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Redwood Bark

Twelve seniors were presented with awards to recognize their commitment to being outstanding high school athletes (Photo by Zoe Gister).
Redwood senior athletes recognized in new venue celebration
Charlotte LacyMay 30, 2024

On May 20, senior athletes, parents and coaches gathered at Sam’s Anchor Cafe in Tiburon to recognize and celebrate the seniors committed...

Smiling and holding their floats, seniors make the most of their lunch.
Seniors stay a-float for senior week
Hannah HerbstMay 29, 2024

On Tuesday, May 28, after a long Memorial Day Weekend and with only twelve more academic days left of school, leadership kicked off Senior...

Boys’ varsity baseball marks history with first-ever state playoff victory
Boys’ varsity baseball marks history with first-ever state playoff victory
Will ParsonsMay 29, 2024

On May 28, the Giants’ varsity baseball team took on the Carmel Padres in the first Norcal state playoff game in the program’s history. The...

Online courses might cost more than just money

A casual chat sent me tumbling into a whirlwind of emotions. A brief five-minute conversation left me feeling inadequate, as though my efforts were meaningless. In reality, I was putting in plenty of effort and measuring my progress against others shouldn’t leave me feeling this way.

Comparing myself with my classmates overshadowed my accomplishments. This peer confided in me that she was simply dropping our class and opting for online learning to get a better grade. Grades are challenging, but students with a high B should stay in a class even if they feel they need an A. To address these situations, a policy that prevents Redwood students from switching from in-person to online classes is a necessary solution. This measure would create a more equitable academic environment, discouraging grade-driven decisions that compromise the integrity of the learning experience. 

Since the pandemic, online classes have become more common. However, the trend towards online learning hurts a critical group of high school students — those who aren’t performing well in their courses on campus. Today, students not doing well in their in-person classes often resort to taking the course online to get a higher letter grade on their transcript.

However, the shift to an online course comes with its challenges. Enrolling in a course without a teacher demands high self-motivation and organizational skills. Some students may need help with these skills, especially when revisiting previously learned topics. 

Illustration by Lauren Olsen

A study by the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness in Chicago investigated the efficacy of credit recovery courses. The study took students who had failed Algebra and randomly assigned them to an in-person or online recovery program. They learned that students who took the online courses performed less effectively on the Algebra post-test than those taught in person. 

Students typically believe they can score better in online courses because they have full access to the Internet. Rather than learning independently, individuals frequently rely on ChatGPT. Artificial intelligence is becoming a prominent force in education, yet the prevailing viewpoint is that it should solely guide students without overshadowing the essential learning process.

According to the National Library of Medicine, sixty percent of students admitted to cheating on online learning all the time and an additional thirty percent acknowledged cheating at least once during an online exam. This shows just how easy it is to get away with cheating on an online platform. Students who engage in online cheating find themselves at a long-term disadvantage, as they miss out on the genuine learning experience. This is also unfair for those diligently working to achieve good grades in traditional, in-person settings.

Additionally, online classes can be costly, meaning not everybody has the same access. We go to public school because it means we don’t have to pay for our education and online classes disrupt that cost-free aspect. In our community, people come from different backgrounds and household income levels. How is it fair for one student to take the course online because they aren’t doing well, while another wants to do the same but can’t afford it? High School of America says a typical online program can cost $500 to $5000. This financial barrier exacerbates educational inequalities and raises questions about the fairness of access to online learning opportunities.

Often, at Redwood, students want to take online courses simply because they don’t have space in their schedule during the school day. According to the December Bark survey, fifty percent of Redwood students have taken an online course to fill a course requirement or credit. We have seven regular periods and 0 and 8th periods for Leadership and Redwood TV classes. Many students opt for online versions of courses like Spanish to make room for different electives, allowing them to take courses they are more passionate about in person. This is true; however, in-person courses are required for a reason. 

Core classes such as English, math, history and science are required because the skills you learn in these courses are the building blocks for your future educational endeavors. Direct interaction with teachers and peers in a physical classroom setting fosters deeper discussions, collaborative learning and immediate feedback that might be challenging to replicate online. Additionally, certain subjects, especially those involving practical skills or lab work, necessitate in-person instruction to fully grasp complex concepts or techniques effectively.

While the accessibility and flexibility of online learning offer advantages, its unchecked adoption raises concerns about equity, academic integrity and the quality of education. Implementing measures to balance online and in-person learning, considering student needs and educational efficacy, is crucial to fostering a fair educational environment for all learners at Redwood High School.

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About the Contributor
Charlotte Lacy
Charlotte Lacy, News Editor
Charlotte Lacy is a junior at Redwood High School and is a news editor for the Bark. In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer, running track, and playing with her dogs.