Mixed Feelings As Flexible Learning Takes Off

Cristina Marquez, staff writer

Most students expected to complete a full year of schooling on campus, but unfortunately due to the recent Coronavirus outbreak that is no longer a possibility for West Brook Bruins.

  To tackle the issue of finishing the last ten weeks of the 2019-2020 school year, online schooling was introduced. 

Some courses are on district-purchased platforms like Edgenuity, Google Classroom, or AP Central. Teachers have also been able to hold meetings with students on a video platform called Zoom. 

Throughout this process of becoming accustomed to life in quarantine, this question must be asked; how effective is online school?

My experience on these academic platforms leads me to believe that virtual teaching will not be able to compete with the traditional, in-person teaching.

The first issue with electronic courses, is the time lost to preparing online courses. Having started a week later than expected, teachers lost a week that could’ve been used for instruction. 

When online school finally did start, more time was lost to ensure that students were on the right track. 

“ The first day was challenging,” sophomore Reese Lindow saide “getting used to operating on almost four different platforms caused more stress than should’ve been necessary.”

Next comes asking whether online classes possess the same level of success as in-person classes do. For this portion of the article, my main focus will be on the Edgenuity platform. One of the biggest issues in online school — asking for help — turns into a chore. 

“Having an in-person teacher in the classroom is much better to ask questions and get a better explanation than it would be to guess and potentially mess up.” sophomore Kyler Harrington said.

Another issue with Edgenuity that students are talking about is that when you get a wrong answer, no explanation is provided as to why. Without a teacher to ask for help, many lessons in subjects such as math and science may not be taught to the effect necessary for future success in those subjects. That leads to the most important issue in online school, which is being unprepared for the upcoming school year.

As a sophomore, I am currently taking PreAp Chemistry. Next year I plan on taking AP Chemistry. As a result, I can already imagine spending the bulk of my summer  teaching myself important chemistry topics that should have already been taught. 

“I think it’ll be hard to keep up during the next school year, sophomore Katlyn Huynh said. we’re missing out on a portion of instruction that’s supposed to prepare us for next year.”

Nonetheless, there are measures that teachers can and are taking to improve a student’s experience. For example Tiffany Nguyen, PreAP Algebra II teacher, sent out a calendar to students to show what they should be working on each day. Britton Peveto, AP U.S. History teacher, hosts daily Zoom meetings and answers any and all questions that her students may have regarding tested material or school in general. The district is also sending motivational videos featuring teachers, encouraging them to reach out to teachers if they need any help.

There are advantages of doing online school, as you are in the comfort of your own home, can work at your own pace, and, as Harrington put it, “… you don’t have to worry about getting sick from the pandemic!”