Harder Classes, Harder Transitions

    In the new online environment, regular classes are hard enough. So, how are advanced placement (AP) students coping with the changes? 2020 has been a year full of many twists and turns from the start of the COVID-19 outbreak to being quarantined for 6 months and now schools are taking place in a new way. 

    Being online has caused many new challenges for AP students. “I personally find that it’s really difficult to have a good set of communication between the teacher and the student online than I think it would be in person.” said senior, Pacience Lapp. Most students agree with Lapp. “…I feel like some AP teachers are doing everything they can to make it as easy as possible for their students.  Compared to the AP classes I took last year, I feel like I’m doing a lot more studying this year just to compensate for the lack of face-to-face instruction.  It’s harder to retain and understand information when you’re just hearing it through a screen as opposed to seeing demonstrations and examples in class.  It’s easier than I expected it to be but definitely harder than last year.” senior, Claire Shriner stated. 

    Teachers are also struggling with the new way classes are taking place. “Biggest hurdle for me has been getting used to grading things online – when talking to other colleagues, it’s the thing we’re struggling with to keep up with the most.  I don’t like not being able to write on my screen as easily, but Mr. P helped me by finding a work-around in the Chrome Paint plug-in.  I also don’t think break out rooms are as seamless a way to have students turn to their neighbors and discuss ideas like I usually do in class.  These are the things I wish were different about teaching digitally.” said AP Bio teacher, Courtney Lutz. Even though things are harder, teachers are doing their best to work around and make things as easy as possible on themselves and their students. “My experience with distance learning in AP Chemistry is the same as my experience with distance learning in general. I think everyone sees that distance learning has some advantages and disadvantages.  However, in-person education is overall better.  Like any other class, we teach, we work, and we learn.  It’s not optimal, but my students have demonstrated resilience and an ability to learn regardless of the format.” Ara Parseghian, an AP Chemistry teacher said.

    Even though everyone is adjusting to the changes in the learning environment, students and teachers alike are learning the best ways to make the transition as smooth as possible, particularly in AP courses.