One of the highlights of last spring semester was the chance to get to know one of our new students. Emma joined Oaks Christian Online midway through the year as an independent student and enrolled in two Bible courses at once—so I got to have her twice! Through this experience I came to learn how much Emma appreciates meaningful interaction and rigorous engagement with course content. The following is an interview with her:
Samantha: Hi Emma! Thanks for joining us here on the Oaks Christian Online blog. To get started, can you share with us what school you’re currently attending and how you came to take some courses with Oaks Christian Online? How did you hear about us and what caused you to enroll?
Emma: I am currently attending Valor Christian High School in Colorado. However, I spend the spring semester in Florida so I have been taking some courses through Oaks Christian Online to compensate for the courses that I miss during that time. My counselor suggested that I enroll in Oaks Christian Online for the courses that I would miss, so I did.
Samantha: Which courses are you taking at Oaks Christian Online and how have you found them so far?
Emma: I am taking Bible 3, Bible 4, and English 3. Thus far I have found them engaging and interesting and I have enjoyed how they have enabled me to have a flexible schedule.
Samantha: How has it been taking classes that are both academic and formational in an online setting?
Emma: It has been an interesting experience to take Bible classes online because you have the freedom to learn at your own pace and independently, but then you get to go to the live sessions and use what you have learned to have engaging conversations with your classmates.
Samantha: What would you say are some of the particular parts of the course(s) that you’ve found most meaningful or stimulating?
Emma: I have found the discussions to be the most meaningful because they allow me to engage with my teacher and other students.
Samantha: How has taking these courses with Oaks Christian Online assisted you in accomplishing your school and extracurricular goals?
Emma: Taking courses through Oaks Christian Online has made it possible for me to be competitive in my sports career while also being able to attend school.
Samantha: Many students come with certain expectations about what online learning will be like. What kinds of expectations did you have and how have those been reinforced or reshaped through your experience?
Emma: I thought it would be mostly independent but I have found that between the live sessions and the partner work I have been able to engage with the teachers and the students similarly to the way I would in a normal classroom setting.
Samantha: What do you feel makes a good live session? What are some of the some of the things you’ve learned so far from your classmates or from your teachers through live sessions?
Emma: I think that the questions that are investigated make or break the [Bible] live sessions. I have learned how to use the [Bible] course material in my everyday life and how to think about tough questions through the live sessions.
One of my favorite things about working with Emma so closely in Bible 3 and Bible 4 is to see how she truly gave herself to the learning in the course. She earned an exceptionally high grade in both courses, but more importantly, she truly immersed herself in them.
In one assignment, unprompted, Emma reflected: “Often when I read the assignment [prompt] I feel that it will not be impactful and that it is just something that I have to get done. However, when I actually do the assignments, I am more often than not surprised to find out that they are impactful”.
Isn’t that so true?
How often in education are we surprised at the ways that a book, an idea, a classmate, or a teacher that we initially thought had nothing to teach us, ends up radically changing the way we operate in the world. Emma certainly taught me a lot about what it looks like to appreciate the learning experiences available to us and to glean from them as much as possible. I am so grateful to know her.