of the concerns about taking IB courses online is that it could be an isolating experience.
The good news is there are still opportunities for them to collaborate and communicate with other students.
Hannah said, “They also join a global community of students, also studying online with Pamoja, with whom they can collaborate.”
She adds that it’s also helpful to form study groups and collaborate with others on your course and for students to compile their own organised notes.
Support & guidance of expert teachers
Pamoja teachers are experienced professionals and subject matter experts, so by studying online, students are still able to learn from the best teachers regardless of location.
The online teachers are also highly experienced and fully trained in online learning methodologies so they are able to respond quickly to student questions. They also closely track student engagement and activities to provide support at the point of need.
On top of that, these teachers also help students develop important skills such as efficiency, organisation and time management.
Hannah said, “Pamoja students have fed back that liaising with their teachers has been beneficial in developing these skills which proved useful in their continued academic careers.”
Your progress with IB courses online is followed closely
The platform provides insights into a student’s progress which enables the supportive team at Pamoja, along with Site-Based Coordinators (SBCs) on campus, to step in and help where and when appropriate.
She explained, “SBCs support students in a number of ways. They monitor students’ progress throughout their course, helping them whenever necessary. The SBC also regularly catches up with their students and ensures ongoing communication between students, our teachers and our School Services Team.”
How do you draw a classroom? We asked this question at our anniversary event last year and got some very interesting responses. Next up is Sean Heneghan! #classroom #teaching #onlinelearning #edtech #education pic.twitter.com/L4AWtSo5Yt
— Pamoja (@pamojaeducation) January 31, 2020
SBCs also encourage students to take ownership of their learning by supervising rather than tutoring, providing support in the creation of a term-time planner to promote effective time management.
Plus, they also set time aside with each student to evaluate their individualised study method, suggesting improvements where appropriate.
Global experience rooted in a history of success
Several students who take IB courses online through Pamoja have succeeded academically. Hannah said that in IB Diploma exams between 2014-2018, 61 percent of Pamoja online students achieved a grade 5 or above.
“In terms of average Diploma grades between 2014-2018, Pamoja students scored 4.78 against an IB global average of 4.66,” she reported.