Provost Academy: Making the Online School Experience More Social

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Provost Academy. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Today there are a lot of online schools to get your college degree. But did you know there are even online schools now for elementary children and teenagers? As an adult some of the reasons people choose online classes can vary. Some people solely use it for convenience. Others may not want to deal with nagging teachers and a ton of other students hovering down their necks. The class may only be offered online. There are so many reasons as to why people choose the path of an online school.

Often this path can be very unsocial. It’s just you, a book, and a computer learning alone. Doesn’t sound very fun, does it? When you think about this path when it comes to teenagers or even children you know in your mind it can’t be unsocial for them. Children and teenagers need to be able to talk to real people about their real concerns and problems. They thrive and learn from new relationships. With the technologies available to us these days and the caring people at Provost Academy this shouldn’t be a problem.

Provost Academy is an online accredited public (no cost) school putting the social into virtual learning that is available in the following states: South Carolina, Colorado and Ohio. They want your child’s online experience to be a social one. Where they build relationships and work towards goals together with other people. They believe this is more beneficial than pursuing things alone. This is why they want to be known as The UnVirtual Online School.

Provost Academy’s dedicated teachers, administrators and advisors know everyone learns differently and encourages every student to connect with others that have shared goals. They hope these connections will help students inspire and support one another.

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Provost Academy even finds professionals in the student’s field of interest to talk to and learn from instead of looking solely at a computer screen. By adding more relationships to the student’s inner circle they get a distinctive learning experience that will prepare them for the challenges in real life. They’re a school built on relationships not network cables. Inspired learning happens at Provost Academy.

I think all of the things Provost Academy is doing to encourage new relationships with their students is spot on. My UnVirtual School Idea is to perhaps set up local groups at a library or some other local place for the online students to login together and feed off of each other once a week.

Please share (in the comments section) an idea as to how an online school can be social. All ideas are welcome, whether revolutionary or simple.

What do you think an online school can do to build relationships with and for their students? And to be more social? (Please hash tag #MyUnVirtualSchool when using social media)

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Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.


  1. A friend started a school that had many teachers online. The students met in person, so that part was social. But unfortunately, the idea did not catch on well enough, and the school had to close last spring. I knew some of the staff – they were SO sad it was closing. But we also talked to a few of the ex-students, and they said they preferred in person teachers to those online. My daughter often says she prefers a teacher teaching directly to her to an online talker. I *like* the online courses, because I get to learn 7th grade math along with her! My son who is in college says his professor thinks online is the way for the future, especially for college, as it is so expensive. But one of the best parts of college for him seems to be the social, in person interactions.

    • I can totally see having an in person teacher being more beneficial to younger students. They require more hands on. To be a good online student you have to have a lot of discipline to do what needs to be done and a lot of people would rather just have the teacher in front on them instead. I personally liked online classes in college but I was not the norm being married young. Normal students would much rather socialize. Online classes are super convenient though which is why adults usually prefer them with their busy schedules.

  2. I admire the efforts of anyone who takes the time to try and educate the younger generations. However this to me does not seem like a great foundation for teenage learning and precisely for the reasons you mentioned; the social aspect. It is great that the model has a focus on building relationships among the students however it seems that relationships can not only be about what was taught in school that day. Kids have to go out, make mistakes, test boundaries, be mischievous. Too much is already online and reducing relationships and especially childhood relationships to a social media based foundation seems to me to be lacking a lot of what the real world has to offer.

    • I agree Tim. Children can’t literally live online all day. They pretty much do that anyway these days. School should be a time to socialize (as well as learn) from their teachers and peers. I think that’s why some online schools are trying to combine the best of both worlds.

  3. HI Krystle – With all the problems in the school system today, I really like this idea of online learning. It was the lack of socialization that always concerned me but the ‘Unvirtual School’ idea you have of using the library once a week for a joint learning session is marvelous – it would also be a motivator for the students to keep on track with their learning. I know our library would certainly support a community program like that.

    • As with everything I think there has to be a balance. Kids can’t be glued to screens all day but to have a mixture of online and a social setting I don’t think is a bad thing. It could possibly give students more time to learn in the real world not just from books.

  4. Jacqueline Gum says:

    I have taken a lot of courses online from Coursera, so the social aspect has less importance for me as an adult. However, I completely agree that for children, the social aspect is so important! One way that Coursera encourages social contact is through their forums…in some cases, the make your participation in the forums a percentage of your grade. It’s interesting to be conversing with folks from all over the world!

    • I took quite a few online classes when I was in college and they also did the whole forum thing as part of your grade. I would imagine by now colleges have bumped up the socialization level of their classes. I know there is skyping and more video chats than there used to be.

  5. Its good that Provost Academy’s is trying this bring human computer interaction to a life. Although this method is really unsocial. In my opinion Children really need to interact people to learn a lot. In some cases when there are some problems, like accidents or any other problem it will really be a great option.

    • It is a great option for when kids get hurt or are suspended and such. Personally I don’t think I would let my young kids do a solely online school but I’d consider it for teenagers. Especially seniors that only go half a day anyway.

  6. I am not very familiar with how these courses are taught but I would think that having virtual classes in a group setting, ideally with video as in something like a Google Hangout, would make them more social. Maybe something like group participation games in subject like math would also help.

  7. Sounds like a really good alternative for kids who are need a different approach to learning. The socialization aspect of schools is v. Important for young people, but it can also be a negative environment for some. Thank you for the heads up on Provost.

  8. Bindhurani says:

    I never thought about online elementary schools… Once a week meet can be good, but, kids need more face to face interaction with each other. I am not a great fan of online schools for small kids.

  9. Interesting concept and would love to see how it pans out. My friend who is an art teacher in a public high school also taught art for an online charter school for a couple of years. She would hold times for students to come in, but they never did since it wasn’t mandatory.

  10. Beth Niebuhr says:

    I had heard that online schools work well if social experiences are provided and your post assures me that this can be done. I think it is a great alternative.

  11. Online education will be the next step. These places must consider that education is more than learning, social interaction is also an important part. Perhaps having chat rooms just for students, then setting up meetings would assist in them becoming more social places

    • Good idea William! I think most online schools and classes tend to have chat rooms and forums for students to interact. Meeting in person would be a great addition to them.

  12. Deidre M. Simpson says:

    Homeschool groups do socializing events. One in my area would meet for an extended recess a few times weekly. The online schools could do the same for their students, even daily.

    • Good point Deidre! Online schools could take the same steps homeschoolers do for social interaction. They are very similar to each other after all.

  13. How interesting. It doesn’t surprise me that public education systems are going this route. It will be interesting to see what comes of it in the future, don’t you think?

  14. maxwell ivey says:

    Hello; My family enrolled my nephew in an online school here in texas back when we still traveled with the carnival. It was definitely convenient. He is in k12 and they do a lot to encourage interaction. they have events every month for the students to meet and interact. but being a child of the internet age he plays online with his nephews in other states and has met a few people through them. they play world of warcraft which means they speak the same language. My nephew actually wants to get a job when he turns 16 but not for the income solely. he thinks it would be a good place to meet people and make friends. well, he is not a church goer. and at least he isn’t wanting to hang out in a pool hall or something. thanks for sharing, max

    • I’m glad they encourage a lot of interaction at that age Max. Kids now a days do speak their own online texting lingo. It’s funny sometimes. It’s good he wants to get a job. I always had a great time when I was a teenager working. It is a social thing.

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