Attention class, meet your virtual teacher, Dawn Goldberg.
Mrs. Goldberg is the founder of Write Well University, a virtual school that teaches writing skills over the Internet.
The startup school offers live, online writing lessons to people from across the world looking to improve their writing skills.
“You need to write well no matter what you are doing,” said Mrs. Goldberg.
“Take e-mails, for instance. Writing skills are important in e-mails because if you’re not communicating well it will impact your success in that job.”
The former personal assistant started the school last year in order to encourage better writing skills among Web-savvy writers.
The school has no bricks or mortar. It conducts all of its lessons over the Internet and the phone.
The virtual classroom might seem like a challenging environment for most teachers, but Mrs. Goldberg has been conducting her business online for years.
“You could say that I’m pretty comfortable in the virtual world,” she said.
Until a few years ago, she was owner of Virtual Angel, a home-based administrative business in Gaithersburg.
As a virtual administrative assistant, Mrs. Goldberg helped several corporate clients field phone calls and organize their schedules.
She decided to use the skills she learned from her virtual job and apply them to her new university.
“There is a bigger reach if I do this online,” she said. “Sometimes geography can create a barrier to education. But in the virtual world, people can do this from home and in their pajamas if they want.”
The school, which just completed its first semester, offers three programs which are taught by Mrs. Goldberg and another trainer.
Students can choose classes that teach reading, writing and grammar, then move onto more advanced aspects of writing including style and voice.
These programs can be completed in a 24-week course for $2,500, a six-week course for $450 and a four-week course for $200.
Mrs. Goldberg said that many of her students enroll so that they can become better bloggers, reporters or authors.
She draws upon her skills as a veteran English teacher at Austin Junior High, a public school in Irving, Texas, and a volunteer for Friends of Operation LIST, a Dallas nonprofit literacy organization.
She also taught for LADO Enterprises Inc., an English-as-a-second-language program in Silver Spring.
For now, Mrs. Goldberg says her biggest challenge is getting her virtual school off the ground.
“I think it’s a great idea, and I’m trying to make sure that other people think so, too,” she said.
Mrs. Goldberg graduated from Southern Methodist University of Dallas in 1993 with an bachelor’s degree in English.
She lives in Gaithersburg with her husband Chris and their two children, Kathryn and Anastasia.
— Bryce Baschuk