SAT prep academy broadens reach by offering courses online
Since its 2004 founding, MyeAcademy has provided college-bound students with instruction to improve their scores on the SAT Reasoning test. With more than 80 percent of its students improving their SAT scores by 200 to 450 points, MyeAcademy leaders knew their teaching methods were working. As a next step, they wanted to make their instruction available to more students, across a wider geographical area, and with even more effectiveness.
The 15-employee company, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., has developed an approach to SAT instruction that involves a battery of upfront testing on sample SAT tests, enabling instructors to assess student skill levels and tailor their lessons accordingly. Until recently, the academy had been applying these teaching methods exclusively through onsite instruction. However, determined to stand out from the pack in an increasingly crowded test preparation market and eager to extend its proven teaching methods to areas such as ESL (english as a second language) and chinese instruction, MyeAcademy began researching online teaching solutions.
“Over the last five years, we’ve developed some very effective teaching methods,” said MyeAcademy vice president De-Yin Jeng. “Now we want to use online technology not only to reach more students but to enhance the instruction as well.” The solution MyeAcademy settled on is Cisco? Webex? training center.
As MyeAcademy prepares to roll out its first full schedule of live online classes, students and teachers alike are already benefiting from the online teaching environment. According to MyeAcademy president Mindy Sun Li, participants in the academy’s free online vocabulary training sessions have responded enthusiastically to interactive vocabulary instruction based on a Cisco solution that combines Microsoft office PowerPoint presentations with video, pictures, and graphics to approach difficult words from multiple angles.
“The Webex training center polling feature enables us to let students take tests online and then analyze those results immediately,” said Li. “We’ve written programs to pinpoint student weaknesses and instantly see where they need to improve. It takes much, much longer to accomplish the same task in an onsite course. Achieving a similar level of customization and targeted learning is simply impossible offline.”
For its summer session, the first to include full online SAT preparation rather than only vocabulary classes, MyeAcademy is offering twice as many online classes as onsite ones. Online instruction has also enabled MyeAcademy to double its class sizes and increase teaching capacity by 200 percent. Already drawing students from across the United States and around the globe, MyeAcademy can now hire teachers from around the world as well.
With 95 percent of the online students declaring themselves “highly satisfied” with the online courses, students are interacting just as they would in an onsite class: posting questions, using the whiteboard to annotate discussions, and chatting with instructors and classmates. In addition, all of the courses are recorded, enabling students to review them at their convenience.
With a proven teaching methodology and the cisco Webex technology to deliver it in an interactive online environment, Li sees enormous growth potential for MyeAcademy. “Because of Cisco Webex, we have the capability to expand our academic offerings, adding courses in eSL and chinese,” she said. “But first we’re going to do the SAT instruction: we’re going to do it right, and we’re going to do it well.”
For more information about WebEx applications for education, please visit www.webex.com/go/learning.
To view a web seminar about online learning with WebEx, please visit www.districtadministration.com/webex.