Helios? What’s that?

By: Alex Mintz

            Have you ever heard of Helios? You might have heard of it through teachers or you may have not heard of it at all. Either way, it is something new that became popular during this time. TCP and other Arizona schools are using this program during this pandemic. So, what exactly is Helios, who teaches this, and what do the original continued distance learners do?
            Helios is a program that has various classes you can take. These courses are very similar to anything that is taught at TCP. However, there are much more programs such as graphic design. The program is mostly based on Canvas, an educational app just like Moodle, where you can receive notifications from teachers and turn in assignments. Continued distance learners are also sent quizzes, links to videos or eBooks, and worksheets. Helios revolves around Canvas and any apps that a teacher may require you to download. An example of an app is Remind. It is a messaging app that notifies students about any news and allows students to talk with their teachers privately.

            Each course is taught by a qualified teacher that takes each student through the course. These teachers have it set up a certain way for students to complete assignments at a specific time. Each class has a certain way of teaching which is why there are syllabuses. When CDLs came in, they were immediately told to read the syllabus and were quizzed. These discussed what each week was going to look like. For example, there were quizzes listed on it which told students when they would be open. Since these teachers might also teach other students, there are little to no online meetings with the teacher and class. They, however, have office hours where students can talk to the teachers with any questions they might have.  This allows CDLs to understand the new material that is given each week.
            What is does a continued distance learner’s education look like now? It is almost like what continued distance learners did before. It is an independent study where you learn the material yourself and ask questions to the teacher. Some students have classes at Tri-City because there might not be any classes on Helios. Others might have to choose a class that is provided on Helios. Unless you have a TCP class or meeting with the teachers on Helios, you do not have any Teams meetings for the entire day. It is simply an independent study session where time management and planning are the key to success.  

It is a game changer this semester for continued distance learners. New teachers, new assignments, and new programs. It’s a little new for the continued distance learners. Helios is a program with many teachers than can help continued distance learners through this semester. Many different programs such as Canvas and Remind are used to complete assignments and talk to these teachers when in need of guidance. However, it is an independent study session where you learn the material yourself. So, this is Helios.