AP classes adapt to virtual learning

Cameron Gibson, Media & Online Editor

The switch to online learning has not been an easy one for students or teachers. One group who has had significant challenges to overcome has been the AP teachers. To deal with these issues, AP classes and their instructional methods have had to change.

In regard to what challenges she has been facing with virtual learning, Science Department Chairman Julie Baker responded, “I feel like it takes longer to conduct classes online. We cover less during a class period. I also feel like students do not say as much or volunteer to answer questions as much online as compared to in-class learning. I also feel like it is easier to determine if students are understanding a topic if they are in-person rather than online.”
Most classes have also had to adjust to navigating unfamiliar websites and applications which can be confusing for both teachers and students to use. One way AP classes have changed to accommodate this is by allowing students to have more time to do their work.
AP Physics teacher Anthony Davidson discussed how teaching has been adjusted for online learning. “The teaching has slowed down to make sure students have the time to work on tasks with added time of flipping through applications they are not familiar with.”
AP science teachers are also facing the challenge of not being able to do in-person labs. These labs are useful in helping students understand certain topics, but due to the current situation, they are impossible for students to do.
Dr. Baker commented, “For the first lab, I am going to do the experiment and collect data for them, and they are going to analyze the data. Instead of going into Chapter 4 on Solutions which has several labs, we will go to Chapter 7 on atomic structure and then Chapter 8 on chemical bonding. Hopefully, by the time we finish that, students will be back at school, and they can do labs themselves.”
Dr. Davidson also added information on how he is doing labs. “Currently I use websites like Gizmo which lets the students do labs online. As we get into other topics, students will use Logger Pro and their video cameras to analyze motion.”
Vice Principal of Academics Jake Hollin commented on the AP program at JC as a whole.
“I think we are in really good shape because of the dedication of our teachers. I know that they are working extra hard to prepare our students in a very unique situation,” he said.
Another change to AP classes is how the AP test will be given in the spring. Due to the cancellation of in-person school last spring, AP tests were vastly different than normal, and teachers had to quickly adjust to this.
In regard to any changes being made to the AP tests this year, neither Dr. Baker nor Dr. Davidson said they had been given any information.
Regarding if he had any updates on the AP test, Mr. Hollin said, “No, we hear pretty much the same time the students do.”
Teaching an AP class is challenging as it is, and virtual learning certainly doesn’t help. AP teachers across JC have been working with their students to make it through this unique situation.