Online class, in class: Imagine Prep’s new chemistry course

Bret Perkins, Staff Writer

Chemistry, along with other science classes, can either be fun or a daunting chore for students; depending on your teacher and how well it’s taught to you. For our students, chemistry took a technological turn this year, with everything done online, but also at our own pace. Whether or not students are happy with it, chemistry is a required course; vital in the medical field, and various societal jobs.


The class is very versatile, giving students the option of working ahead, or going at their own pace. Despite an advantage like that, students, like Aubrē Stark, feel that there’s more of an advantage in having a teacher in class.


“There’s not a permanent teacher in the classroom that knows what they’re teaching,” Stark said. “So, we don’t have constant learning going on from a person.”


When students were figuring out their schedules, chemistry was of course assigned; but no one knew about it being online until they met their in-class teacher: Thomas O’Donnell. So, it came as a shock for some students who were told that chemistry is being done online in class. This, though, is for good reason.


“We did have a chemistry and physics teacher that we hired prior to the end of last quarter,” Fosgreen said. “Unfortunately, that person had not come to school.”


The school became stuck on who to hire to teach chemistry, in a state with a high teacher shortage. That’s when ASU came in and offered their course to teach Imagine’s students, along with a few issues.


“Technology was an issue, getting their technology to work with ours,” Fosgreen said. “There were a lot of issues [with the old platform], so they switched back to their traditional platform, now things are running much more smoothly.”


Although things are running smoothly, is the class itself really successful? Is the self-pace factor really a benefit?


“A benefit is that it’s all at your own pace,” Stark said. “It’s just a lot, because you’re doing it all by yourself.”


Even though it’s self-pace, Stark said that everything does have due dates, so it’s actually not entirely self-pace; unless you wanted to do everything the night before. However, there is one student who took advantage of the self-pace: Chris Kertesz, a junior at Imagine Prep.


“The self-pacing was a benefit, the main benefit really and I think I took advantage of that pretty well,” Kertesz said. “But, I don’t think most people are, the majority of the classroom is just taking it as a normal class, which takes the main advantage out; so I think there’s no advantage to it being online in this case.”


Kertesz completed the entire year of the class already, but wasn’t too impressed with how everything was taught.


“My main grievance, if anything, is that it had really bad notes,” Kertesz said. “Even though we do have a teacher, his ability to teach is very inconsistent [referring to the online teacher] and just not here frequently.”


Online classes can be successful, but in this case it’s hard to tell. This is the first year that Imagine has had a class taught online, so it could maybe get better in the future. Online classes can be successful for some people who like to take their time into learning something. There is also another student, Kesi Barnes, who believes the online class to be somewhat successful (which is largely an unpopular opinion amongst students).


“I feel like it has the possibility to be successful, it’s just our decision,” Barnes said.


For some students, the independence it takes to succeed in the class is what makes it such an advantage for them. However, for others… not so much. For Barnes, though, it is really just how you like to work: independent or dependent.


“For my personality, I like independent work a lot better,” Barnes said. “I like the idea that you can go quicker.”


“I just wish that I was better at, keeping track of it and not procrastinating,” Barnes said.


Another plus to the class was the in class teacher, O’Donnell, whom everyone really enjoys having in class and even tries his best to help all of his students get their work done. When asked about his duties when overseeing the classroom, O’Donnell decided to fill in on what he does and his opinion.


“I serve as a liaison between students and their online Chemistry instructor,” O’Donnell said. “I work to keep students motivated to finish their week’s assignment work, and help in any content areas I am needed.”


It can be hard to decipher whether or not the class was successful this semester. There are lots of pros and cons when discussing the class, it really just goes down to if the student is willing to succeed. As for next semester, things are being discussed; but nothing is final.


“We have talked about next semester and there are plans being made,” Fosgreen said. “Are those solidified at this point? No, but they will be in time for next semester.”


Since writing this, it has been confirmed that for the second semester, O’Donnell will be teaching physics and chemistry to the class.