Online classes making advances

Students opt for online languages and credits


Dahlia Herman

Sophomore Gabe Fink learns Japanese asynchronously on May 1. Online classes have become popular among Park students.

Dahlia Herman

Taking classes through an online school has become increasingly popular among Park students. Many students want to pursue a language Park doesn’t offer, or prefer an online class format. A popular platform is Northern Star Online (NSO), which offers classes in all categories, from health and criminal justice to history of art and chemistry. They also offer a variety of world languages such as Chinese, American Sign Language, French, German, Korean, Japanese and Spanish. The diversity of class options attracts many on the search for a different class format.

Sophomore Gabe Fink said he takes Japanese through NSO because it is a unique opportunity that still earns him a high school language credit.

“It’s not offered in school, and I heard from a friend that NSO and Park had a partnership,” Fink said. “It meant I could take NSO classes and get a language credit through Park.” 

Sophomore Tarike Meyerhoff said they’re taking health online and the work is more permissive than classes offered in person at Park. 

“Online is self-paced and a little bit more work, but you get to complete the work whenever you want, and they’re more lenient with grading,” Meyerhoff said.

French teacher Kyle Sweeney said when taking language classes, it’s important for students to integrate themselves in the language they take through in-person classes to get the most fulfilling experience.

“I would never recommend (online language classes), because the reason to take a language is to speak the language and interact with it,” Sweeney said. “To learn and discuss the culture and learn the history of the places that speak that language is a more valuable experience.”

Fink said that taking an online language is similar to distance learning, but with more structure.

“Either you have to be motivated to do it, or really enjoy your language,” Fink said. “It’s completely asynchronous, so you basically have to self-place yourself with the materials you’re given, which in my opinion were very good.”

Sweeney said some students who switched to the online language classes thought it was monotonous, but others liked the structure. 

“They say it’s more structured grammar exercises and repetition — which a lot of students really like,” Sweeney said. “I’ve also heard it’s a little more boring, which some people are okay with, though.”

Students interested in learning a new language or getting a credit by taking new or current classes online can talk to their grade-level counselor about potential options.