The Global Online Academy Offers A Vast Selection Of Courses For Menlo Students


Global Online Academy offers courses for students across the globe. Staff Illustration: Sophie Fang.

Erica Fenyo, Assistant Sports Editor

The Global Online Academy (GOA) has dozens of online, primarily asynchronous, classes for students worldwide. Since Menlo is one of the academy’s member schools, these courses are free to all Menlo students. The program has over 150 member schools in six continents and 25 countries. These member schools have access to a vast student program that offers over 50 online courses.

In the 2019-2020 school year, 87 Menlo students enrolled in a GOA class in various disciplines, including law, psychology and game theory. Introduction to Investments is the most popular course for Menlo students, with 26 total enrollments since Menlo joined GOA as a member school. 

This year, 32 students enrolled for GOA; 10 students enrolled in the fall semester, nine in the spring and 13 for the upcoming summer term. Summer is the most popular time for Menlo students to take a GOA course, and they can use the credit from the summer class for their fall semester.

Unlike some online courses, GOA courses do not simply use pass/fail grades. Instead, they offer letter grades that can be used on a Menlo transcript, affecting student grade point averages (GPA). 

Sophomore Nyla Sharma has taken three GOA classes since the summer of 2020. Sharma started with Medical Problem Solving I last summer, the third most popular GOA course for Menlo students. This past school year, Sharma took Introduction to Psychology in the fall and Medical Problem Solving II in the spring. 

Sharma decided to branch out from the Menlo courses and try GOA because she wanted to explore more medicine-based classes. “I felt as though GOA offered more medicine-related courses than Menlo,” Sharma said. “While Menlo has courses like neuroscience and [Advanced Topics in Biology, most of] those weren’t available to me my sophomore year.”

Medicine-related classes are among the most popular topics at GOA, but the online platform also offers courses on various other topics.

Junior Saaz Ahuja first learned about GOA in an email from Katie Miller, Menlo’s site director for GOA. Interested in branching out from Menlo courses, Ahuja enrolled in the Introduction to Investments course this spring.

Ahuja found the teachers and students approachable and could regularly connect with people in different time zones. “My teacher was in Thailand, and he would still be available to meet with me at any time,” Ahuja said.

Above all else, Ahuja enjoyed the investment course and discovered the essentials of personal finance. “[Introduction to] Investments was really cool because usually when I thought about investments, I would think about stocks, and that’s what I primarily thought [the class] was going to be about,” Ahuja said. “But then there was also real estate and stuff like that, so it was cool.”

Senior Yvonne Li explored GOA’s Neuropsychology and Global Health classes because of her passion for medicine. “I really wanted to take the neuroscience class [at Menlo]. However, it didn’t work out with my schedule,” Li said. “GOA offered me a chance to learn about a class that I wouldn’t have been able to take at Menlo otherwise.”

Li feels that GOA offered the unique courses that she otherwise would not have taken until college. “I personally enjoyed [the global health class] especially as someone who is interested in majoring in global health,” Li said. “It was super nice to get the opportunity to explore that field before I committed to it when I got to college.”

However, Li does not feel that GOA classes are the right match for every Menlo student. “I think [GOA classes] require students who are super organized and super responsible because it’s easy to fall behind because you are creating your own schedule,” Li said.