RCA adapting to and perfecting online learning option

Dana Eldridge, RCA Middle School Math Teacher, teaches her on campus students in her classroom while teaching online students via Google Meet. The headset allows her hear when the online students have questions or need help understanding a topic.

The 2020 school year has provided many opportunities for school administrators and faculty to grow and reach students in new and different ways. Riverside Christian Academy’s Administration spent the summer months working on creating guidelines to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 and provide students with a safe environment to help them learn without anxiety.

The faculty and school principals also worked on perfecting the online learning platform that the school adopted in the spring to help students finish out the school year with live instruction from their teachers at home. This new and improved online learning experience is still in place for RCA students who are immunocompromised (or who have family members who are immunocompromised) and any students who need to quarantine themselves because of sickness or exposure to COVID-19.

“We increased our internet capability and upgraded our equipment to meet the requirements of modern distance learning standards on a university level,” said Dr. Laws Rushing, RCA’s President. “We also brought in an IBM consultant to help triage our technological needs for quality solutions.”

RCA purchased a high-definition web camera and Bluetooth headset for each teacher. The headset and webcam are used to communicate with online students through Google Meet. Online students were issued a schedule just like on-campus students, and they are expected to be in class via their teacher’s Google Meet link. The online students can see their teacher, their classmates, and whatever tool the teacher is using to teach their on-campus students (white board or projector screen). All class sessions are recorded within Google Meet, so a student can access the class lecture later if they are too sick to attend class online.

“I miss my friends but, online school is going great,” said eighth-grader, Isabel Eko-Isenalhume. “I can’t wait to go back to school and see my friends when everything gets back to normal.”

The RCA teachers are also using Google Classroom to make assignments available to online students. The students can access all of their assignments and submit them for grading via the Google Classroom portal.

“Students are able to keep up with their class through the online learning process,” said Adam Rutledge, RCA’s Spanish teacher. “The online students can ask questions and get feedback from their teachers because we are able to help them in real time. Also, the class is able to interact with the online students, so they feel included.” 

“RCA is setting a new standard of academic excellence in online learning for K-12 institutions. We are meeting the educational needs of every student in our community,” said Dr. Rushing.