Online classes through Dordt University create new options for PC students

by Sierra Pleima/sieplei20@pceagles.org

Pella Christian is going through many changes looking ahead to the  fall  of 2020. Online classes from Dordt University, as well as previously offered classes from DMACC, will be an attractive option for students who are serious about getting college credits, and staffing changes will lead to some new teaching assignments.

According to guidance counselor Brad Engbers, PC will become part of a pilot program that allows Dordt to offer online dual enrollment college credit at a significantly discounted fee. “We are excited to offer this program to our students as it allows us to offer college level courses taught from the same Christian worldview our families have committed to,” he said.

The Christian perspective that Dordt classes will offer is the main reason for the change. “What brought about the partnering was the fact that we have a lot of DMACC classes, but they are not taught from the Christian perspective. Dordt’s views are directly in line with ours, so we wanted to offer more online classes with a credible Christian University,” said vice principal Greg Wojczynski.

Another factor is the advantages that online college classes bring: options to add an extra major, study abroad, have a lighter course load, or even graduate early from college.

DMACC will be offering the same classes to PC students as last year– Intro to Business, Speech, Personal Finance, and College Composition as dual enrollment classes, and Intro to Programming Logic, C#, Social Psychology, Principles of Microeconomics, Principles of Macroeconomics, International Relations, Introduction to Anthropology, Astronomy, Aftrican American History, and Composition II as online college classes.

However the new partnership between Dordt and PC brings several additional course options for students, such as Intro to the Arts, Calculus I, Health Sport and Body, Lifespan Development, Responding to Literature, Computer Literacy for Business/Accounting, Creation Care and the Environment, Calculus II, Introductory Statistics, Principles of Marketing, Sociology and Social Justice, and Biblical Foundations.

Students will need to meet some requirements before they have the option to take an online college course. The student must be a junior or senior with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and score an ACT Composite of 19 or higher.

One thing administrators are keeping in mind is the importance of human interaction. “Potential drawbacks are the same for all online courses: the lack of face-to-face teaching. We believe that face-to-face is the best way for students to learn, but we couldn’t offer these courses face-to-face,” said Wojczynski.

When it comes to scheduling and managing classes, guidance counselor Brad Engbers is not worried. “Online classes are actually very flexible when it comes to scheduling.  They fit almost anywhere,” said Engbers. He added that he would be in charge of helping students with their online classes when needed.

Because of the new online options, some classes, such as British and World Literature (BWL), Statistics, and Calculus will be eliminated from the PC course list and replaced by similar college classes. Because BWL is no longer offered, the part-time position of teacher Noreen Vander Wal is being eliminated, so journalism duties will be passed on to current teacher/librarian Sheri Haveman.

PC publications will undergo some changes. “Mrs. Vander Wal leaves big shoes to fill, and publications will have to be scaled back next year,” said Haveman.

Also, with principal Dan Van Kooten leaving, Wojczynski will take the position of principal. History teacher Dan Vermeer will then take on teaching Government, a class formerly taught by Wojczynski. Teaching government will be a new challenge,” said Vermeer. “I have not taught government since 2001–nineteen years ago.”

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