The Ubiquity

Online AP Classes

By Alyssa Hoffman and Sydney Smith

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Many students at Quartz Hill, especially in the AP and IB programs, are always searching for ways to better their GPA. As mentioned in “AP v. IB: University Decisions,” high school juniors and seniors are actively trying to get ahead of their peers by taking more classes, extracurriculars, and much more. For many of these kids, the answer is to take online courses in addition to what they take on campus. However, a question arises: are these classes, especially online AP classes, up to par with traditional ones? And if not, why do they count as such?

Anna Pederson, a Quartz Hill student who is currently taking AP Government and Politics online, shared that this class has helped her prepare for the AP exam as she already learns half of the information in IB History. As a candidate of the IB Diploma, it is more or less mandatory for Pederson to take IB classes, which limits her access to any AP courses she may want to take. Pederson believes that these work great for courses oriented towards “book-learning,” but there are exceptions.

“For STEM courses I worry that the online experience does not provide the full lab and classroom setting that you need,” she states, worried that it would be much more difficult to learn a subject such as Chemistry without the hands-on labs done in traditional classrooms. This is not something that you can replicate online without it losing its educational purpose. Even though she trusts herself to stay motivated and learn what she needs to, Pederson admitted that she would not want to take any math or science courses online if she did not have to.

Senior Seerat Chawla stated: “Personally, I found that my virtual classes have not worked for me just because I think some subjects are extremely difficult to learn virtually.” Chawla is currently taking AP computer science online and seems to agree with Pederson in that math and science classes are extremely difficult to get through.

Another point that Chawla brought up is the fact that oftentimes, students tend to prioritize their “real” or physical classes over online classes. This can be greatly detrimental to a student as it can end up hurting them rather than helping them as intended. It is easy to think of online classes as less important because there is significantly less pressure to perform as well and vigorously compared to classes taken on campus.

Online classes, in general, tend to have a less strict schedule for the curriculum as well as all work. Unfortunately, this leads a lot of students to believe that they can slack off. While many end up pulling through in the end, there is still a large number who end up with low grades because they could not handle the independence of the class.

However, it is not only the student’s fault.

Chawla stated: “Sometimes it feels as if the teacher has forgotten about the class too because there is no work some entire weeks.” Teachers of online classes are faced with the responsibility of being able to organize curriculum and present it in an easily accessible and clear manner. Some teachers may share the mindset of students that online classes are of less importance than on-campus classes.

The online AP program certainly has its advantages. As mentioned, these classes are a great way to raise your GPA as well as take classes that may not be offered on campus or that do not fit into your schedule. However, there definitely are many improvements to be made, ones that will hopefully come to pass in the upcoming years.

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