We were so excited to be selected to review Bridgeway Academy’s Marine Biology course! My eleven-year-old is fascinated by sea creatures, so I was sure he would enjoy the course. Bridgeway Academy is accredited and can provide courses for high school credit as well as transcripts. They also have elementary and middle school courses. They even have an Adult High School Diploma program!
The first thing that impressed me was our teacher, Carla Berg. She is amazing, and was quick to answer questions and clear up any confusion I experienced while trying to get my son set up on both the class site and the site for the homework. She was available by both phone and email, and I was very happy with our experience. We received email invitations each week with the link to log into the class session. This not only served as a reminder, but a quick and easy way to get to class without hunting through my inbox each week. I could certainly have done that, but I appreciated the invitation.
Before each class, Mrs. Berg would post a question for the kids. This was a great idea, because it not only gave the early attendees something to do, but it encouraged early arrivals. I know my son was asking me to log him in fifteen minutes before the start time every week, despite the fact that we couldn’t actually log in until ten minutes before start time.
Each class is an hour long and each week focuses on a different topic, such as invertebrates, marine mammals, sea turtles, coral reefs, and several more. Notes and slides from the class are available, as well as recordings of the class session. Obviously, the student will get the most out of actually attending the class, because he can ask questions as they come up. (“We can either raise our hand with the button or we can type in the chat box.”)
Students will need a headset and microphone for the course. Just using speakers and a microphone or a webcam isn’t sufficient to prevent feedback (and we all know how annoying that can be).
I had some trouble getting my son do do the homework, but that’s because we don’t usually do homework here and I’m not good at following up with him to make sure it’s completed. He did learn to use PowerPoint in the course of one of the homework assignments, and I’m very happy about that.
I wanted to record an interview with my sixth-grader, but he wouldn’t go for it.
Me: Did you enjoy taking the class?
J: I enjoyed the class. I did not enjoy the homework; especially after week five.
Me: Did you learn anything you didn’t already know?
J: A little bit.
Me: Would you recommend the class to someone else?
How to get it
Marine Biology – 9-week online course $145
Bridgeway also offers science, social studies, math, and English courses, some online and some using books. You can check out the sample lab videos here.