Online classes provide alternative option for core courses


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Alexa Clark, Print Editor-in-Chief

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) offer online alternatives to almost every class at Madison, even certain electives. Some students complete physical education online for the free period at the end of the day, or the opportunity to take an extra class. However, many students may be unfamiliar with the option to take core classes, specifically English classes, online.

FCPS online classes meet once a week on a designated day for the subject of the class. For example, English classes will have an online meeting every Tuesday as that is the designated meeting day for English classes. The students determine the time the class will meet and are required to participate in a hour-long discussion led by the teacher.

“Taking an online class hasn’t hurt my learning experience in any way,” English 12 Honors online student, Jasmine Nguyen (’19) said. “Online English has all the typical components of an in-person class.”

Students often worry about communicating with teachers through online courses. While a class without face-to-face interaction appears detrimental to a student’s education, a student’s individual needs will ultimately determine his or her academic success in an online class. Just like any other teacher, online course instructors are available through email and provide feedback on certain assignments. Students who require a more hands-on approach to teaching will likely prefer an in person class.

As responsibilities from daily classes become overwhelming, online courses allow students to pace themselves as assignments are due weekly. Depending on the class, the course load and difficulty will vary; online classes are not necessarily easier or harder than their in person counterparts. For instance, the AP Literature and Composition online course requires students to write an essay almost every week for AP exam preparation. While the in person class does not assign an essay every week, it does introduce students to literature different from the writings of the online curriculum. On the other hand, students taking the online course will have a week to write an essay and learn the lessons at their own pace.

“Online classes have allowed me to explore a different method of teaching, and I think diversity in learning is important for any well-rounded education,” AP English Literature and Composition online student, Hannan Mumtaz (’19) said.