When I had to switch to online classes my junior year, I was nervous. The previous 11 years of my education were always the traditional teacher talking to a classroom full of students. I did really great with this form of education because there was the physical presence of a teacher in front of me […]
When I had to switch to online classes my junior year, I was nervous. The previous 11 years of my education were always the traditional teacher talking to a classroom full of students. I did really great with this form of education because there was the physical presence of a teacher in front of me who I could disappoint.
But what happens when that teacher becomes just another illusion on your screen?
I found out that it was a lot harder to motivate yourself and way too easy to procrastinate. You technically still have a teacher out there somewhere on the other side of the country grading your work electronically, but there is no one actually teaching you the information in order to do the work. You become the teacher.
Liz Shyer (‘20), who took CB’s new online comparative religion course this summer, agreed that it is difficult when your teacher is not physically present.
“You don’t have direct contact with the teacher, just emailing them if you have questions.”
Having your teacher in completely different time zones can be grueling. It requires early morning calls from them while you’re still groggy just so they can check that you’re actually the one doing the work.
To keep myself on track, I went to cafes like Temple to Old Soul, allowing me to separate school and relaxing at home. But some people don’t need this physical distinction. Liz was able to just separate her time and just used her bedroom to study.
My experience from Liz’s was very different. I began my online classes with a well established online program while she was part of CB’s small group that tested their new online summer class. Like all new classes, there can be problems. So I asked Mr. Julian Elorduy ‘03, who taught CB’s online comparative religion class, to get a teacher’s point of view of online courses.
Mr. Elorduy informed me that teaching an online course “requires having the class outlined from beginning to end before getting started.”
But despite that obstacle, Mr. Elorduy says he does love some of the aspects of online classes. He says that he loves how the dialogue “isn’t as confined by time” and that the online discussion he says is often better because “students can be more articulate when they are able to think about it and write in a discussion rather than verbally talking.”
Having time to think about what want to say rather than being put on the spot in a class discussion allows the more quiet and shy students to provide their own opinions to the discussion.
To anyone on the edge about taking an online course, Mr. Elorduy says you don’t have to be an honors student to succeed in an online class.
“As technologically proficient as all of our students seem to be, any one student could do well. They might just need some reinforcement.”
Although online school may not be your cup of tea, it may be the best way to open up your schedule to take that elective you’ve always wanted or to help you get back on track to graduate with your peers.