Review of the Easy Essay Writing Online Class from Bridgeway Academy

One of Kathryne’s requests for her schooling this year was that she be allowed to take some online classes. She is a new high school student, and she’s trying to work independently. She wanted a chance to be taking a class from someone other than me. I had the opportunity to choose an online class for her from Bridgeway Academy.

Bridgeway Logo photo bridgewayacademylogo_zps8c2d62cc.jpgBridgeway Academy offers a complete online academy. But they also offer independent classes or Learning Labs. We received 8 weeks of the Easy Essay Writing online class. This page describes the Learning Labs. Most of them are 9 week classes that meet for 90 minutes each week. The high school leveled classes (that can receive .5 hours of credit) are $275. For the review we had 8 weeks that met for 60 minutes each week. Occasionally the teacher would stay on for those who had questions.

About a week before the first class was scheduled to begin, we received information about how to set up a video/chat meeting platform called Jigsaw Meeting. The instructions were good, and I didn’t have any trouble setting up the platform for Kathryne. Kathryne’s instructor sent the Jigsaw information along with a welcome email that introduced herself and let the students know what to expect. She included a syllabus with a list of assignments due each week and instructions to turn them by Friday afternoons.

Kathryne set up and was ready for her first class. Her instructor had let them students know that she would be online about an hour early so that they could make sure their computers and mics worked before class started. She didn’t have any trouble logging on. There was a little learning curve in figuring out how the white board and chat screens worked within the meeting platform. But there were quite a few technical problems overall. She said many students couldn’t be “seen” in their responses. Mics didn’t work. And the instructor sent an email after class saying that, although the classes were supposed to be recorded, the recording didn’t work.

We had a little trouble with communication. I had signed up for the program using my email not Kathryne’s, so her instructor’s emails came to me. I told Kathryne to let her know her email and that she was responsible for communication. That was one of my goals for this course. Kathryne did that. We had to miss Week 2 of the class for our Disney trip. (I had let everyone know ahead of time, and we thought the classes were being recorded.) I had Kathryne send the email letting her instructor know and asking about when to turn in her work. She didn’t get an answer. I finally sent an email while were on vacation, and her instructor answered me and said she had sent Kathryne a reply. She wasn’t checking her email every day on vacation and had missed it. After my discussion with the instructor, things went a little better with communication,

We also had some trouble with the recorded class. When we returned from our trip, Kathryne tried to listen to it following the link her instructor sent us for accessing the recordings. She pulled up the meeting, but there was no sound. She could watch what was being written on the whiteboard, but she couldn’t hear any teaching. She completed and turned in the assignment anyway, and the instructor said it seemed as if she had understood the material without being able to hear.

The other issue we had with this class was the way the instructor handled homework. It was due on Friday afternoons, and Kathryne did wait until the last minute to turn it in most weeks even if she already had it done. The class was on Mondays. Kathryne never heard anything about her homework until Mondays- usually right before the class, if she happened to check email that morning. In one week she heard nothing, only to find out during class that her instructor said she hadn’t received it. Because Kathryne had been turning it in other weeks, I would have thought the instructor would have followed up when it didn’t come in. That way Kathryne could have resent it. One another week, she didn’t hear anything about her homework, and when the class started Monday, her instructor said she hadn’t had time to look at them. I’ve been a teacher, and I know weekends can be busy. I wish she would have made the homework due a little earlier, so that she could make sure she had time to check it and respond before the class. That way they could know what they were doing wrong and be able to ask questions in class. Because this class only met once a week, I felt like homework was a pretty important thing to check.

The content of the course seemed good. She taught essay writing using the typical outline for an essay. She focused on thesis statements and the importance of outlining. Kathryne said she knew some of the material because we talked about essay writing a little last year. But, I think there were things she learned. And I think having the opportunity to have someone besides me explain things was good.

I think the best things about this class for Kathryne was the experience of taking a class from someone else in a different setting. She was able to have the experience of a classroom. She was able to see other people respond. She got to be called on to answer questions. She had to be courageous enough to click the “raise hand” button and offer an answer. She also had the opportunity to learn how to communicate with a teacher. She learned that it was important to check email if she was waiting on a reply. She learned how to follow a syllabus and how to budget her time so that she didn’t save everything until the last minute.

It was good for Kathryne to have this experience. I’m not sure how much she learned about essay writing. But she did learn what it would be like to be a part of a “regular” class. And I know those lessons will be important as she continues through high school and has the opportunity to take those kinds of classes more often.

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Other Review Crew members had the opportunity to review other classes from Bridgeway Academy. So you can see what others thought about this class and the others by clicking below.


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