Online learning presents dichotomy

A reflection on web-based academia


John Miller

The interface that greets students in the GOA program.

Willy Verneris, Contributing Writer

Currently, there are 22 Blake students enrolled in 17 Global Online Academy classes, where they work with students from all around the world.

I have taken Big History, a GOA class that was first offered in the 2014-2015 school year.

During my time taking this class I worked with people from the Republic of Jordan and the state of Ohio.

The two things that I found most important in online courses are mastering online communication – both emails and Skype calls-and not procrastinating, as time zones can create issues.

Talking on Skype is not like any face to face conversation and it is much more challenging when you are  not only talking to a classmate, but also a stranger.

In Big History, many emails were sent that were not opened until the next day due to difference in time zones, so it was important to stay on task and make time count, because your classmates may be going to bed in the next hour.

Beth Calderone, the only teacher of freshman Big History course recognizes the challenges in online learning, but she also understands the important skills and lessons it teaches: “The nature of an online course is that once a term starts, you are on until it ends,” says Calderone.

I experienced a challenge of online learning first hand when I had an assignment due on a Saturday night. Having an assignment due on a Saturday night would normally be “taboo,” says Calderone, but when three different schools are coordinating assignments this can and will happen.

“I enjoyed the independence, where you could work from home, school or wherever and still get your assignments in on time,” says Julia Kaiser ‘18.      

Online learning is something that will be incorporated into our life more and more, so getting accustomed to it now is imperative.