Independent Learning: A Step in the Right Direction

Katelyn Kim, Contributor

With the pandemic’s recent fluctuations come added risks to the safety of the Loomis Chaffee community. Given the increased chances of potential exposure of COVID-19, LC has issued a protocol to ensure students have a manageable workload.
By establishing a safety protocol for all students, the current plan has alleviated worries and stress about health and academics. Furthermore, as most thoughts were pressed upon the current pressure of the pandemic and the indefatigable routine regarding work during school, this education plan has guided students toward an easy and warm welcome back to campus.
The idea of “online learning” has become highly criticized for its lack of engagement as well as increased exhaustion and stress.
Nevertheless, as the recent Omicron variant has caused another massive outbreak, Loomis has incorporated a new concept of online learning—one that was highly gratifying to me as a student.
This new plan detailed an entirely asynchronous schedule where students were given assignments from each class to finish by the following week. Much different from Loomis Chaffee’s previous online learning approach, students’ reactions were excited and relieved, including mine.
Contradicting the widespread perceptions of “online learning,” Loomis Chaffee’s recent approach to the controversial idea has been an exceptional experience. During the two days of remote learning, I felt myself comfortably easing back into the school’s schedule while independently scheduling the workload for each day. Most notably, the flexibility of this new program greatly enhanced its popular appeal.
“I liked the online experience because it allowed us to work on our own time and not stress about [the work],” said Aveed Shrestha ’25.
Regarding the program’s flexibility, daily academic resources—including discussion material and faculty guidance—were always available for student use. For example, teachers would incorporate longer office hours, help students through Zoom, or be incredibly diligent about responding to students’ emails.
As all the assets central to a student’s learning were still arranged and presented, there was no dramatic impact that significantly affected the students. Although the new protocols of online education were heavily dependent on a student’s ability to organize their schedules and proactively seek assistance, I have particularly enjoyed the independence that this recent approach provided.
Considering the newfound flexibility and independence that Loomis Chaffee incorporated in this approach to online learning, as a student, I truly flourished in the short time period. I felt at ease during the first few days back from school, and was well-prepared to tackle the rigorous schedule that would eventually begin. Even though online school does not have an appealing reputation in the education system, Loomis Chaffee’s newly developed concept of independent learning has been appealing and should be considered as an option for future academic programming.