Adapting to a New Way of Learning


Mayia Melchert

Learning online is a new and unique way of learning for many students and staff. Since Eden Prairie High School has never had to limit the number of students in the school this drastically, online learning is the new way for students to still safely get the education they need during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some students find the new online school experience a better fit for their learning styles, while others prefer physically coming to school.

Students have found many differences in their daily routines for in-person and online school. Sophomore Sophia Yoerks says, “On in-person learning days, I wake up around two hours before my first hour. On online days, I wake up about an hour before my first class starts.”

In addition, many students find it more difficult to stay focused while learning online. One common reason is because there can be many more distractions at home than there are in a school classroom. 

However, the teachers and staff are also facing some of the same problems. Yoerks found that “[s]ince teachers aren’t used to teaching from a screen, it has been challenging to connect with both online students and the cohort that is in school.” Many staff members have found that balancing their attention between the in-person students and online students can be a very difficult and stressful task. 

Junior Thomas Fenske believes that occasionally “some teachers just don’t understand how classes look from [the student’s] perspective. They have these ideas about what they want us to do or work on, but they don’t communicate that to us in the best way.” This can be very difficult on both the students and staff. 

The beginning of the school year brought a lot to adapt to, especially for online school. Yoerks says, “[t]ech issues are a harder problem to solve,” but she believes, “after a while teachers and students will grow more accustomed to the new programs.” This year, many teachers are using the online conferencing app Zoom to host their synchronous learning time at the beginning of class. Most sophomores, juniors, and seniors were already introduced to online learning during the end of third quarter, and the entirety of fourth quarter of the 2019-2020 school year. 

However, during that version of online learning, students were not required to log onto a synchronous time of learning. Class schedules are now divided into a forty to forty-five minute synchronous session where the teacher will explain what will be accomplished during the asynchronous part of class. Then, all of the students are given work time to try to complete their classwork. Sophomore Vivian Wang has found adapting to online school not that hard because students had online school during fourth quarter last year. 

Many students find big differences in the flexibility of their schedules now that they have to participate in some form of online school. Wang enjoys participating in school online because “[she doesn’t] have to rush anymore to get to [her] classes, so transitions between each period is much smoother.” She feels that her schedule is a lot more flexible now that she is not physically going into school or having to walk the halls between classes. Fenske has found that his classes in the morning are more based on asynchronous learning, and his classes in the afternoons are more synchronous. Some students have found that their synchronous and asynchronous time in class is very lopsided.

However, this can also be looked upon in a positive way. Fenske has found that he “likes how the level of asynchronous learning is mixed up in [his] day.” Many students like Fenske have also found this added flexibility while learning at home very valuable. Online school offers a wide range of teaching styles, as many teachers are still figuring out how they personally would like to run their class.

Fortunately, even in these uncertain times, there has been a lot of grace given from both students and staff. In just her first year of high school, Yoerks has “really enjoyed the teachers and their understanding,” and she finds, “[e]very teacher and/or staff member [she] has spoken to has been very supportive.” Encouragement and support for our fellow students is very important to have at this time. Online and hybrid learning has been a huge adjustment for not only the students and staff here at Eden Prairie High School, but for schools around the world as we continue to face the ongoing challenges of Covid-19.