Video link allows OHS, Cedar Grove students to study medical terms
An hour before classes start at Ozaukee High School, 17 students are hard at work learning the terminology of the medical field.
Miles away, six of their counterparts at Cedar Grove-Belgium High School are studying the same material.
Both classes share a teacher, OHS biology teacher John Tucker, via an online video link called Polycam. The voluntary Medical Terminology class meets daily from 6:45 to 7:25 a.m.
The collaborative program was set up by Ozaukee High Principal Jeff Sauer and guidance counselor Andy Gremminger.
When the students complete the course with at least a “B” grade, they receive college credit from Lakeshore Technical College.
The class provides a basic understanding of human anatomy and physiology, and covers such things as common medical abbreviations and pronunciations.
“From the title of the class, you would infer that it is pretty much designed for students who are interested in seeking a career in the medical field, and although that may be true, anyone who is interested in broadening their vocabulary would find this a very interesting class,” Tucker said.
He noted that the class roster includes just one boy.
Offering the class on two campuses at the same time has proven easier than you might think, Tucker said.
“With the schools being so close, many of the kids already knew each other and that made the challenge of infusing both student bodies into one a lot easier,” he said.
“When students and teachers walk into class at 6:45 in the morning, there is some extra appreciation for each other. Usually the students are walking into class with part of their breakfast. The kids have really made the class fun.”
Tucker said the remote classroom is a glimpse into the future of education.
“Although I think the traditional physical classroom setting will basically remain the same, there are some very exciting alternative-learning environments out there,” he said.
“It has definitely been a mutualistic relationship two school districts trying to offer the best possible education to their students.”
A survey of students in the class showed they are driven to attend the early-morning session by thoughts of their future.
“I chose to take Medical Terminology because I want to be a pediatrician and thought this class would give me some background,” said Cedar Grove-Belgium student Jenny Claerbaut.
Ozaukee High student Nicole Calmes, who said she hopes to study zoology in college, said the class has been a great experience, and “kind of like learning a different language.”
Ozaukee High student Ashley Preisler, who hopes to study nursing after high school, thinks the class will have a long-term payoff.
“It will benefit me by giving me a background with medical terms. It will create a good base to work from in my future medical education,” Preisler said.
Cedar Grove-Belgium student Sam Green, who hopes to become a surgical technician, said the class has broad educational value.
“If you know someone who is sick, you can pick apart the words and know what the doctor is talking about,” Green said.
Other students said they hope to use the class when they pursue studies in psychology, physical therapy and biomedical engineering.
Students also mentioned the fast pace of the class, the volume of work and the occasional technical glitches as issues that can make it challenging.
Not every one is a fan of the video-link teaching, especially when the class is waiting for a response from the other campus.
“It is annoying,” mentioned one Ozaukee High students.
Another Ozaukee High student gave a typical teenager response to the early wake-up time needed to get to class.
“How early is it? 5:50? Come on!” wrote Emma Hess.
Image Information: OZAUKEE HIGH SCHOOL biology teacher John Tucker (top photo, right) meets with students before the start of the school day to teach an elective course on medical terms. Below, students at Cedar Grove-Belgium High School attend the class via a Polycam video link. Students at both schools can earn college credits by successfully completing the course.