Who's Taking GOAs?

Clare Hardiman At Latin, students have the opportunity to choose from a variety of classes, whether their interests lie in math, science, english, art, or elsewhere. Students can alternatively pursue specific interests through participation in online courses. In fact, many Latin students have forgone taking an in-person elective to participate in the Global Online Academy (GOA) program. Although courses are digital, students can interact with their teacher and communicate one-on-one if necessary. Further, Global Online Academy allows students to explore a particular academic discipline that might not be taught at their school; for example, students can take courses in Neuropsychology or courses veered towards understanding a particular language, such as Arabic. Prior to this year, GOA courses were not as widespread or as well-known in the Latin community. However, there has been a recent surge in their popularity, which many Latin students believe is among female students. While it’s true that about 70% of all students at Latin that are currently taking a GOA course are girls, Ms. Merrell, the site director of the Global Online Academy program, explained that GOA classes don’t necessarily cater to the interests of girls more than guys as “enrollment is based on what people want to take.” Some of the most popular GOA courses at Latin are Intro to Psych, Abnormal Psych, and Neuropsych. A majority, if not all, of the students in these classes are girls. Contrastingly, guys are mostly enrolled in the Game Theory, Graphic Design, and Linear Algebra GOAs this semester. This semester’s data is not reflective, however, of past years or even of the past semester, according to Ms. Merrell. In 2012 — the first year that GOA courses were offered at Latin — there were seven female and seven male students enrolled. GOA programs are by no means tailored towards female student’s interests more so than males’and it’s clear, after talking with Ms. Merrell, that this semester’s current gender imbalance is likely just a coincidence. The enticing proponent of GOA courses seems to be, instead, that they allow for more flexibility; with the extra free period, students can choose whether to work on assignments for their GOA course or to work on homework from their other classes at Latin. The sense of control and adaptability that comes from taking a GOA course — even if at times it might be difficult to manage one’s schedule — could minimize the feeling of stress and therefore allow students to succeed at a higher level academically. Additionally, GOA courses are growing in popularity as many apply to specific real life situations or jobs students might be interested in pursuing. For example, if a student is considering going into the medical field and enjoys science, it might be helpful to take the Medical Problem Solving Course as it would give them a taste of real life problems in health industry. GOA courses offer a one of a kind high school opportunity that both all students should not hesitate to take advantage of. With their flexibility and modern take on global education, GOA courses will undoubtedly become more popular in schools internationally, as well as regionally — including at Latin. If any Latin students are considering pursuing a certain GOA course, I can say that from hearing about other people’s experiences thus far, the Global Online Academy creates a structured yet interactive online environment that allows students to thrive academically. ]]>