Students not in favor of online physics course


Home page for online course

Before the pandemic hit, most classes were taught in person with an instructor present in the classroom. During the pandemic, that partially stayed the same, as even though classes moved online, a teacher was still instructing via Zoom. Now, post pandemic learning, classes at BHS have moved back to in person instruction with a teacher in the room. All classes but two accelerated physics classes for the first marking period.
Just two days before the school year started, students in Mrs. Kaluzavich’s 1st and 8th period physics classes were informed that for the first quarter of the year, their class would be online. As someone who was in the class, it personally came as a shock, as there was no prior knowledge, for the students at least, of Mrs. Kaluzavich missing any time. Students were informed the class would be taught through Apex Learning Virtual school. However, this was not the original plan, as the school had another up until this point.
Dr. Edgerton, the science department supervisor, said Apex was chosen over other options because it was an “established, fully accredited on-line school, with flexible scheduling and a certified ALVS teacher overseeing student progress.”
While yes, there was a teacher overseeing how well students were progressing, he was never actually teaching the class, and it just felt like he was there to grade completed work.
Speaking of the work, most of it was just tedious and felt like busy work. Each unit followed the same structure: read about the topic, answer some questions that don’t affect the overall grade, then a quiz. This would happen in basically every unit, with an occasional lab or “journal”, which was just a packet of questions, thrown in every once in a while. Then, at the end of an overall unit, there would be two tests, one online, and one on paper. It never actually felt like any lesson was being retained, and instead of feeling like an actual lesson, it felt more like a race to get it done and over with.
Junior Sophia Ford was in one of the classes, and she described her experience with the online schooling: “I didn’t really like it, but the only good thing about it was that we had our own timeline. Except, when we had to take tests at the end of a unit, I would have to catch up and it was really stressful.”
While it is true that students had almost free range of when work could be done, like Sophia said, it led to a lot of cramming at the end of units. And for students like myself, the lack of structure led to lackluster work and effort, which was reflected upon in the grade book.
The reasoning for going to an online class was valid, as Dr. Edgerton said, “The demand for Science teachers is very high due to a severe national shortage. After extensive, months-long search for a qualified leave replacement physics teacher, [BHS], like many other districts across the U.S. and New Jersey, were unable to fill this position and had to consider an online provider as a temporary solution for Marking Period 1.” However, there just seemed to be a disconnect. The lack of an in-person instructor, or at least someone teaching the class, made it much more difficult to retain the material. It was not a positive experience, and for the benefit of all students, this alternative should never be taken again.