THE BULLDOG EXPRESS
For the first time, Greenwood High School has offered its students online classes through the Virtual Arkansas program.
According to its website, Virtual Arkansas is an “Arkansas-based program that is implemented through a partnership between the Arkansas Department of Education and the Arkansas Education Service Cooperatives. It provides an array of quality digital courses to public school students in Arkansas and utilizes Arkansas licensed instructors.”
Virtual Arkansas serves approximately 200 districts and over 30,000 student registrations, according to its website, and students who are enrolled in a public school may be enrolled in Virtual Arkansas courses by the local school administration.
Virtual Arkansas offers a lot of different classes, most of them revolving around careers. The students do all of their work on computer, and the students, for the most part, are the ones in control of how they learn.
Since the teachers are online, the website uses a feature called Zoom for face-to-face communication. It’s like a video chat where students can ask their teachers questions and get information about assignments.
Although there are teachers online, there is another on-site teacher overseeing the class.
There are many different courses a student can take. Virtual Arkansas offers core classes, advanced placement classes, electives and even foreign language classes such as German, French and Spanish. It also offers ACT prep classes.
Some of the more popular classes are law and order, abnormal psychology and intro to medical professions.
“I like them better than being in a classroom because it’s more personal and you can move at your own pace,” said sophomore Azure Molina, who is enrolled in two virtual classes.
Most of the students say that the site was difficult to navigate at first but that it is easy once you learn.
Tests are administered on a lockdown browser, which means students can only have one Internet tab opened at once and can’t leave it until the test is finished.
Virtual Arkansas describes itself as a resource to supply education for students and not an online high school.
It says that it is here to prepare students to be successful in their careers and for college. Molina agrees.
“They really do open you up to more real life work and prepare you for the future,” she said.