Students Take Online Classes


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Madeleine Andrews, Staff Writer

Students can experience a different type of learning environment with just a click of a mouse. Online classes are branching out into a variety of school subjects that students are eager to take.

According to Amy Wright the director of counseling, the most common subjects are Health I, Health II and Personal Finance. Out of those three classes, the smallest one is Health II, because it does not include Drivers Ed.

When a student chooses to take a class online, it frees a block in his or her schedule. Every student is required to now take one online class within four years. Many students want to  take a virtual class to create space in their schedule for a class that they have more interest in. However, there are virtual classes that students choose to take even when they are not required in the curriculum. Personal Finance  and Health I and II are the online classes provided by the school. There are other online classes that are offered at WAHS, but they are provided by a different resource called Virtual Virginia. Some of these classes are Chinese 1, Chinese 3, AP Environmental Science, AP Latin and Latin II.

“Virtual Virginia is sort of a clearing house for classes. There are a lot of schools in Virginia that don’t offer AP classes because they are rural, really tiny or just don’t have the staff. Some also might not have a good science program or any foreign languages. That’s where Virtual Virginia comes in with a variety of classes,” said Zoe Padron, the mentor at WAHS  for Virtual Virginia students.

Kate Innes supervises online Personal Finance that has a total of 30 students. Whether a student is taking Personal Finance taught the traditional way or online, the structure and the end results are the same. There are some differences between the two mediums of learning, but they both supply the same learning material. “It requires more time commitment and more personal discipline because it is outside of a classroom,” said Innes.

Andrew Dunstan is a freshman who is taking virtual Latin II because it is not offered at WAHS. “There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to taking an online class. The system takes a while to get used to. Also, you are given a weeks worth of work that you can finish before it is due,” Dunstan said.

Lillian Xu is a junior taking an online AP Environmental Science class through the Virtual Virginia program. “The reason I’m doing it is because I’m running out of sciences to take here. I’ve already taken Biology, Chemistry and Physics classes at John Hopkins,” Xu said.

Xu enjoys the online class and recommends it to others with advice. “It depends on the kind of person you are. When taking an online class, you have to be really independent and know all of the deadlines to stay on top of things.”