Online, college classes provide options to students

Dylan Berry, Staff Writer

Students today have more than just the traditional classroom setting as an option for gaining an education. A number of high school have taken advantage of courses offered by both the North Carolina Virtual Public High School and the College of the Albemarle.

In online classes offered by NCVPH students use a computer to connect to the class website via the Internet. They communicate with their professor and other students through email, discussion forums or chat rooms. Teachers provide lectures and notes through screen-casts and online documents. Like in the traditional classroom, assignments follow the lessons and students are given a time frame in which to complete it.

“With online classes you can work at your own pace,” junior Jenna Zottoli said.

Students who sign up for online classes should be self-motivated and skilled in technology.

“Always do your work. The last thing you want to do is get behind,”  junior Taylor Weaver. “Just tell yourself if I do this now, I will have time for Netflix later.”

There are advantages and disadvantages to online classes. The disadvantages are discipline and sense of responsibility to see a course through. Sometimes there are instances when the credits you get online are difficult to transfer into an “actual” credit in a school. Students may also feel isolated from other students.

The advantages of online classes are they fit in schedules easier and they allow students to work at their own pace.

“One advantage of taking an online course is you have extra time for in class assignments and the teachers get more descriptive because you can not see the person face to face,” junior Megan Brinkley said.

In a recent report, the North Carolina Department of Education found that, on average, students doing some or all of the course online would rank in the 59th percentile in performance while an average classroom scored in the 50th percentile.

“For a lot of students I would say that online classes are not a good idea because it requires the students to have more responsibility and learn on their own and a lot of our students don’t do that well,” guidance counselor Marie White said. “Also they need explanations and directions in front of them. For the majority of our students traditional classes would be the better choice.”

With online classes, students still complete written assignments and take tests and quizzes. Assignments and tests are still graded by instructors and feedback and grades are given.

“You have about the same amount of work to do for class, and also the teacher is willing to answer any questions for any of the assignments given,” Brinkley said.

Juniors and seniors also have the opportunity to enroll in classes at COA. Although it is a small school with two year degree programs, they offer courses that are varied and essential to those students who wish to pursue postsecondary education. Classes available this years students include: Psychology 150, English 111, History 112, Music 110, welding, Sociology 210, art appreciation, college transfer success and various math courses.

“The classes at COA have already started my college transcript which is nice to have because I can take less classes in a four-year university making it cheaper for me. Having these classes also shows colleges that I am encouraged to take a further step in my academic progression,” senior Devin Munden said.

This pathway allows students to begin earning college credits as high school students. These courses are very different from high school courses. Students learn at a faster pace and the work is harder.    

“COA affects our schedule by making it more challenging and giving us a bigger workload. Balancing the school work isn’t too bad though because unlike high school college work isn’t due the next day,” said senior Nathaniel Cahoon.

Both online and COA classes are great opportunities that are available to students. Participating in one or both of these options, allow students to take classes not offered at this high school or get a jump-start on their college transcript. For more information about either of these programs, set up a meeting with one of the school’s guidance counselors.