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the learning curve of online classes

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I'm not sure what to title this. The online class thing is new for us this year. I thought I planned well by stacking my kids' classes so that we would have a few free days. I didn't realize that three hours in a row was maybe too much.  🤦‍♀️  My poor DS.  Fortunately, one of his classes is just this semester, and I will choose a different time slot in the spring that is not stacked with two others.  He's being a good sport.  Lesson learned: better to spread them out or at least have a break in between. 

The other challenge that we've had is that, because I'm so particular, I chose different providers for almost every subject. So my kids are learning to navigate several different platforms and systems for logging into class, accessing assignments, submitting work, etc.  Which means that I am still way more involved than I wanted to be! I really want to get them to the point where *they* are managing their classes. 

So now of course I'm pre-planning the future in my head.  If we continue to go this route, is it better to use as few providers as possible so they can navigate it more independently? That would probably be very limiting in course selection. Is it too early for me to be kicking myself?  Maybe they will get the hang of it soon and I won't have to manage it all.  

Edited by kristin0713
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My kids have different providers and even the same provider can have teachers using different platforms. For example, I had a community college teacher that does not like Canvas for discussions and prefers Slack so we all have to create a Slack account for classwork. My kids saved their passwords on their laptops. 
I just let my kids swim or sink though because it was middle school and I treated those courses as good prep for dual enrollment time management skills.  It’s not going to affect their high school GPA to get a mix of As to Ds in middle school. 
The learned skill of adapting to online classes was useful when our local community colleges had to switch to online last March with about two weeks warning. DS16 wasn’t happy but he was used to all his classes being online and just treated it as business as usual.


We did bring laptops and headsets on road trips so sometimes kids were attending classes in hotel rooms. 

Edited by Arcadia
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Unfortunately, they're all different. DS is taking 2 classes at the local JC this year. Only one is using Canvas, which he's used before, but a version local to the college and it's subtly different. And even then, assignments are to be submitted via an alternative mechanism. PAH has its own site, which many classes use, but some don't and those that don't are all over the place. It is what it is.

FWIW - I struggled with essentially this for in-person school in High School. The German teacher wrote assignments on a consistent corner of the board and left the notes there till they were due. The math teacher mostly just said them verbally. The chem teacher had them written on the back board when you came in and you were supposed to notice. History handed out a page at the start of each unit that had all the assignments listed on it for the unit. some wanted them placed in the basket as you walk in, some handed in on request. <shrug>. I think you just have to adapt. I find this kind of organization challenging, but it's not going away.

Edited by AEC
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@kristin0713 I hope your DS will be OK this semester and that next semester you will arrange a much better schedule for him.  My DD was a Distance Learning student in TTUISD (now TTU K12) starting in 6th grade. Originally the Online courses (which there were not many of in the first few years) were on Moodle, which is a platform based in Australia. Then, they switched to another platform, and then I believe to another one. They are all a little different. 

The first MOOC course I took was from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and was on the Canvas platform. I still remember that course as a Winner.  I have taken courses on EDX.org and on Coursera.org   They are very similar but they have differences. 

My DD was home for the Spring 2021 semester. All of her courses were Online. Some days she had 3 "back to back" courses. I believe she had at least 15 minutes between those courses. I believe that was very quick, but the situation for your DS is worse.  The days that she had 3 courses one on top of the other I just tried to stay out of her way and not bother her... And they were on the same platform, whatever UNC uses.

I hope you can get a kinder, more gentle schedule for your DS for next semester.

NOTE: When the COVID-19 thing hit in early 2020, my DD was on "Spring Break" which they extended for one week as I recall. Then, they switched to "Online" courses. The experiences my DD had in TTUISD provided super preparation for her when UNC went to all Online courses last year.

Good luck to your DS!

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16 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

Is it too early for me to be kicking myself?


They will get the hang of it, and they will develop preferences.  For next year's classes you could look together at the platform and they could have more input. Dd hates moodle and loves canvas, and if a class choice was borderline that might be a deciding factor. 

I don't think it's a bad thing to learn a number of different ones, and yes, you will be less involved soon.  Learning to navigate these platforms is a solid skill and your student is learning it!

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We have used many online classes. While consolidating into one or two providers is likely preferable (they also tend to have different break schedules) I have remained picky enough that my children take the classes I feel best for them even if it means different providers. If all things were equal, or close to equal, I would put them with a provider we were already using. 

I think it is common to be overwhelmed. I think you will get the hang of it and it will become easier and you will be able to be less involved and your child will learn valuable skills. My college kids had multiple platforms to manage even for in person classes. I would stay involved in helping him get a system or routine to manage it. Investing that time now will save you later. 

My kids did well with online classes but even for them three hours is a long haul. They did it, on occasion, but it was not ideal and I wouldn’t recommend it. So you are not alone in a problem with that. It’s a very long time to be in online classes. Much different than three hours of in person school. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

There is definitely a learning curve. My ds is taking 4 live classes this year and 3 of them are on one day. It is a lot. He doesn't like it (neither do I) but it is just how it worked out. There are so many different details for them to work with . . . I am finally now, about 6 weeks into school, starting to see some progress, They will get used to the different platforms . . . the biggest issue we have run into with different providers is different breaks. More than one provider means potentially not getting a (complete) spring break at all. Thus far, it has been worth it and we choose different providers, but I try to keep it limited if possible. 

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