Stuck in boarding school, but liberated by an online education!

21 Feb

As a boarding school student living in the middle-of-nowhere, an online course seems like heaven… A door to the rest of the world! I live among 209 girls from 19 countries and 18 states. Our 145-acre campus can feel rather small, especially in the winter season when we must all huddle together by furnaces to keep warm. For those who have never attended boarding school, it is a shocking and challenging experience. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my school was now offering even more opportunities through an online school, and I decided to further challenge myself with an online AP U.S. Government course.

I was apprehensive at first on how I would meet the challenge of completing all of my assignments with the addition of another AP course, yet I have found our online course to be a great fit for my learning style. In AP Gov with Mr. G., I have learned through tools such as, Google Presentations, VIMEO, Haiku, Voicethread and WordPress -all tools that I had never heard of before. Not only has this online course taught me a lesson on time management and the importance of meeting deadlines, but also how to learn by means of resources available at my disposal that I had never previously used.

AP Gov requires collaboration with partners for various projects, including presentations with more than one online tool. Therefore, this requires patience with each other and oneself. Through the simple task of converting  a Google presentation to Powerpoint and uploading to Voicethread, I have learned to have patience with myself when learning new tricks of the trade. At first, I was nervous about all the ‘steps’ it took to complete one assignment. I admit, I was even nervous that I might disappoint my partner. Luckily, the girls in our class have all been so welcoming, friendly and helpful whenever I have needed assistance.

My interest really peaked during our last Unit regarding Civil Rights, especially regarding education and disabilities. Having attended a large inner-city public high school for my freshman year, I became aware of the struggles of students with disabilities. Our high school adapted their architectural plan in order accommodate the needs of those who required wheel-chairs. In addition to the building accommodations, my high school also hired Personal Aids for those with more serious learning disabilities. These Personal Aids were adult guides who helped the student move from class to class and stay organized. These accommodations were all made possible in my public high school through government funding. I was so proud that these individuals were taken care of by our school system. Therefore, my interest in education stems from my first-hand knowledge of what a school system can do to appropriately accommodate those individuals who need further assistance to have an easier daily routine. This is an example of how the University of Virginia accommodates their students with disabilities. They have a written handbook on the matter:

As an AP Government student, I find this course has made me a citizen who is more aware, a citizen who puts aside my daily grind in order to learn about larger issues and events that occur in our nation. I have noticed that since the beginning of this course, I have been paying more attention to the events that affect our nation. I am becoming more aware of American politics. It has been a great experience to offer my personal insights into the issues of American government that interest me the most.

My classmates in AP Government have also helped me become a citizen who is more well-rounded. As we share our personal interests and our own opinions on the topics discussed on Haiku, I am learning about each person as an individual, and I am benefiting from their viewpoints on certain topics. Through this course, I have become more open-minded in considering views other than my own. All in all, AP GOV ROCKS!


Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Learning


22 responses to “Stuck in boarding school, but liberated by an online education!

  1. Judy Arzt

    February 21, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Wow, this is a powerful post about: (1) learning online, (2) your course, and (3) the insights you have gained from the course and your forays into using tech tools for communication and collaboration. I am teaching a course, Integrating Technology and Literacy, to graduate students enrolled in our School of Education at The University of Saint Joseph, CT. Most of the students are pre-service teachers in the process of getting credentialed to become teachers or teachers in the first few years of teaching. Do you mind if I share this post with them? We have been studying the concept of online learning and how it empowers students as well as how effective use of tech tools engages students in the learning process. Your work in this course is a demonstration of what we have been learning.

    • hannahosg

      February 21, 2012 at 11:28 am

      Of course, by all means! Make sure to check out the other bloggers, too. They have all shared very interesting insights on the online school experience.

  2. Gabe

    February 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Great post! As a student with a physical disability, it’s nice to see people learning about the numerous obstacles students with disabilities face while pursuing their education. It is important that we continue to help students with disabilities and continue to improve on accommodations and accessibility in the classroom, both on and off line.

    • hannahosg

      February 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      Gabe, what a wonderful response you’ve written. It is true that it is important for our society to offer accessibility to all of the community. Our every day lives too easily become monotonous routines, and I have found that my online class has kept me ‘on the ball’ so to speak. I’m interested in all different conversations that I hear in school and on the news. I feel as though I have this new perspective: it is my responsibility to learn about my community and society at large.

      Your posting was most impressive to me because of your own experience in life. As a student with a physical disability, I am sure you are an individual who could advise what accommodations would be most helpful for other individuals with physical disabilities. I would be interested in learning more about your experience in facing obstacles at school. Again, thank you for your posting, Gabe!

  3. @connollytrevor

    February 21, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Great to read from a student that is engaging so positively with the material and overcoming obstacles along the way. I’m sure an active blog will strengthen that knowledge through reflective learning. Good luck with it.

    • hannahosg

      February 29, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      I, too, hope that blogging with strengthen my observations during my experience of an online class. Reflective learning has proven to be a great way to strengthen my learning style. I find myself learning more from others than I had before this course. My online school peers have some great opinions and their blogs have been quite fun and interesting to read! Thank you for your response!

