This edition of Student Spotlight shines on Trinity Prep’s Aleyna Buyukaksakal.

How were you prepared to make the transition online at Trinity Prep because of your MSON experience?

The synchronous learning experience of MSON greatly prepared me for the transition of classes online. Having class at a scheduled time in my day, even when we were still on campus, helped me organize and schedule study and homework time. Also, the unique nature of communicating online with students I had never met was a great introduction to the task of voicing my thoughts in class online. Finally, the nature of the MSON classroom places a lot of responsibility on the students to engage and interact. I outgrew my hesitation to speak without raising my hand and frequently unmute myself to contribute to the class conversation without teachers explicitly having to call someone.


Are there key differences between learning online through MSON and through your school?

The key difference between learning online through MSON is that I am learning with students and a teacher I have never met before. The transition from classroom learning to online learning through my school preserved the student relationships and classroom dynamic that was already present. That said, it is refreshing to interact with other students whom I do not see on a daily basis during my MSON class and understand their perspectives on online learning in their schools and how restrictions have affected their states.


Have you been enlisted to help peers make the transition?

I have proactively helped my peers with things like online submissions through Canvas and communicating electronically with teachers. Another part of the transition from classroom learning is decreased social time with peers. I have encouraged my friends to connect through group FaceTimes at lunch and other forms of daily interaction, including virtual study groups.


Generally, what have been some of the benefits (or challenges) of MSON for you?

Personally, one of the benefits of MSON has been the large variety of classes offered. When I first signed up for an ethics course this year, I was interested in medical ethics. However, as the class was already filled, I was able to browse the large catalog for another ethics course that suited my interest in science-based ethics and enrolled in Environmental Bioethics. Also, being in an online ethics class has helped me articulate my thoughts so much more clearly. Not being face-to-face with my classmates and teacher, it is much harder to validate my ethical reasoning with evidence. This has helped me develop the skill of incorporating sources and ethical principles into my discussions and has fine-tuned the effectiveness of my speech. One of the challenges I experienced at the beginning of class was connecting with my classmates. Due to some technical issues at my school, there were instances where we were unable to break into separate groups and intermingle with the rest of the class. If we had been able to meet some of our classmates then, I believe it would have helped interact with our classmates at other schools. However, through continued discussion in class and collaboration online, I have gotten to know many of my classmates better.


More broadly, do you have tips for students everywhere who are now learning online?

My biggest tip for students who have recently transitioned to online learning is to still complete all of the coursework within a timely fashion. There will probably be many instances in which a teacher assigns a reading or worksheet to complete but does not ask for a submission or assign a grade to the work. This may seem like an optional assignment, but teachers assign the material for a reason and students should complete it, whether the teacher knows or not. Also, do not procrastinate! It’s much easier to put off homework or studying when there seem to be no immediate repercussions for it. However, students should remain focused on getting work done first and taking leisure time later.