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A question about critiquing online schools and instructors publicly


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We've used a variety of online providers and had multiplie instructors in our homeschool. Some have been fabulous and some have been so awful, my boys would rather shove flaming splints under their fingernails than attend one.more.class.

 

So, in the interest of good etiquitte and good legal practice, is it appropriate to start a thread listing just *facts* about our experiences? I'd love to help my brothers and sisters here avoid some of the truly awful experiences we've had, and to reward the exellent instructors we've had. Especially since these online classes are getting more and more expensive all the time.

 

For instance, my son has a pretty bad instructor this year. I would review her something like, 'Ms. X arrives 10-15 minutes late for every single class. There is no webcam and no slides for students to look at during class, so class ends up being 90ish minutes of watching a mostly blank screen. There is minimal student interaction, no conversation, no break out rooms or in-class project to work on. Most of the class time is the instructor talking at the students. She begins class by taking time to remind herself of which class she is in, and what they are studying (like a doc who doesn't read your chart before walking into the room). She chats quite a bit about her personal life, and if her young children are home, they are disruptive to the class.'

 

I could go on, but that's the general idea. I'd love to name her and the school, but I don't want to get anyone in trouble. Is this okay to say these things on a forum? This school in particular is not interested in hearing these critiques. They are certain their teachers are all wonderful.

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It's a great idea for a new homeschool website.  " Homeschool Online Class/Teacher Reviews"...

 

I mostly just share when someone asks about that particular subject or teacher. In other words, I just share naturally, as I would in real life, in a conversation.  It would be rude to hang up a sign outside my house that reviewed our local co-op poorly.  But, I can tell any individual who asks, what I think of the co-op.  

 

There are also pinned threads about particular subjects. Adding your review to a pinned thread seems perfectly fine to me.

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We have pinned threads where these type reviews can be posted - just be objective and factual not make it "a personal attack"  - look at examples that you would like to read 

Be aware that some students like different presentation methods - don't low rate a provider just because their face did not appear in videos or they did not have many videos! But do point out the presentation style.

 

For the most part these providers are not free and should expect both positive and negative critique.

Be sure to read any disclosure statements you "sign" with the provider.

If you don't name the provider/school and class - example "XYZ Homeschoolers" "Conceptual Physics 1"  then the review would be kind of worthless.

 

I certainly would like to see more objective type reviews - I have asked a few folks in the past but somewhere along the line they never did post anything. Oh well.

 

Mark

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The online class thread pinned to the top of the General Board is a great place for both positive and negative reviews, Often, I find that someone else's negatives (low output, not enough class meetings) are positives and their positives (teaches with graphing calculator, can do at your own pace) are negatives for us. So, it is good to list experiences so other people can judge for themselves.

ETA link:

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/638806-master-list-of-on-line-classes/page-1

Edited by RootAnn
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What about doing reviews like you suggested, sticking strictly to facts, in this pinned thread here?  As long as you are sticking to facts and you are giving this review in a thread that is really specifically for that purpose, to help people find on-line classes that would work for their particular child, I don't see that as poor etiquette.  And hopefully you will also be able to provide this teacher with some concrete feedback in that same vein so perhaps she can work to improve her offerings.  I don't believe in witch hunts but I do believe it is valid to provide facts, especially in the right venue.  even if those facts are not positive.

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/638806-master-list-of-on-line-classes/

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What about doing reviews like you suggested, sticking strictly to facts, in this pinned thread here?  As long as you are sticking to facts and you are giving this review in a thread that is really specifically for that purpose, to help people find on-line classes that would work for their particular child, I don't see that as poor etiquette.  And hopefully you will also be able to provide this teacher with some concrete feedback in that same vein so perhaps she can work to improve her offerings.  I don't believe in witch hunts but I do believe it is valid to provide facts, especially in the right venue.  even if those facts are not positive.

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/638806-master-list-of-on-line-classes/

For HS level classes - please prefer to use the pinned HS thread if it exists - We have Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Foreign Language currently

 

the Master list of on-line classes is nice but has less detail for HS classes.

 

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And I agree with the others, keep it to just facts and experiences.  What is a negative for one person may be a positive for someone else.  Different kids learn differently and different families have different needs.  If something didn't work for your family then yes, say so, but keep it to a neutral statement and why it didn't work.