  4. hollyboardman

    February 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    This is a wonderful post! I am a social studies teacher AND a student at the University of Central Florida. I am taking graduate courses in teaching online. My latest assignment is to begin to develop an online course that will involve the use of various online tools in order to help students collaborate and interact. Your post is very helpful. Thank you.

    • hannahosg

      February 29, 2012 at 7:23 pm

      Ms. Boardman, I am so glad that my post could serve as informative for your assignment. I hope you have had luck in completing your assignment and creating a wonderful online course. The online tools that I have commented about in my posting have been so helpful, especially in terms of group projects. Best of luck!

  5. William Chamberlain (@wmchamberlain)

    February 21, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    This post is a great example of how learning online can be successful. I think you identified the two most important variables, a willingness to try and a great teacher. Thanks for sharing that you are at a boarding school. I just had a discussion with my students today about boarding schools in England (I just read a blog post from students in one of them) and now I have another example to share 🙂

    Mr. C

    • hannahosg

      February 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      Mr. C,

      I’m glad to be an example for your class. I have learned so much through this online class from my teacher, my classmates and a new reflective learning style. Being in boarding school, I have so many opportunities at my disposal, an online class being one of them. I am a lucky participant of OSG, Online School for Girls, and I have really enjoyed interacting with girls from all over the country, including Hawaii and California, through group projects and class discussions.

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post!


  6. Mrs. Musone

    February 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Hi, Hannah! Kudos on your first blog post. It is obvious you are a reflective learner…which helps in the learning process. I enjoyed reading your post and hope there will be more posts to come!

    • hannahosg

      February 29, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      Dear Mrs. Musone, I appreciated receiving your response because I was a little nervous about writing a blog that would interest my viewers; however, it seems that I am off to a good start, and even more importantly, I’m enjoying every minute of blogging — just another great new thing I’ve learned from my online class! I hope you continue to read my postings and enjoy my reflections. Thank you for taking the time to read my posting, Mrs. Musone!

  7. Marian Olivas

    February 21, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Hi Hannah — I am really interested in your ideas about feeling more connected to the wider community via an online course. This is in contrast to the idea that online education might isolate people. I will be interested to see how those connections continue and what you think you learn from them.

    • hannahosg

      February 29, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      Thank you so much for your response to my post, Ms. Olivas! I love that you are able to enjoy what I’ve written about my experience in an online course. Although I spend my time completing homework and tests on the computer, the other half of the course involves reading the newspaper, engaging with knowledgeable people in my community and soaking up as many opinions and observations from my daily life as possible. This is all what I have learned since beginning the course. I will be excited to see where I find myself in the next week and what observations I will blog about. Best wishes, Ms. Olivas.

  8. Suzie Boss

    February 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Hi Hannah,
    I love your astute understanding of the need for patience–for oneself and for others–as a key to making collaboration work. I look forward to reading more of your reflections. Thanks for sharing.

    • hannahosg

      February 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm

      Ms. Boss: I am so glad that you loved that part of my posting. It is indeed true that patience has been a key to making collaboration work in this online course. I continue to learn from my classmates even as we learn from different parts of the country. Thank you for taking the time to read my post, Ms. Boss!

  9. Brad R

    February 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Hi, Hannah – I love how you connect the powers of online learning to becoming a better citizen. I think that your ideas are spot on. Right now, I am reading your post while in Mumbai, India about to present to American schools who have gathered here to talk about online learning. All of the schools here are interested both in how to encourage greater global citizenry and how to connect their students to American government and roots. Would you mind if I share your post with them? Best wishes.

    • hannahosg

      February 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      Brad, thank you for your post. I would have loved for you to share my posting with these American schools, but I apologize for my late response. I hope that your meeting with these schools was helpful to them, and I hope they pursue online learning. My online course has proven to be an exceptional experience where I can discuss and debate the most relevant topics of today. Online learning is very structured and a great way to learn. I wish you great progress in promoting online learning. It is a great way to promote greater global citizenry.

  10. Heather Mannella

    February 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Hannah, wonderful post. Very reflective. I love how your experience with the OSG has made you feel more open and aware of current events and how they affect our country. Kudos!

    • hannahosg

      February 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      Thank you for your post, Heather. I hope to continue to benefit from all that this experience has to offer. I’m learning so much and enjoying our class discussions.

  11. Claire Criss

    February 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I’m a student from Dallas, TX writing for my Gov class.

    Being the daughter of a lawyer and a major debater for the school team, I have always been well aware of the political world. I figured that a class about politics would be easy and slackworthy. While the class is not too terribly extensive, I agree with you in the fact that gov is making me a much more aware participant in society.

    • hannahosg

      February 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      Claire, When I first took on the challenge of AP US Government, I was unsure as to how interested I would be in the material; however, in reading the materials for this class, I have surprised myself with my level of interest. I find myself picking up the newspaper before breakfast and beginning a conversation with the other girls about what’s going on in the world today!

      I also find that I’m a very opinionated person. In this course, there are often topics for discussion and debate, which is one of the most fun parts of the class for me. I hope you continue to enjoy the class and good luck!

      Furthermore, Claire, I appreciate your response to my post, it’s really great to hear back from someone who is going through this experience.


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