MANATEE -- Florida Virtual School is now offering classes in photography, social media and parenting skills.
The new Florida Virtual School Community Learning Program features four enrichment courses for adults 18 and older interested in learning new skills. It is an addition to the 16-year-old Florida Virtual School program.
Florida Virtual School teachers will lead the classes in weekly live sessions. Like with the kindergarten through twelfth grade program, the adult program will allow students to learn at their own pace.
Courses are creative photography 1, creative photography 2, parenting skills and positive parenting strategies and social media classes.
The courses are scheduled to run monthly and are about eight weeks in length. The first courses began Jan. 6 and are designed to be completed in eight weeks. Registration is currently open for start dates of Feb. 3 and March 3.
Although the Community Learning Program courses have a specific start date, students can work through the courses on their own schedule.
"This flexibility is appealing for busy adults," said Tania Clow, the community relations specialist for Florida Virtual School.
While no academic credit is awarded upon completion, Clow said the courses are meant for enrichment. Florida Virtual School does not foresee offering these courses for academic credit at this time, Clow said.
For the first month of courses, creative photography has been in the highest demand.
Creative photography teacher MarcAntony Ronco said students sign up in hopes of fine tuning their hobbies or taking a course they never had the time to take.
Ronco said students can expect to learn about aperture, shutter speed, expo
sure, lighting and composition through reading and hands-on assignments.
"My favorite part of class is the module devoted to landscape," Ronco said. "I call it the field trip module. It gives students the opportunity to go out and about, which is something I encourage."
Ronco also teaches a Florida Virtual School photography class for high schoolers. The adult class has fewer assignments, and exams are optional.
Darcey Addo, an English teacher for Florida Virtual School, is teaching the social media class.
The course started as a pilot and was approved by the Florida Department of Education two months ago. The course is offered for adults and as an elective for middle and high school students.
"This is not a how-to course, but a course that teaches students how to use social media to promote their passions," Addo said.
Addo said many of the adult students plan to use the course as a platform to leverage social media for their businesses.
"The main objective is to see how they can use social media to promote positive change, whatever that means to each student," Addo said.
At the end of the course, Addo has students write a "words of wisdom" assignment for future social media students.
"It is important for students to understand their digital footprint and their responsibility online," Addo said. "What they post online stays with them forever."
Tuition for each class is $90.
Clow said Florida Virtual School hopes to expand the community learning program and add more courses based on student feedback.
"Lifelong learning is a wonderful thing," Clow said. "We should never stop learning and improving and trying to grow."
Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.