This week’s Illinois Virtual School Teacher Spotlight is Margaret Donnelly. Ms. Donnelly has been with IVS since the programs infancy as IVHS. Margaret holds a Bachelor of Science from The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and an MSed from Northwestern University. Margaret currently teaches Astronomy, Earth Science 1 and 2, Meteorology, and Credit Recovery Biology and Credit Recovery Physical Science. Away from IVS, Ms. Donnelly’s hobbies include reading and hiking. When we asked her to tell us a little about herself, Margaret said: “I have been married to my husband for over 20 years. We have two wonderful children. As a family, we enjoy sports and travel.
Ms. Donnelly recently answered a few questions for IVS.
IVS: Why did you decide to begin teaching online?
MD: When people ask me how I got started in IVS, I reply “They called me.” Back in 2001, I received a call from IVHS administration asking me if I would be interested in participating in a new state program that allowed students to take classes over the internet. I immediately saw the value of the program and how the program could provide unique opportunities to students across the state. I was so excited about the program and I still am! I am so glad I answered that call!
IVS: In what ways do you interact and get to know your students? How does this compare to your experience teaching a brick-and-mortar course?
MD: Online discussions are the best! In online classes, all students participate in the discussions. Often in traditional brick and mortar environments, only a few students have their hands raised and voices heard. It is my opinion that often high schoolers don’t want to say things in front of their peers for social reasons. This does not happen online. Students are freer to share their experiences and insights. As a result, the online environment is superior for students discussions.
IVS: What benefits exist for students when taking an online course?
MD: I teach Astronomy and Meteorology. Most schools can not support these classes due to their lack of ability to fill a full class and/or many schools are inhibited from offering the classes because of cost. IVS is the solution! Students who have an interest in these unique fields can enroll at IVS and get in-depth experiences while working with other students from around the state who share similar passions and interests.
IVS: What advice may you offer to students who are not sure if the online environment is a proper fit for them?
MD: In a world that is becoming more and more digital, a digital class makes sense. It will help prepare you for the future and allow you to learn more about subjects that you are interested in learning about. IVS has great instructors who want you to be successful. We also have a talented technology team dedicated to help you! IVS is a great opportunity and one you should take advantage of. If you register for the class and you learn that it is not for you, you can drop the class before the posted drop date and there is no penalty nor charge.
IVS thanks Ms. Donnelly for taking some time to share her thoughts about online education. If you would like to enroll in one of Ms. Donnelly’s courses, like Astronomy or Meteorology, click HERE to get started.