Online Summer School vs. Summer School

penlogo copy• Students use online summer school to get ahead in classroom. After months of grueling hard work put in by students, summer finally comes to relieve them of their stress.

Some students head off to popular vacation spots, while the rest go to summer school to take classes that they would not have been able to take during the year.

With the field of technology rapidly growing, it is not a surprise that online summer school courses are available for students.

At Peninsula High School, world history and U.S. history are two of the many classes that could be completed for the same credit a student would receive during the regular school year.

 This is the first year that the district has put U.S. history honors on the list of classes accessible for students online. There are three teachers who have familiarized themselves with this curriculum, but John Hangartner has been teaching the online course for more than three years.

“I became a teacher in school and online because when I first came here they wanted me to be the online teacher, but they also had an opening for an in-class position, so I decided to take it,” Hangartner said.

For both in-class and online, it is the California standard to maintain the specific curriculum given despite the different settings used to teach.

However, because of the shorter time given during the summer, the students have a big responsibility to keep up with the work without procrastinating and falling behind.
Each class requires approximately 20 hours a week. Teachers are able to access each student’s work to see how long he or she has spent on the website.

Online courses are very student centered, which takes a lot of discipline to stay on top of the workload. On orientation day for these online classes, teachers have outlined a pacing guide, which shows students where they should be at a specific date so they know whether or not to pick up their pace.

“Online courses may be beneficial for the student depending on who they are,” Hangartner said. “I took my master’s degree online, and I felt that it was a great way to learn. Some students have a difficult time monitoring their time and fall behind rather easily, so discipline is a really big aspect when deciding whether or not to go the online route,” he said.

In summer school, students are in the same classroom with the same peers for six hours straight, and they develop relationships that are not the same as it would be online.

For online courses, students only meet their teacher on the orientation day for a couple hours and do not see them again for the rest of the course. Sending announcements, commenting on their work and sending emails are the only forms of interaction between the teacher and student.

“I decided to do online summer school because I did not want to take it over the year since there were too many classes and it could be overwhelming for me,”  said Irene Kim.
“It would be easier to balance out my time. It is easier when you actually see the teacher, but the same information is given out anyway,’”she said.

For first time online students, the courses may seem a little challenging at first, but once students get into a regular routine, the workload will seem doable. There are many pros and cons of taking an online course, but the best answer to whether or not a student should take it is up to their individual habits.

“I am taking U.S. history online this summer, and at first I was a little intimidated by what everyone was saying,” said Nicole Tam.
“However, I believe that this is the best option for me since I do not have space in my schedule later on, and I will try my best to not fall behind my workload, she said.

By Nina Li