Asynchronous Learning Gives Students Time to Work Independently

Grace Liu, Staff Writer

Aug. 5, the Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) school board approved the distance learning schedule for the 2020-2021 school year. Since all classes are being taught remotely, students are required to log onto Zoom calls for a total of five hours every day from Tuesday to Friday. On Mondays, however, all the instruction is asynchronous with no Zoom calls other than the 45 minute cohort academy sessions in the morning. Students work independently on assignments posted by their teachers on their Canvas accounts. 

“One day of asynchronous learning emerged as a best practice out of the spring. The time needed for teachers to plan, students to work more flexibly, and screen time to be limited was a strong ask. Many other schools are doing this same model. Monday was chosen after collaboration with our bargaining units (the teacher’s union and the classified staff union) and parent input,” Miramonte principal Julie Parks said. 

“I feel like asynchronous learning is good to have once a week because it gives kids a break from five straight hours of Zoom and lets them do work at their own pace. It also gives kids that have a harder time paying attention time to learn without having to listen to the talking of teachers in the background,” Campolindo sophomore Harrison Leenhouts said.  

Some teachers are more inclined to continue with synchronous learning as the main teaching method. “I prefer synchronous learning because I get to talk to students and help them learn the material. One of my favorite things about being on campus with students is getting to talk to them and get to know them. Synchronous Zoom calls are the closest thing we have to being in a classroom right now, so I’ll take ’em,” Miramonte math and physics teacher Katie Watson said. 

According to the AUHSD website, students will complete structured non-synchronous learning activities assigned by teachers. Students are encouraged but not required to follow the 7 period Monday schedule. “Some teachers assign an appropriate amount of work, but some assign way too much work. I like not having to be on Zoom for the whole day, though,” Miramonte sophomore Stella Symonds said. 

“I prefer asynchronous learning because I am able to manage my time on my own. If teachers were to make videos of them teaching a lesson and post them for students to watch on their own time, it would be a lot faster and less tiring than having to sit through hours of Zoom calls every day,” Miramonte sophomore Megan Chui said. 

“I prefer asynchronous learning over synchronous learning because they can choose their own hours and I believe my daughter is more productive with the Monday schedule,” Miramonte parent Kim Nguyen said.