Many of Pinewood’s elective courses seem like tantalizing options at first, but signing up for one almost always means sacrificing sports practices or precious free periods. The number of classes that students can enroll in has always been restricted by the block schedule and the way that H period bumps into extracurricular activities. Physics teacher Val Monticue and computers teacher Phil Ribaudo have teamed up to create Pinewood’s first ever online class – Engineering Design.

   Monticue believes that the class will satisfy the craving that many students have for another elective class.

   “Pinewood students are so overscheduled, but they also want more electives,” Monticue said.

   Since the class is online, students enrolled without having to restructure their block schedules.

   That’s exactly why junior Alex Banning was drawn to the course.

“I wanted to take the engineering and design class but I didn’t want to lose one of my free periods,” Banning said.

   All assignments, homeworks, discussion questions, and unit papers will all be assigned and submitted through Veracross. The students are required to post responses to the discussion board three times a week. The goal of these questions is to act as attendance for the class as well as to inspire a meaningful conversation among the students. Throughout the semester, students are also required to keep an engineering journal, taking notes and ideas while completing assignments as to document their process in the class.

     When face-to-face contact is taken away, homework could be forgotten, questions could go unanswered, and students could easily become lost. However, Monticue is available for outside help. She strongly encourages feedback for improvement, since this is a pilot class, and would love to smooth out all of the kinks early on. Monticue and Ribaudo have predicted without any uncertainty that obstacles will
arise, but they are confident they will
overcome them.

   The workload will be challenging since it exists as a regular high school class. And along with that, the enrolled students will have to complete the work that would have been done in class on their own time along with their homework outside of school. Students will be expected to learn independentlywith the given resources, and then implement their skills in collaborative projects.

   Monticue is eager to begin, and she is most enthusiastic to see what the students will fabricate.

   “Students are so creative, and they’re so invested in the world. Seeing the ways in which they use their skills to help people is inspiring,” Monticue said.

    Monticue and Ribaudo wanted to keep the class size to about eight and only available to upperclassmen to ensure the class turns into a success.

   The ultimate goal is to spread this new, online technology throughout Pinewood to make classes more accessible and convenient for students.