Opinion: Absurd online class requirement

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Opinion: Absurd online class requirement

Students work hard at their computers during class.

Students work hard at their computers during class.

Samantha Little

Students work hard at their computers during class.

Samantha Little

Samantha Little

Students work hard at their computers during class.

Christa Cole, Feature Page Editor

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One of the requirements for an advanced diploma: an online class. Why? I really don’t know, and honestly, I really don’t agree. It doesn’t seem necessary.

Scheduling for my freshman year, I had a gap. I asked around, seeing what my friends were doing. Discovering that I had some friends taking online economics, I decided to take it too. I remembered both econ and an online class are required, so why not get it over with?

I later found out the major downside to taking the class online; I remember nothing. Nothing! This isn’t the “I remember nothing,” you get after you take a regular class and forget the details of some topics; this is full-out, blank-slate, you-couldn’t-torture-me-to-get-this-information-correct “I remember nothing”. I can’t recall the slightest thing about the topics. I don’t know the difference between a pension plan and a 401K, I have no clue how to calculate an annualized ROI or the maximum percentage of income that should go towards your car. It’s all gone.

Frankly, I barely remembered information even before I took the test. The program was so hard to grasp in places. I had to retake tests multiple times, which, admittedly, is far from normal for me. I usually never have to take tutorials multiple times, take the online mastery tests nine times or have to take practice quizzes over and over to make sure I know the information.

Now, I’m not saying this course was particularly hard overall, because it wasn’t. It was fine, easy enough. In fact, in some areas, it was really easy. There were just random areas that were impossible to get through with a good grade, which, if you know me, is required. To make it even harder, some concepts are just incomprehensible, and when you need help because nothing makes sense, there isn’t a teacher to help you. There’s no one to ask, and if the resources you are given by the class are no help, what is there to do?

There were two upsides to this class being in my schedule. One was being done with both semesters before Christmas break. The second, the exam didn’t count for a grade. The first is nice because I have had study hall for over half the year. If I’m being honest, though, I really don’t need a study hall in my freshman year. Sure, I really appreciate it. It’s a great time to do geometry homework or get some last minute interviews, but I would do just fine without it, and I would have learned more taking another class or the same class in a different way.

The second advantage of the free-exam was much appreciated, but still, it made me feel bad. I guessed my way through every single question on that exam. Sure, a few were common sense, but I was still never 100% certain of my answer before clicking the next button. I felt like I had learned nothing, like my brain wasn’t able to grasp these ideas and it made me feel dumb. I hated it. The free exam though, again, that was nice. Thanks to the people who wanted to compare the scores to those who took the actual class and have the exam count. I owe you one.
Econ was not my only online class. I also had to take health class online during summer gym class. It was slightly easier to remember because of the visual components of the course and also it was just an easier class in general. Still, I forgot the course within weeks.

In addition to the Economics and Health classes, learning a language online is extremely difficult. I have friends who take languages online and their learning is stunted by the technology involved. Not having a teacher in person makes the process quite arduous for a regular class, but for a language it’s even harder. One of my friends is taking two languages currently, one online and one in a classroom. She’s taking Chinese online and Spanish in class, and she is retaining Spanish in larger quantities and more easily despite being fluent in speaking Chinese.

There are situations where I believe taking an online class is completely reasonable. For example, another one of my friends wants to take Greek, and that’s pretty cool. I’m all for it. She can’t take the class here since there are no Greek teachers at the high school, she’ll take it online.

There’s also the scheduling thing. If there is one credit that is crucial to graduate but just can’t be fit anywhere else in four years of high school, then sure, taking an online class is totally understandable.

What isn’t understandable is why students are required to take a class where they will learn a smaller amount with less efficiency and guidance, despite there being a classroom and teacher for the same subject. Yes, I am glad I have the credit to my name, but I just wish I could remember something that I supposedly learned.

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