The Benefits of Online Classes Amid COVID-19
July 28, 2020
There appears to be no end in sight to the COVID-19 virus throughout the US, and many health experts are warning that it could be some time before we see significant improvement in case numbers. This summer surge means that some parents, students, and faculty are facing difficult decisions about the ability to return to the classroom safely.
Amidst this debate, schools are offering many changes: rotating schedules, in which students would attend school in shifts or on different days; the installation of plastic shields between desks to protect students and teachers; increased handwashing and deep-cleaning schedules throughout schools; mandatory mask-wearing; and virtual learning and hybrid options, offering students a mix of on-campus and online classes. As a parent, though, you may be wondering if that’s enough for your child, and whether all these changes to brick-and-mortar schools will change the outcome of your child’s learning. Particularly if you or your child is immunocompromised, you’re probably weighing your options: Should you send your teen back to school, or fully embrace online learning as a valid, safe option?
While the rest of the world was forced to quickly adjust to distance learning this past Spring, the students and faculty at Dwight Global Online School, a preeminent online school for students in grades 7-12, were able to continue their online classes seamlessly, and our teachers -- who are experts in online learning -- were able to continue using the best in educational technology tools and strategies to keep students’ learning on level. For our school community, there was no chaos and concern in those early days of the pandemic; students and families were unaffected from a learning standpoint, and our teachers already had the technical knowledge and full administrative support from Dwight Global’s leaders they needed.
Due to our unique position as an already established (and thriving!) online school, we recognize the benefits of both online classes as well as in-person learning, and are dedicated to helping parents find the right path for every teen. Below, we break down the differences between online and on-campus classes, and show why distance learning may be the right path to take for many families during this pandemic.
Online Classes vs. In-Person Learning
It is true that the youngest of students – those in elementary and preschool – learn through social and interactive play. These little learners are still developing fine motor skills and arguably benefit most from in-person, hands-on schooling. For high schoolers, however, those fine motor skills are already developed, and online learning is both an easier adjustment and provides incredible student benefits.
Teenage students rely on technology more than ever before, and many of the teenagers who experienced online learning for the first time this year have handled it with more ease and success than younger children. Let’s face it, most American teens today have a smartphone, and are often more technologically-apt than adults! It is easy to see why online classes have been such an easy transition for so many adolescents during the pandemic.
Not to mention, online learning can be beneficial for many students. According to a study of K-12 students from the U.S. Department of Education, “Students in online conditions performed modestly better, on average, than those learning the same material through traditional face-to-face instruction.” Of course, outcomes will vary by each student’s learning style, preferences, and needs, as well as the delivery of the online education. Some students may perform better in physical classroom settings, while others enjoy the accessibility of taking classes online -- making the most of their own schedule, and that of their family.
One of the key differences between in-person learning and online classes today is the assurance that everyone involved – teachers, students, and at-risk relatives of both parties – is kept safer in online class settings. There is no face-to-face interaction. At a brick-and-mortar school, even one with improved safety measures, students and school faculty pass one another in the halls and share indoor air that can easily transfer viruses and disease. Even when masks are worn and desks are kept six feet apart, there is still a risk for those sharing space within a school building.
A Look at Online Classes for High School Students
For some schools forced to pivot quickly to distance learning due to covid, online classes took a variety of forms. Many involved independent study from home, with some virtual interaction between teachers and classmates. During the Spring 2020 semester, many students would “check-in” with their teachers online to prove attendance, and receive assignments for the day and/or week. Through this method, they’d rely primarily on web-based resources and complete assignments on their own throughout the school week.
At a dedicated online learning institution, such as the Dwight Global Online School, the programs are more personalized and structured. Our online classes, for example, are customized for every student—based on their interests and talents—to promote higher learning engagement. The curriculum is academically rigorous, yet flexible in that it can accommodate students with other obligations. Our online high school program combines:
- Real-time live seminars and discussions
- Individualized, Oxford-style tutorials
- College-style schedule to offer students flexibility and promote independent learning
- Large selection of honors, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate classes
Distance learning is a great option for high school students in that it is adaptable, yet also holds teens accountable for their education. The online high school classes at Dwight Global are small, with a maximum of 15 students, offering a low student-teacher ratio and a more individualized learning experience.
These are just some of the many benefits of choosing a dedicated, independent, online learning institution.
Embracing Individual Students’ Needs
When choosing an online education for your teen, you will want to find a school that can meet their needs and fulfill all the standard requirements for a high school diploma. But you’ll likely also want to look for a program that offers personalized options, so that your teen may follow their passions and study in a way that benefits their unique needs and learning styles. An online high school like Dwight Global works with students around the globe, offering flexibility and opportunity for students to connect, travel (when safe), and explore subjects that fire the imagination. This type of program encourages students to pursue their dreams, while providing the support they need to do so.
While the world is facing so much uncertainty right now, we at Dwight Global are working to make sure parents don’t see their child’s education as part of that uncertainty. We’re here for you, and we invite you to learn more about our safe, rigorous, engaging class options.
Click here to learn more about the online classes offered at Dwight Global Online School. We would love to help you navigate this journey toward virtual learning.