Changes in online education and normality affects students and staff

Hailey Jones, Southworld co-editor

Under President Donald Trump’s delegation, the government extends the social distancing guidelines to April 30. With this information in mind, schools across America must continue online schooling through application means such as Zoom and Google Hangout. Specifically, Fort Smith Public Schools use Schoology as a way for teachers to communicate electronically with their students on upcoming assignments and administration information. However, students respond with little enthusiasm towards these AMI work days that replace regular school hours.

“COVID-19 has abruptly ended my final season of high school soccer and all the great memories I’ve had as a senior stopped. The AMI work that I get is not difficult, but it doesn’t replace the teacher-classroom environment that Southside gave me,” senior Kevin Lu said.

Through their social media, FSPS teens express their difficulties with quarantine and AMI days affecting their school work, however, seniors seem to show the most frustration and irritation towards online classes and missed opportunities, such as the cancellation of sports and the possibility of prom and graduation cancellation.

“The Coronavirus has affected me in ways I didn’t even think were possible. The way the Coronavirus has affected the school year has been irritating in a sense that I won’t get to say goodbye to my teachers and my friends or cherish the moments at SHS the way I had planned. It’s extremely difficult for me given that it was also my senior year of soccer. I had been looking forward to senior night with my parents, sister, and teammates with me along the sideline, or playing at state or even a game with my fellow teammates. With corona, AMI has been a challenge because it’s new for all of us including students, teachers, parents, etc. Some of the AMI can be irritating to me at times because I prefer working in a classroom,” senior Kaitlyn Cline said.

Along with AMI days, changes in AP testing take effect for the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Exams for all AP Histories, for example, soon act as modified Document Based Questions (DBQ’s). With tests only offered at home this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19, students encounter new levels of stress to drill all AP knowledge into their heads without the usual face-to-face classroom review. Moving away from the regular three to four hour long tests, new AP tests have a time limit of just 45 minutes…a big time reduction.

“The changes (to AP testing) were necessary so we could take the test outside of SHS, but it brings new stresses on us AP students because we do not know how hard the tests will be or how it’ll work since it’s only 45 minutes and only short answer, rather than multiple choice or essays which we are accustomed to,” senior Clay Montgomery said.

Teachers also experience troubles with AMI work. Schoology crashes regularly, leaving teachers hopeless for a few hours, wondering if their students saw the daily assignments. Schoology holds the excuse that with online education globally, when the west coast logs on mid-morning, it puts a strain on the network. Because of this trouble, many teachers now take the route to online video chatting with students, mirroring some aspects of a real classroom experience.

“I like online chatting. The only thing that’s kind of bothering is the times since they’re all over the place, and the audio is bad,” junior Paul Taracena said.

Although teachers and students deal with Schoology problems frequently, online schooling helps students to go at their own pace with their school work since assignments no longer take up a regular 50 minute class period.

“Online schooling has been equal parts frustrating and relaxing as compared to regular school. It’s frustrating because Schoology hardly ever works and teachers don’t frequently post assignments. However, it allows me to sleep in more and I can finish most of my school work in about four hours as compared to a full seven hours,” junior Anna Claire Tilley said.