Teaching in the online learning era

Teaching+in+the+online+learning+era

On March 23, 2020, Governor Jared Polis announced that all Colorado schools would stop all in-person classes until the end of the school year. As a result, school hallways were emptied, textbooks started to collect dust and classes were conducted from teachers’ homes.

A “no harm” grading method was implemented at the end of the 2019-20 school year and gave students the ability to completely stop advancing in their classes if they were satisfied with their grade. But teachers expect their students to continue with their classes. 

“Teachers didn’t have any incentives to make their students keep going because it’s virtually impossible to convince a student with an “A” to keep learning,” said Alexandra Odice, English teacher, “especially if all the student wanted was the “A” to pass the class, but reminding students that their education is forever and what they learn now will help them throughout their lives, gave them the push they needed.”

Teachers that supervise fully online students such as Alexandra Odice, spend a lot of their time giving students assistance from their home desks through email. Photo By Kofi Kessey

Teachers had to grade, give feedback, and support their students. With the effort that teachers give to students, teachers expect the students to give the same effort in their classes.

“I’m here so you need to be here because if I’m going to give up my time, then you should spare your time as well,” said Amanda Humphrey, Math teacher, “I’m trying to be the best teacher I can be, with my two little kids running around my house and the environment not being suited to teach 5 to 6 classes. So, if I’m able to teach, they can attend class.”

With COVID-19 not slowing down, Douglas County School District was forced to give an online option to students that didn’t want to do hybrid learning for the 2020-21 school year. DCSD allowed individual schools to choose what online option or program they were going to provide the students. HR chose to use a combination of Canvas and Edgenuity. 

Canvas is used by students to communicate with their teachers and for teachers to post assignments and feedback. Even with the 100% online students, most have classes that are still taught with actual teachers from HR. This allows the students to have some connection with teachers

Last semester, I had pretty good connection and relationships with my students. This allowed me to push them to keep going. But this year, I haven’t met most of my students and I am not able to make those beneficial connections with them.

Amanda Humphrey

Edgenuity is another portion of the digital platform that is made up of pre-recorded lessons by teachers that aren’t a part of the HR staff. This way of learning is student dependent and students are expected to sit at a computer 5-6 hours a day to complete tasks to move on through the courses. 

For many students and teachers, improvements can be made to make the online version of school more appealing and effective for the students.

Odice said, “If I had it my way, students would attend classes through a program like Zoom or Google Meets. Although Edgenuity has so many upsides, the program doesn’t give any feeling of community or person-to-person interaction. Even though the little things teachers do go unnoticed sometimes, the small interactions can drastically change a student’s experience in a class.”

Kofi Kessey, Staff Reporter