Take advantage of special online courses from colleges

During quarantine, it can be difficult to stay productive. In a 21st century world filled to the brim with all sorts of entertainment media, doing something productive can seem like an absolute and unnecessary bore. However, productivity doesn’t have to be unnecessary – and it certainly doesn’t have to be boring either. Fortunately, the world of online classes exists – and the quarantine special involves some special courses from some special colleges. 

However, this world was clouded to me for some time before a fateful email from my teacher. For two months of quarantine, I had been doing nothing but playing video games and going on the occasional walk around the block. I was a bit surprised at my lack of exposure to these websites, and when my peers felt similarly, it made me wonder what could be done to increase the number of students at Bonita Vista High (BVH) who are getting involved with these online classes. The BVH administration should avidly encourage students to take advantage of the opportunity to take these online university courses. 

For starters, many of the classes being offered are from some of the most academically prestigious universities in the world. That Harvard cooking class wasn’t the only course from a big name school; websites such as coursera.com and edx.org note that they offer courses from schools like Stanford, Duke, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and more. The Harvard cooking class isn’t even the only class from Harvard, with an article from the Jakarta Post reporting that the university released 67 free online courses for use during quarantine. The opportunity to learn from some of the best places on the planet from the comfort of one’s own home for free — is just too good to pass up. 

Additionally, the freshmen, sophomores and juniors at BVH unfold another opportunity by taking these online courses: a better college resume. Colleges love having students who are experts at taking advantage of the resources available to them, and what better way to spend quarantine than taking an online class for a subject students are passionate about? For the prospective Computer Science major, taking a class in a new programming language from MIT is likely to better their chances in the college admissions process. Overall, a new course shows colleges that the learner in students can persist even during times where one can’t be in a traditional classroom. 

But taking online classes isn’t just about the prestige. Taking an online university class — regardless of the university offering it — opens up students to a wider breadth of knowledge. For example, in high school, students who enjoy chemistry can take on the path of going from Honors Chemistry to Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry and end with International Baccalaureate (IB) Chemistry. At the college level, three years of high school chemistry typically covers about a semester’s worth of general chemistry courses because they don’t go in-depth for each individual chemistry topic. However, an online class changes the game entirely. In particular, MIT offers a plethora of chemistry classes through its OpenCourseWare (OCW) website. This allows students interested in the topic to explore and learn information that high school chemistry (or any subject) doesn’t teach. 

Overall, it is imperative that the BVH administration and the SUHSD district as a whole gives the students the information necessary to make the most of the time in lockdown. Taking an online class allows students to do exactly that.