Since COVID has required schools to make changes to protect students, one of the changes has been the optional VLA (Virtual Learning Academy) classes. I am a VLA student, but about half of my classes are exclusively in person. Which means that I have a good understanding of both VLA and in person classes, and the benefits of each.
My in person classes are just like how classes were last year. Where I have a designated period to listen to lessons and do work for each subject. With the expectation that I’ll finish the assigned work in class if not given the option to do it at home.
My online classes are essentially the opposite. Online, I have assigned amounts of work to do or lessons to take, and all day to finish them. So online classes allow me to work at a pace that is more comfortable for me, while not forcing me to sit in a quiet room for upwards of an hour if I finish the work too quickly.
The lessons are primarily the same, with the exception that Edgenuity lessons are usually shorter but I can’t easily get help if I have trouble understanding part of the lesson. Which happens often as it’s easy to lose focus while working online. Thankfully, I can rewind and listen to the lesson as many times as I may need, but that isn’t always helpful.
The most obvious difference between online and in person is that online students don’t get to interact with their classmates except for Zoom calls. This also includes group projects, student collaboration or discussion, and any class presentations.
The biggest benefit for taking VLA classes is staying COVID safe. Which means that for students in a household with a person who’s immune system is impaired, VLA classes are the best, if not the only option to make sure their family stays safe and healthy. Especially since a large number of people who take school in person don’t always wear their masks.
In my opinion, I prefer to take classes in person, but I know that online classes are necessary for protecting my family and other students at school. Which is why I take as many of my classes online as possible.