THE INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE OPEN WORLD SCHOOLS PILOT: EXTENDING ACCESS TO AN IB EDUCATION
The International Baccalaureate Open World School pilot-project explores the IB Diploma Programme (DP) experience and considers the larger question as to how this experience can be extended to students unable an IB education locally. For the first time, students from schools not offering the IB are offered the opportunity to enrol in an IB DP course online enabling them to participate in an international educational experience as a member of a global, virtual cohort. By linking with an authorized IB World School, students undertake a two–year online DP course that meets the IB’s rigorous academic standards for curriculum and examinations. In this online secure, IB teacher-facilitated environment, students enjoy collaboration with peers worldwide, while developing essential skills and expanding their global perspectives.
In 2011, four schools were selected to work with the IB to form the Open World Schools (IBOWS) pilot, an effort to explore how the Diploma Programme experience could be extended to students who would otherwise be unable to access an IB education. The IB World Schools would recruit non-IB schools (link schools) whose students would take on the DP courses offered by the IB through its online course provider, Pamoja Education. The stated goal was to give the students in the link schools and authentic IB experience.
This presentation will provide an overview of the results of the case study conducted in May 2013 which reviewed the first year of student enrolment in the pilot and explored the lived experiences of participating students and key stakeholders involved in the pilot. Considerations raised by the case study include sustainability and capacity building; maintaining global collaborative environments; emerging models of delivery for the pilot ; questions of access; required support for online learners; and how to ensure elements of an IB education through a single course in the virtual environment.