Students and Teachers Find Ways to Improve Online Educations


Finn Greteman

Finn Greteman ’23 doing schoolwork in his bedroom.

Julius Perez, Reporter

With the Iowa City Community School District’s decision to move all students online, Zoom classes are now once again a big part of school for all City High students. 

“I feel like teachers are doing a good job of getting kids work but I feel like there should be more work that’s happening in the Zoom call instead of more homework,” Isaac Miller ‘23 said. 

Braeden Marker ‘23 feels that teachers are doing a good job not overloading students with work, however he feels certain types of assignments are better.

“It forces you to pay attention,” Marker said when talking about Edpuzzle, a website that allows teachers to create interactive video lessons for their students.

Bella Skay ‘23 believes engagement is an important part of learning in the classroom.

“Quizlet Live and Kahoot are very engaging, along with Jamboard, this way everyone is participating,” Skay said.

Miller believes other online tools for teaching are useful for keeping students engaged and motivated in online learning.

“My Spanish teacher is doing a pretty good job of using Pear Deck, when we’re running through slides that she’s made where you can actually respond and then she goes over what we missed or what’s like good and what’s bad, that’s nice and helpful,” Miller said, “Those like websites that you can use to interact with students are really good because now I feel like I’m actually learning stuff.” 

Miller, Skay, and Marker are all currently enrolled in the online option, giving them 10 weeks of experience with online learning. They feel teachers are doing a good job, but they believe there are certain aspects of online class that teachers could  make better. In school’s current environment, Miller feels that class time would be best used going over content and helping students understand the work teachers are handing out. 

“I feel like doing work in class is good, because when I leave class with a bunch of work I sometimes feel confused and unmotivated… but going over work in class is great because you get a chance to get help from teachers,” Miller said. 

Miller and Marker both feel that online school is more difficult than normal in-person school. However, Marker revealed that teachers can assign work that fits with an online class better than other types of work.

“Assignments [that are] easier to do independently, where you have the answers there so you can make sure you’re doing it right without having to be in the presence of someone who knows the answers, that best fits online class,” Marker said.

Another aspect of online school that Miller, Skay, and Marker all agreed had room for improvement was the answering and asking of questions. They all recounted having to email teachers during asynchronous times with questions about assignments.

“For me, it depends on the teacher, some teachers I’ll send an email, and some teachers I’ll wait until the next day because some of my teachers don’t respond to emails in like eight hours of time,” Miller said.

These students all agreed that making the Canvas homepage interface more clear, and organized, helps them with their online school. Canvas is a learning management system used by teachers to manage online course learning materials.

“If they don’t have a calendar in their Canvas page that actually explicitly shows you what things you need to do for each day of the week. That’s really important,” Marker said.

Marker, Skay, and Miller all acknowledged that teachers are doing their best with online school, and they thank them for that. 

“I feel that zoom classes are quite productive,” Skay said.