 

For instance, you could say that your children needed more visuals than were provided in Ms. X's class and then briefly explain the specifics of how that class is presented.  No rancor.  Just a simple statement of facts and why this did not work for your particular children.

 

 

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For HS level classes - please prefer to use the pinned HS thread if it exists - We have Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Foreign Language currently

 

the Master list of on-line classes is nice but has less detail for HS classes.

Good point.  Perhaps I should set up a link between the pinned reviews on the HS forum and the Gen Ed forum since many have kids in multiple grades and might start with Gen Ed first.

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For HS level classes - please prefer to use the pinned HS thread if it exists - We have Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Foreign Language currently

 

the Master list of on-line classes is nice but has less detail for HS classes.

 

Personally, I'd prefer to see reviews of online classes in the online classes thread.

 

The threads by subject are great for listing what's out there as far as classes, curriculum, etc, but they're just too long to weed through looking for posts specifically reviewing classes. And, if one is considering a certain provider regardless of subject, one has to weed through multiple endless lists.

Edited by yvonne
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Personally, I'd prefer to see reviews of online classes in the online classes thread.

 

The threads by subject are great for listing what's out there as far as classes, curriculum, etc, but they're just too long to weed through looking for posts specifically reviewing classes. And, if one is considering a certain provider regardless of subject, one has to weed through multiple endless lists.

The reviews are posted by the reviewer so once you open the pinned the thread finding a specific provider is very easy using your Web search (usually control-F),  You would also see what is offered by this provider during your search.  Try it.

Unfortunately you may need to press Next for more pages unless someone knows how to open an entire thread in one web page.

 

Not sure how making a massive Master online thread with hundreds of reviews for all grades would make things easier when for example I am looking for online AP Chemistry classes.

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Not sure how making a massive Master online thread with hundreds of reviews for all grades would make things easier when for example I am looking for online AP Chemistry classes.

Because, right now, the reviews for specific providers ate linked in the first post of the master online thread. If more people posted reviews, it would be even more helpful.

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The reviews are posted by the reviewer so once you open the pinned the thread finding a specific provider is very easy using your Web search (usually control-F), You would also see what is offered by this provider during your search. Try it.

Unfortunately you may need to press Next for more pages unless someone knows how to open an entire thread in one web page.

 

Not sure how making a massive Master online thread with hundreds of reviews for all grades would make things easier when for example I am looking for online AP Chemistry classes.

What would be great would be if we had the ability to tag threads. We used to have that functionality in a previous incarnation of the forums. Now only the OP of a thread can tag. But someone asking questions may have no idea that there are a half dozen other relevant threads. Tags used to let us link up these discussions.

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The reviews are posted by the reviewer so once you open the pinned the thread finding a specific provider is very easy using your Web search (usually control-F), You would also see what is offered by this provider during your search. Try it.

Unfortunately you may need to press Next for more pages unless someone knows how to open an entire thread in one web page.

 

Not sure how making a massive Master online thread with hundreds of reviews for all grades would make things easier when for example I am looking for online AP Chemistry classes.

Out of curiosity wouldn't the CTRL F search be as effective in the master thread of online courses? And parents of 7-8th graders may not visit the high school board, even though their kids might be using some of the same courses.

 

A post in the chemistry thread wouldn't provide me any useful information about the provider if I'm considering them for math or physics.

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I could go on, but that's the general idea. I'd love to name her and the school, but I don't want to get anyone in trouble. Is this okay to say these things on a forum? This school in particular is not interested in hearing these critiques. They are certain their teachers are all wonderful.

 

i for one would love to know. i'm all about being transparent. i read reviews here on the boards and they mean a lot to me when choosing classes, but of cousse know everyone's experiences may vary and do weigh those. when i love a class, i'll shout it from the rooftops and when i don't, the same. i feel it's other homeschooling family's right to know if i found something i didn't like. in the interest of full transparency. after all, these classes aren't free. it's like amazon reviews - do you buy something more highly rated? yes. but still make the purchase despite some bad reviews? sure. it's called full disclosure.

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Out of curiosity wouldn't the CTRL F search be as effective in the master thread of online courses? And parents of 7-8th graders may not visit the high school board, even though their kids might be using some of the same courses.

 

A post in the chemistry thread wouldn't provide me any useful information about the provider if I'm considering them for math or physics.

"UNCLE"   :lol:

 

older folks here may understand!

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