Students Outline Challenges With Online AP, IB Classes News2america

“I’m actually getting my pilot’s license through that and I didn’t want to give that up,” she says. Taking an online IB class, in addition to eight other courses, has allowed her to do just that.

But before students enroll in an online AP or IB course, they should consider the following.

1. Online AP and IB classes require more responsibility. The challenge of learning online is being independent, Olivia Belliveau, a student at Bunnell High School in Stratford, Connecticut, said via email. The 17-year-old senior is taking AP Calculus BC through the Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative because it was not offered at her school this year.

“There is no one writing the homework on the board for you, and there is no basket to put it in the next day,” she said. “I have to be disciplined enough to set aside time each day to do online work when no one is reminding me to.”

Woodrow manages her online course work by sticking to a strict schedule, she says.

She finds the deadlines in her online IB Information Technology in a Global Society class helpful because it forces her to stay on track, she says.

2. Teachers and classmates could be located around the world. Woodrow has classmates from across the globe, she says. Her main teacher is based in North Carolina.

“This week we are actually working on a group project,” she says. “Yesterday I had a video call at 6 a.m. my time with people from Dubai, France – people that are from all over. Very cool.” 

Working on the group project was tricky, but her group used video chats, a discussion forum through the course’s website and Facebook to communicate and ease the process, she says.

But she doesn’t really get the opportunities for the same in-class interactions as she would in an offline class. 

“You could never just turn to someone and be like, ‘Hey are you getting this?'” she says. Though, she notes, her instructor is readily available via email.  

Belliveau’s instructor is available via email as well, and she is required to meet with the instructor once a week using a Web tool. But Belliveau said that when taking an online AP U.S. History class through a different provider last year, it became difficult to have discussions through forums since not everyone was taking the course at the same pace.

3. Online AP and IB classes may be just as demanding as offline classes. “In some ways it’s easier to take a class online because I can structure my study time around my own schedule,” Belliveau said. And in the class she is taking now, she does have a bit more flexibility when completing certain sections as deadlines are less rigid than they are in her school. 

Woodrow thinks she probably has the same amount of homework for her online IB class as she does in her other courses, but she can get through the course material in the online class quicker because she doesn’t have to listen to other students questions. 

She spends about four to six hours on the course each week and is required to be logged into the course for a particular number of hours weekly. Coursework includes readings, videos and discussion activities, she says. 

“Make sure you have enough time, definitely. It’s definitely a responsibility,” she says. “That was what was most shocking to me, how much time I had to spend on it.”

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