Online course equips students headed to undergraduate programs with information and strategies for withstanding anti-Semitism and related challenges
Boston – Dec. 27, 2018 – A new online course introduced by The Virtual High School’s Online Judaic Studies Consortium (OJSC) this year has earned a significant amount of enthusiastic approval from participants. The course, Preparing for Life on Campus: Exploring the Complexities of Jewish Identity and Israel, teaches about Israel-related challenges that students may encounter on college campuses – particularly Antisemitism.
The course units address the relationship of the student with Israel as well as the significance of intersectionality and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. It also provides an opportunity for students to develop their own thoughts and strategies to help them be educated about these issues before encountering them in a post-high school environment.
“One of my biggest takeaways from this course was learning about BDS and how to better tackle the hate surrounding it,” said Jessica Romershteyn, Denver Jewish Day School. “I found that interacting with other students and hearing their perspectives was very helpful in understanding other people’s takes on these issues.”
The course was created by a team of subject matter experts and curriculum developers led by Jonathan Cannon, Head of School of The Ramaz School in Manhattan and former Head of School at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, MD. He also directs the AVI CHAI-sponsored summer program for JDS leaders at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
The course set the following objectives for students:
· Considering the types of challenges regarding issues around Israel and Middle East politics that are likely to be encountered on college campuses.
· Researching viewpoints relating to the Middle East conflict through the study of original sources and opinion pieces, and by participating in discussion and debate with classmates.
· Identifying some strategies and approaches to help manage challenging situations that might arise.
· Reflecting on how their own personal identities, experiences and values affect their viewpoints and actions.
“Students on college campuses have to grapple with complex issues and tensions at a time when many are on their own for the very first time,” said Carol Ribeiro, President & CEO of The Virtual High School. “We’re gratified that so many of our OJSC students feel that this course has prepared them to maintain a firm hold on their Jewish identity and thrive in college.”
About The Virtual High School (VHS, Inc.) and The Online Judaic Studies Consortium
The Online Judaic Studies Consortium (OnlineJudaicStudies.org) is a community of Jewish day schools working collaboratively VHS to develop and deliver high quality online Judaic studies courses. The Virtual High School (VHS Inc.) is an online learning pioneer. Since 1996, the nonprofit organization based in Massachusetts has set the standard for quality online education. VHS provides courses taught in global online classrooms for secondary school students and online professional development for educators. The organization also meets the unique educational needs of schools through custom course development and individualized course offerings. For more information, visit www.vhslearning.org or call (978) 897-1900.
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