The recent addition of Virtual High School (VHS) courses to the CESJDS curriculum has become extremely popular. The VHS courses are classes that students can register to take online during school hours. Last year, these online classes were fully booked, with some kids even trying to switch in from their original classes. In sum, the online classes were a huge hit.
When the time came to register for classes, I was told I couldn’t have two free periods. People suggested I take an art, but then I found out about the new course options for online classes for the 2019-2020 school year.
I was looking for something more on the fun side and did not want to take Creative Writing or Constitutional Law. That’s when I noticed Oceanography. I thought, wouldn’t it be awesome to be the first JDS student to take online Oceanography?
At first, it was difficult. Getting used to the VHS website, requirements and expectations were very different from a typical class. In my opinion, the one aspect of the class that is the hardest––and one that I am still getting used to––is not having face-to-face time with your teacher.
At JDS, we are extremely fortunate to have wonderful teachers who take the time to meet with us whenever we need; however, communication with my online teacher is quite complicated. If I have any questions, I need to write her a private message on a discussion board and wait about 24 hours for a response. Additionally, the teacher only responds during the week (Monday through Friday) so if I do any work over the weekend and have questions, I need to wait until Monday for a response.
Nevertheless, I’ve already seen a benefit in taking an online class. Being able to do the work on my own time allows me the ability to prioritize my workload. If I come home from school and have a test and a quiz the next day as well as math homework and an English reading, I can push off doing one of the online class lessons for the next day when I know I’ll have less homework to do.
On top of that, getting an entire period in my schedule for the class gives me the ability to get the work done quickly, allowing me to use the period as a study hall until the next week’s lessons are published. Basically, the online class is an easy way for me to learn and to manage my workload.
Another reason that my online class is beneficial is that senior year is tough. Between school, extracurriculars and college applications, I barely have time to sit down and relax. Having the privilege of taking a fun, interesting and undemanding online class allows me to have some downtime in my day.
Luckily for me, taking Oceanography allows me to learn about our world through a different lense than most JDS students. I like my class so far, and I hope many other students will see how taking an online class can be beneficial to their high school experience.
This story was featured in Volume 37, Issue 2 print edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on Oct. 4, 2019.