CHERRY HILL, NJ, MAY 29 – When Camden Catholic High School senior Carrie Clements signed up for her freshman-year courses next fall at the University of Dayton, she was given the opportunity to enroll in both classroom and online classes, even as a student living on campus. “That’s becoming more and more common. College students today are finding online courses to be a standard offering in their college curriculum,” said Heather Crisci, vice-principal for faculty and curriculum at Camden Catholic in Cherry Hill. To expose the students to this mode of learning, Camden Catholic has launched an online learning program for freshman English students.
“One of the most wonderful things we’re seeing with this forum is how students who are ordinarily very quiet in the classroom are participating in the discussions with great passion. It’s a project they can really ‘take a hold of,’” Crisci noted.
Before beginning the pilot program, Camden Catholic sent notes to the students’ homes, outlining the online learning program. While nearly all of the students have computer access at home, the school provides teachers with a mobile computer lab with 36 laptops and the necessary equipment. Teachers request the mobile lab for their classrooms as needed. In addition, computers are fully available to the students in both the permanent computer lab at the school and before and after school in the library. “We’ve had complete cooperation from everyone on this project and the students are really responding,” Crisci said.
The English teachers created an online blog where the discussion takes place. Only invited students can enter the discussion room. So far, Crisci has been extremely happy with the appropriate academic tone the students have used while working online. “We haven’t seen any of the typical Instant Messaging language that young people might use with each other in their personal communications,” she said.
Freshmen are studying “To Kill a Mockingbird” until the end of the school year. With the great success of the program, Crisci reports that Camden Catholic will almost certainly incorporate it into next year’s curriculum and possibly into other subject areas. “This has worked out very well and we look forward to continuing it,” she said.
About Camden Catholic High School
Camden Catholic High School, Cherry Hill, South Jersey’s oldest Catholic co-educational college preparatory school, was founded in 1887. Known for its academics, arts, and athletics, it has
approximately 1,000 students from 70 towns and cities throughout South Jersey. Each year, approximately 95% of the students enroll in two- and four-year colleges. The website for the school, which celebrates the themes of opportunity, community, and tradition, is www.camdencatholic.org