Virtual Learning Through Students’ Perspectives: College Prep and AP

Kripa Kini (11)

I would choose to remain in distance learning because I’m taking some college classes online in spring at Ohlone. The classes would be Calc101C, Phys141, Soc101, and others. I have to work on them during school, so it might be tough for me if we end up going back because they would be conflicting with my school schedule. I have heard people saying that there are people who have COVID that are planning on returning to school, so I think that’s one concern about returning to school, but I don’t know if that’s a substantiated rumor or not. I don’t really have any other concerns. 

When I heard that we would potentially be going back to school, I think I was impressed that the FUSD finally managed to do it after telling us that they’d reopen since fall last year, but I didn’t really think that much about it, since I would not be able to handle the outside classes at the same time with the current plans that they have. I agree with their decision to stay in distance learning for the rest of the year. I think it’s a good choice and hopefully summer break will let  everything go back to normal. I also think that FUDTA is doing an okay job with handling school and COVID. I think the teachers’ union has a really tough time advocating for the rights of the teachers while making sure the students continue to get a good education. I don’t think my teachers have said a lot about it, and the ones who have talked about it are mostly positive. 

I think the only teacher for my APs that has given us tests has been Ms. Chung and I don’t think that’s really a challenge because it’s like scanning it and turning it in on google classroom, and like the worst you could do is turn it in like a minute late. I think she’s been pretty understanding about it all. Also, my APUSH is going a lot faster through the material and he said that he’s spending a lot less time with supplementary readings than you normally would, but it hasn’t made the class more difficult. 

For my science APs, since there is a lab component that we are missing out on, it’s harder to do that. One of the most hyped up parts of AP physics were the labs, when we went to the AP meetings back in last spring, and not having that is kind of disappointing. My AP physics teacher has been doing less of a focus on labs by making them partly optional, since it involves people going to school to pick up equipment, and since some of the APs and other tests concern that, it’s hard for us to get that real life experience. With physics, there’s a lab component that you will need that’s important for the AP exams and if you’re going into physics in college, it might be tougher since you have less experience with working in the lab. 

I’m also a little worried about the multiple choice on the AP test and not letting you go back since that’s something I do a lot, so that I can finish the test faster. But I understand why they’re doing it, and I don’t think there’s really a better option for them, if they’re doing it online to prevent cheating. Also, if you have bad conditions at home, it might make it harder for you to test and that seems unfair, because with in-person exams, everybody’s in one place, and it’s more equalized.

I think that distance learning has freed up my schedule. I also feel that distance learning has made it easier for me to take outside classes as well. But then it’s really easy to procrastinate or get distracted during class and then you end up not paying attention. The teacher could be saying something that could be really useful for you, so that’s a disadvantage as well. I guess an in-person environment would be equally challenging, because there are pros and cons for both distance learning and online learning. Like there are a lot of parts of my classes where teachers just talk about what they’d do if we weren’t online, and like I do end up missing those. Also, I just feel with Yearbook, it’s a lot tougher for us to take photos, so we really end up getting desperate. I also miss hanging out in class and in the teachers’ classroom.  

Kinari Bapat (10)

I was actually kind of scared when I heard that school could possibly reopen, because adjusting to hybrid or a full on in class learning would be kind of hard. It’s easier to work on my own time, and there’s no distractions, working on my own at home. There would be a change in how teaching goes, since over distance learning, they’ve been giving us lectures, and then we would just split off and go work on our own. Whereas we would have to start driving back to school, and then teachers would have to change their material to adjust to teaching in person. Also, because not every person over 16 had gotten their vaccines yet, it could be kind of risky. 

 I would prefer being in distance learning for this year. I agree with the board’s decision to remain in distance learning. I don’t have any particular feelings towards FUDTA and the Board, and I didn’t know much about the board’s reopening plan. None of my teachers have said much about it. They didn’t say anything about the district but, they did say that the school district was considering sending us back to school and they didn’t. Some teachers were relieved about it actually, because they didn’t want to readjust and everything and have to commute to work, whereas other teachers actually would have preferred to go back to school. 

Some disadvantages to distance learning would be that I end up sitting in front of my computer the whole day, rather than moving around, which was forced when we were going to school,. Another thing is I can get a different type of distraction at home, since I’m sitting in front of my  computer, and no one’s watching me doing my work, so I can get distracted online. A distraction in an in-person setting would be people talking.  Sometimes, someone might ask a question to the teacher and you can’t hear it, and that gets pretty distracting. Whereas at home, different distractions would be having your phone by your side where you can easily check it. I feel like the biggest benefits have been conserving my time and dealing with my workload. Time efficiency has been the biggest thing I’ve gotten out of distance or learning. It’s more difficult grasping lessons, but once I do get it, it’s a lot easier doing the work since I can work on my own time. I can work before class since I don’t have to get up as early or between classes too, so it’s better. Commuting was a problem before distance learning because I would have to get up pretty early in the morning, so I couldn’t make it to school on time. But now I don’t have to get up as early and that’s a lot better.

The workload has changed over the year. Before the pandemic, it wasn’t too difficult, because I haven’t taken any honors or AP courses, so it wasn’t actually too difficult for me. After the pandemic, since the teachers became a lot more lenient, it was a lot easier with the workload. At the start of the year, it was a lot easier because the teachers were worried about us working from home and all that, so they would give more time in class to work on things to make sure we don’t have work after class. Whereas during in person school, you would do a lot more activities in class and have homework after class. They were really uncomfortable with distance learning, but now, things went pretty smoothly. Over time, the workload increased, and went back to a normal level, in my opinion.