Monday, November 21, 2011

Time4Writing Review

Our two-week trial has sadly come to an end. It's time to share our thoughts about this program. Note: My son (age 8) was signed up for the "elementary paragraphs" course. 

-The course lessons could be completed at his pace. This is a huge bonus for my competitively-spirited ds. He loves working toward a laid-out goal of this type. The complete course was an 8-week course. During our 2 weeks he was able to finish 3/8 of the lessons. 
-The program lessons for this introduction to writing paragraphs were put together very well sequentially. The lesson was usually introduced by a video in which a teacher would tell what the new concept was. It was followed by some computer-graded lessons which would test whether the student understood the concept. There would then be a writing assignment that was turned in to an actual teacher. Within 24 hours the teacher would respond with comments and a grade.
-The teacher was great. Her feedback was given in a very positive manner and he took each suggestion very well (much better than he does from me).  :)
-Before beginning the program I wondered what the grading criteria would be. For this course a certain number of points were taken off for spelling and grammatical errors. This was clearly stated at the beginning which was very helpful. 

-Ds worked just about every weekday on a lesson during the first week. The second week was much busier around here for us and unfortunately he didn't get much of a chance to log in for the second week. That was certainly a missed opportunity since he really enjoyed the program. I suppose if I had purchased the 8-week course and then had some unexpected things had come up (preventing us from logging in as much as we'd like) I might feel as if I wasn't "getting my money's worth".  
-Since ds successfully completed his teacher-graded writing assignments, I can't say what would happen if a student didn't. For example, for an assignment to "write three supporting sentences for each topic sentence below" what would happen if a couple of the supporting sentences didn't really have a lot to do with the topic sentence? Would the student be asked to re-do the assignment or would points be taken off?
-This was my first experience using an online course with an actual teacher. I don't know what the average price is for such courses so I can't compare it numerically with anything. I can say that I would have a difficult time paying quite this much for an 8-week course for my third-grader. I might be willing to do so for a more advanced student, however, if I felt that he or she could really benefit from the expertise (think high school transcripts). I also wonder what would have happened if I purchased the 8-week course and he finished in 4 weeks. Have I purchased the course or have I purchased 8-weeks?

I would sincerely like to thank for this amazing opportunity to try their Elementary Paragraphs Course.

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