Benefits of online learning by CORE Ministry Video

Ashburton College: Supporting the Learner

Anne Williams, edean at Ashburton College explains how Ashburton College supports its online learners.

As eDean at Ashburton College I support around 50-56 students each year to achieve in their online subjects. In 2020 I began the year with 54 students in 31 different classes. Many students need support to become effective online learners. NetNZ requires the eDean role in each school because we understand that our students are learning to navigate a new teaching and learning environment. Each student has the support of their online teacher, and their eDean, and communication between all three is crucial for success.

The ways in which I support my students are many and varied. At the beginning of the year I help them engage with their teacher and class and solve technology issues. I help them organise themselves in an online environment and work out the best ways to communicate with their teachers. Over the course of the year I organise markbooks, tests, exams, reporting and issues raised by teachers or students. I frequently check on the students individually and help them in a wide variety of ways. Some need support to understand their work, others need support to stay focused, communication issues are frequent and often I need to be able to problem solve and find creative solutions.

Other parts of my role involve communication with parents, helping students with subject selection, communication with staff at our school, working with our team of NetNZ online teachers, communication with our Senior Leaders and Deans, working with online teachers and other eDeans.

I am a very strong advocate for online learning and believe that students who have the opportunity to learn this way, and the support that they need to do so, will be well prepared for tertiary studies or any other further education that involves blended learning. Learning online also prepares students for life in a workforce where skills such as digital literacy, organisation of self, collaboration with others, managing distractions, perseverance, resilience and resourcefulness are keys to success.