EDITORIAL: New online model has few benefits, students prefer previous schedule
January 8, 2021
Only a few days before the holiday break was coming to an end, the administration announced another schedule change with online classes. The new model gives students and teachers Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings as dedicated asynchronous time to work on homework and other school assignments. All other days are synchronous, meaning students and teachers meet through Google Meets or Zoom.
Despite the new schedule change being a step in the right direction for students, it doesn’t fully cover all the needs of the students and teachers, leaving many confused and still trying to adjust to the new model.
It’s puzzling why the school wouldn’t return to the synch/asynch model, as this model was one that many liked and were used to. Establishing a new and unfamiliar model yet again doesn’t make much sense. Instead of creating an entire new schedule that many students and teachers either find confusing or struggle to adjust to, the school should have enacted the former synch/asynch model. Not only does this new model offer less than what the synch/asynch model provided, but it would also be easier if the school returned to what students and teachers are familiar with and know well.
Although this new model does provide students and teachers with asynch time to work on assignments, the previous model, with balanced synch and asynch, provided even more time and even all of Friday for students to work offline. Not only was this extra asynch time with the older model preferred by many students, but many teachers as well liked the synch/asynch as it gave them more time to work on grading and make new lessons. Of course, the new model does give students a break from being online throughout most of the day, and this model is much better than being fully virtual, yet the synch/asynch model is just a more suitable fit overall. For students, a crucial aspect of online learning is not being too overwhelmed and having to control feelings of stress and anxiety. The synch/asynch helped with this, giving students ample amount of time to work independently and providing less screen time, helping with students’ overall mental health.
A real benefit with the new model is that the asynch time is strictly for students to work. Teachers are not allowed to assign homework or classwork to students during these asynch times. This is different from the synch/asynch model where most teachers gave out additional work. Although many will argue that this aspect of the new schedule change is needed, this “free time” doesn’t truly help the teachers or students. For teachers, this is less time to teach their lessons. With virtual learning, there are already many lessons that have been cut from core classes and electives and this extra time will only take more of that away.
As for a solution for this confusion among students and teachers, the most obvious would be to return to the synch/asynch schedule. It’s a model that students and teachers are familiar with and it just simply works better. The synch/asynch model fits with everyone’s needs and wouldn’t require any students to adjust. Although as of now, switching schedules once again might be additionally confusing.
Despite the few benefits that the most recent model provides, it’s clear that the synch/asynch model is the best fit for students and teachers.