Over the past 13 years, while working to research and restore the classical Catholic curriculum enjoyed by saints and wise men throughout history, I have also been working to learn as much as possible about all of the new technology that is changing education forever. I have experimented with every major learning system and communication platform that has emerged, working to understand what the real pros and cons are of them all. I have sacrificed a great deal to do this work, including many enrollments and negative publicity in the short term. I have, however, always maintained my focus on he long-term success of the mission of the CLAA and am able to move confidently in 2021, bringing together the timeless wisdom of the classical Catholic curriculum and the amazing benefits of modern technology. In fact, I believe that we are going to cause modern technology to do more good for classical Catholic studies than it will do for modern studies.
The most important experimentation I’ve done over the years has been with learning management systems (LMS). I have installed and tested them all–some quite extensively. Most of these systems are designed for use in one of two situations–neither of which apply to the CLAA. First, some are designed to serve modern K-12 schools, working on a 180-day school calendar. It is assumed that large numbers of teachers are managing relatively small numbers of students–neither of which is true in the CLAA. Second, others are designed to serve adult students enrolling themselves in online courses, which is not the primary concern in the CLAA.
In 2022 I will be opening a permanent online study center for CLAA students. I will be using a highly customized Moodle installation that I know will be able to serve our unique needs. I have been impressed by Moodle’s commitment to adapting to serve developing technology, including mobile devices, which are going to be more and more important in the future. I believe that Moodle is stable enough to serve all of the Academy’s needs for years to come–and I am primarily concerned with young students getting started who will have the opportunity over the next 10-15 years of studying the entire classical Catholic curriculum.
Benefits for parents and students in the CLAA Study Center will include:
- automated lesson progression
- easy access to all course study materials
- exclusive access to lesson videos
- online quizzes for every lesson
- online assignment tools for every lesson
- online gradebooks for every course
- complete student records system
- student-teacher communication tools
- …and much more
The existing CLAA website will remain as is, providing for all Academy content, enrollment, etc. Student pages will be replaced by student accounts on the new CLAA Study Center. The new CLAA Forums will radically improve support and community among parents and students.
I have already begun filling out the CLAA Study Center and have my own children working in it so that I can be sure the future experience of CLAA students is trouble-free. My plan is to welcome students in the new CLAA Study Center in 2022, but I will allow students to get started sooner if parents wish for them to do so. To discuss this, please contact me.
If you’re curious and would like to start poking around, you are welcome to do so. Simply go to https://classicalliberalarts.com/study. I have added a link on the website menu for easy access.
God bless your studies,
William C. Michael, Headmaster
Classical Liberal Arts Academy