Students and teachers weigh benefits of online courses

Russian, Japanese, Calligraphy, Nutrition, Interior Design, Child Development and specialized math classes; what do these courses have in common? None of them are offered at San Marin. Brigham Young University Independent Study High School Courses is a program that offers online classes to students. This program is used for students who travel frequently, are homebound due to illness, move often or struggle in a traditional high school setting.
According to counselor and AVID coordinator Caroline Carlin, these classes can benefit students, but can also be very difficult.
“[Online courses] can be more challenging, because it is not a traditional classroom environment that students are used to, and students need to figure out a routine or schedule that works best for them, so they can complete the class in a timely manner,” Carlin said. “There is no teacher or counselor checking in on the grade or progress in the class; it is the student’s responsibility to stay up to date and find out ways to get help.”
She also explained that online courses can be beneficial, because some students thrive when they work independently, while others prefer the one-on-one accountability and connection from an in-class teacher.
An anonymous freshman student takes an online math class and plans on applying for a Russian class in the future. She attends online classes, because she likes the challenge and independence associated with the course; however, she would not recommend online classes to every student.
She said that in order to take an online class, you need to have “determination, dedication, motivation, commitment, time and understanding of the curriculum.”
Her math class consists of eight units with self-check and show-your-work assignments. It also has a midterm, final exam and online meetings with the professors.She signs on to the program almost daily and feels like her math skills have progressed from taking the class.
Junior Nathan Luis took Algebra II over the summer between his freshman and sophomore year and is planning on enrolling in AP Calculus BC next year. He was bored in math and wanted to advance his math skills. Online classes worked better with his schedule, and he didn’t have to commute to a college campus.
“[Online classes] helped me a lot, because I was able to get ahead in math, and I feel I am better off for college now,” Luis said.
For many students, online classes allow them to advance in their future career, concentrate better, to avoid time spent commuting and most importantly, make sure that they are getting a good education in the proper environment for themselves.

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