Online classes: the benefits and problems

A closer look into online learning

William Wright, Staff Writer

At Brighton High School, online learning is not a new idea. Lynette Daig, the online learning teacher and mentor, has been facilitating online classes for the past nine years.

“I would say [online learning is] students working on classes on the computer at their own pace, their own schedule. They all kind of work independently on whatever it is they’re working on, and there’s a Michigan certified teacher on the other end of the course that does all the grading and is there for support…Online learning works really well for students that use it for the right reasons,” said Daig.

Lately at BHS, off-site students have been causing problems. On Feb. 19, Daig informed the online classroom of this after a memo from Principal Gavin Johnson. 

In the memo, Johnson said, “Mr. Johnson is considering eliminating off-site privileges this year and next…Kids who are abusing it are ruining it for everyone.” In a later interview, Johnson said, “Kids are taking online classes for the sole reason just to get offsite…And now we have a lot of kids who are simply doing the bare minimum just to go home or to not come in or to sleep in, and after we let them offsite, they’re not signing in any longer, they’re not staying on progress, and I’m spending a majority of my day chasing those kids…We’ve done [offsite privileges] for kids, and now some of the kids are going to ruin it for all of the kids.”

There are steps taken to ensure that students are ready for these privileges. “The State of Michigan requires us to allow kids to take online classes, but they don’t require us to let them leave. That’s something that we do allow, so if students wanted to work offsite, they have to prove to us that they’re responsible enough to handle that…The kids have to show us that they can follow directions and that they are on pace. And then typically, after Count Day, if they are on pace, they have minimal absences, and they have followed our directions, we allow them to go offsite,” said Daig.

The online learning options at BHS are through Michigan Virtual. Michigan Virtual is an online learning center that has various teachers and many classes. Blackboard is the Google Classroom of this learning portal. 

There are many options for online classes for students to take. For example, there are common core classes, like English and math classes, along with electives. Some of the available electives are Physical Education, Career Planning and Health. 

“I take AP Psych and Pre-Calc online,” said Junior Ellie Achatz. “I like how I have unlimited time to take tests. That helps me a lot.” 

Online students can take their classes in the Online Learning Lab in Daig’s room, or they are able to go off-site and take their classes on their own time. To do this, students have to sign out with Benita Forfinski in the main office. 

Although some students may be abusing the off-site privileges for online learning, there are other students who really benefit from it. “It’s easier for me to control the environment I’m learning in,” Senior Lauren Rauch said. “I really like that I can work on the classes and complete work at my own pace.”