Dana Hall students explore online learning

While Dana Hall’s delivery of its program will always be an in-class experience for students, the School made the decision last spring to offer the Advanced Placement Computer Science course through the Online School for Girls beginning this year.

The number of Dana Hall students who enroll in AP Computer Science tends to be small. Last year, five students enrolled in the course with Ms. Charlotte Kiang as their teacher. Because of these small numbers and the nature of the material, AP Computer Science is the first online course offered by Dana Hall, according to Ms. Nancy Rich, the Academic Dean.

The girls who take AP Computer Science this year take the course online, do their homework online, take tests online, and ask teachers questions online. According to the Online School for Girls’ website, it is “both the first single-gender online school and the first independent online school in the world.” Students go to this website and open videos that have recorded by teacher in that specific field.

Annie Song ’14, one of the students from AP Computer Science, noted, “This is my first time to do everything online for a course, and I like this experience. If I have to say anything negative, I just wish the professor’s tone in the teaching video could be more excited.” Lulu Cao ’14, another students from the same course, said, “I was first worried whether I could transform smoothly to an entire online based AP course, but now I am doing well on this course; however, I have to say this way of study requires students to be responsible and disciplined for themselves. ” Cao said that there is no teacher chasing after students for homework, and there is no conference period or a lot free time to meet with teachers. As a result, students should be responsible to themselves and keep working hard even though there is no teacher supervising right next to them.

Rich commented, “More than ever in the 21st century, the field of computer science is the backbone of much that drives our everyday lives and shapes innovation for the future. Traditionally, young women veer away from computer science; however, it is our hope at Dana Hall that enrollment in the School’s computer science offerings will continue to grow and, too, that more of our students will continue their computer science studies in college.”

Zirui Jiao ’16, who wants to take AP Computer Science next year, said, “I am looking forward to seeing the results of the first-year online course of AP Computer Science, and I hope this is a successful choice.”

Photo: Dana Hall students are for the first time this year studying AP Computer Science through the Online School for Girls. Photo credit: Luceo Wang.

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