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Providence High students embrace online learning days

Providence High students embrace online learning days
Providence High School students took part in the second of four planned Online Learning Days on Nov. 6 in which students were given in-class assignments to complete from home on their own schedules. (Tim Berger/Burbank Leader)

While the college preparatory services offered by Providence High School are generally geared toward the classroom, the co-educational Catholic school offered its students a different type of university feel recently.

On Nov. 6, Providence took part in the second of four scheduled online learning days, in which students were given assignments to complete from the comfort of their homes on their own schedules.

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The plan was championed by Kerry Martin, Providence’s dean of students.

“The idea of online learning and telecommuting careers and jobs is just more prevalent,” Martin said. “Students are bound to at least have some sort of online component to the classes they take in college.”

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She added, “We felt that it was our responsibility as a college-preparatory school to introduce students to the online learning structure.”

This is the first year Providence has employed the method, thanks, in part, to the implementation of the school’s new advanced-learning management system called Schoology.

Through an online portal, students and teachers can submit and post assignments and assessments.

The recent online learning day consisted of four periods. Teachers from those classes assigned a lesson, with follow-up work due at specific hours during the same day in the form of tests, quizzes, homework or other tasks.

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Count junior Angelo Vitu as a fan.

The Northridge resident normally wakes at 5:30 a.m. to reach class before the start of first period at 8:05 a.m.

“For me, it’s a lot better than regular days because I’m able to sleep in,” he said. “I get that rest that I’m not able to get on regular school days. I still woke up early, but not too early.”

Tarzana resident and freshman Ava Tibbs echoed that sentiment.

“It was a pretty positive experience because I do live far away, and the drive, especially recently, has just gotten way worse,” Tibbs said. “It’s the same work as class, just without the stress of getting to school.”

Freshman Rex Kaplan said online learning allowed him to sleep later and whip through assignments for his religion, art, English and biology classes.

“I was motivated to do the work, and I got it all done in two and a half hours, which gave me time for work from other classes,” Kaplan said.

Teachers also benefited from the online day. They used free time for an art-therapy painting session, walks in a park, yoga in the school’s gym or catching up on work.

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Even with the benefits, some students felt improvements could be made.

“If I could change one thing, it would be that assignments should be due at the end of the day and not at 2:50 or 4 p.m.,” freshman Lourdes Batres said. “What if you’re involved in an after-school activity at that time or you have something you need to do?”

Freshman Juliet Bollesen also hoped instructors would be a little more understanding.

“Some teachers think it’s an easy day, so they overdo it and give us a lot of assignments,” she said. “The work can really pile up.”

Providence has two more online learning days scheduled for Feb. 26 and April 4, with talk of expanding the program even more in 2019-20.

“It was really chill for me,” senior Brianna Beedle said. “It was nice to be in charge of your day, get your work done and set your own schedule.”

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