Online courses may not click with LB

In 1996, The Jones International University became the first university to hold all of their classes online, forever changing the way people learn. Since then, 23% of college graduates have reported taking classes online according to EdTech magazine. Recently, following a new state law, FCPS has mandated that starting with the class of 2017, all students must take one class online.

Students can choose from a plethora of available online classes.

“We have a whole online campus that offers a whole variety of classes from languages to math,” principal Dave Thomas said. “Even P.E.”

Students that choose to take P.E. online must upload their daily workouts to their online instructor as well as take the health portion of the course.

Underclassmen now have the option to take five classes at school and up to two classes online. If a students wishes to take more than seven classes total they must pay $650 per course per year in tuition.

Since there will now be more students taking online classes, there will be less staff members needed to teach the actual classes offered at LB.

“It would actually cut back on the number of staff members that we would have,” Thomas said.

Teachers are worried about the possibility of losing their jobs to online classes but realize that education is constantly evolving and that the new form it takes on is necessary for survival in the modern world.

“I am concerned about that, and I think most of my colleagues are as well, that it could potentially impact our staffing here,” social studies department chair Jim Novak said. “At the same time I realize that education is changing. There are new trends in education, and online is one of those trends.”

Novak is also an online instructor in addition to his regular classes. He does not like the idea of online classes interfering with staffing to the point that teachers are lost.

Many teachers feel that online classes are also a lot more difficult on students than regular classes. The lack of contact with the instructor, some teachers believe, makes it much harder for students to absorb the material being taught.

“I have some concerns about math because of the nature of the subject,” Algebra 2 teacher Michael Burbach said. “It takes just a lot of paper-pencil practice, and the best way to learn it is to a teachers or classmates right by your side.”

Novak also said that online classes are more difficult than physical classes.

“[Students] typically come to an online class with the impression that it’s going to be easier than a face-to-face class, and nothing could be further from the truth,” Novak said. “If anything, it’s harder.”

Thomas also said that online classes hold less value because of the lack of a relationship between the student and teacher.

“I think one of the most important things that students and teachers have is that relationship,” Thomas said. “I would much rather have a person teaching me math than the computer screen.”

Some students are not fond of the idea of having to take courses online.

“I sort of think it’s a little stupid,” freshman Katie Curran said.


Curran said the she does not like the idea of taking a class online, but realizes the necessity of it and would take it if she had to.

With changes in education sweeping the nation, the state of Virginia has decided to make online learning part of the curriculum. Though it may have an impact on the job security of teachers, this is hailed as a necessary tool to surviving in the digital age.