Independent Study classes are taking off

With courses such as Physiology, World Religions, and Forensic Science, it is easy to believe that the online independent study courses would prove too much for many students; however, since students are able to work at their own pace and collaboratively with others, these classes are opening doors.

During seventh period every day, seniors Marissa Walker and Mackenzie Estrada sit across from each other and work on the Anatomy and Physiology course.

“I expected there to be a lot more work than there really is,” Estrada said. “It made it sound like there’s a lot of papers and everything, but I’ve only had to do one paper, and I’m working on a presentation right now. Other than that, it’s just been pretty easy with notes.”

The program used by Independent Study classes is also easier to handle than other online course sites, and it is helpful in keeping track of progress and due dates.

“Gradpoint is actually really simple to use. They give us a calendar so we know what we need to have turned in and finished and what checkpoints we have to have done. It also tells us where we’re at and how much we have left. I really like it,” Walker said.

Mrs. Kim Kneely watches every student’s screen through her computer at her desk so she can supervise what students are doing and make sure they are on track and not going on unrelated websites.

“The Business Law class is probably one of the hardest classes students are taking. There’s a lot of memorization to it, and in a lot of the terminology, there is only a slight difference between some of the words, like theft and robbery,” Mrs. Kneely said.

The Independent Study classes are not perfect and do have a couple of drawbacks. Some days there are issues with the Gradpoint program itself, such as certain PowerPoints or online textbooks not loading.

“I don’t always like staring at a computer because it hurts my head after awhile, but that just might be me. I also don’t like that some of the directions aren’t always clear, and it’s kind of hard not having a teacher specifically for that class,” Walker said.

Students are free to go at their own pace, and those who finish their work early or have other work to do can use Independent Study as a partial study hall period. There is plenty of time to work on the courses and very little pressure to get tasks done quickly.

“I like that I can go at my own pace,” Estrada said. “I don’t worry about staying on track. I can be responsible for myself, and I have plenty of time to work on it.”


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