Online classes offer alternative

A new age of education is being ushered into the halls of Blue Valley. Many new courses are available online and even more students are taking them.
Two of the classes offered in previous years are Health and Computer Applications, both of which are credits required for graduation.
Physical Education is one of the newer online classes and is expected to become popular at BV.
“You have to read a 355-page book and write essays,” said freshman Katie Overman, online P.E. student.”In a perfect world you would not have to read the huge book. That is probably the only thing that I would change. I think for a very determined person, the class is set up successfully.”
Last school year, the Blue Valley School District Board took a vote on whether or not to offer online physical education. Parents and students voted, deciding that it would be beneficial for this course to be given.
“Students wanted flexibility with their classes,” counselor Deb Atkinson said. “Online classes are now the ‘goin’ thing. There’s interest and want for these kind of classes.”
For online P.E., students log four fitness hours per week by doing physical activity with a heart-rate monitor that wraps around the chest. Along with that, the student wears a watch that picks up their heart rate wirelessly.
“The heart-rate monitors are helpful but if you forget to wear them, you can’t get in all the time that you have to do for the week,” Overman said.
The district decided to create online courses in order to meet the demands from students needing more room in their four-year schedule, students needing to re-take a class because of a low grade and transfer students.
Other dilemmas with online classes have arisen, such as communication gaps between students and teachers.
“This is new and different,” said Brett Potts, Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction. “With change there is always a little uneasiness. Some have been doubtful of this program’s success but others have embraced the changes.”
Online students keep in touch with their teacher through e-mail. They also use blogs and forums for discussions.
“Daily interaction with your teacher cannot be replicated on computer,” Potts said.by Emily Brown and Matthew Holloway.