Your survival guide to DP online courses!

Most DP students at SIS choose between the subjects offered on-campus, but some students, including editor and reporter Josefine S., take their sixth class online. What is the Pamoja Education platform, and how can you use it to maximize your success in the Diploma Program?

Pamoja Education is an online learning platform that offers a variety of DP courses, among other programs such as the IGCSE. At SIS, students can choose one Pamoja class for their sixth subject choice if the on-campus classes of Geography, Chemistry, Film, or Visual Arts don’t appeal to them. At SIS, Business Management, Philosophy, Information Technology, and an additional language are popular choices for online courses. As a student who has been studying philosophy online as my sixth subject choice for over a year, I thought I’d take the opportunity to offer what I’ve learned about the platform and give tips to those interested in it.

First off, Pamoja is owned and operated by Managebac, meaning that both your on-campus classes and online class can be found on the same website. The content you learn is also found on Managebac in the form of texts and videos. One or two assignments are given each week alongside the reading, and these assignments usually involve a discussion forum and a short essay. You will also have longer, summative assessments at the end of each unit, and your engagement with the program will be continuously monitored to make sure you are actually doing your work.

This form of learning might sound boring for some, but others appreciate the independence and flexibility it gives. You are allocated four hours of in-school time to work on your online course, and it’s up to you to do with this time as you please. You are also given the opportunity to meet with your teacher online, although live classes are usually never required. 

Pamoja is a powerful online learning tool, but there are certainly some types of people who will benefit more from it than others. You might want to reconsider your subject choice or do further research if you:

  • Aren’t interested in the class/topic
  • Struggle with time management or self-discipline
  • Struggle with attention and focus
  • Don’t know what the IB requires of you for that subject
  • Have trouble asking for help

That being said, just because you experience one of the above, doesn’t mean you can’t study with Pamoja! For example, my attention span is abysmal, yet I’m still getting by and enjoying the subject. Just remember that this will be your life for two years, so consider it carefully nonetheless.

One of the greatest strengths with online learning is that it’s up to YOU how you learn. You can learn at home, at school, at a coffee shop; you can watch videos or read books or listen to podcasts; you can do the assignments the minute they’re available or you can wait until an hour before they’re due. There are, however, some general guidelines we veteran Pamoja students can offer you to make your experience as effective as possible and to ensure your success.


General DOs and DON’Ts of Pamoja Education


  • Look over the assignments you have to do for the week at the beginning of the week, regardless of whether you’re going to get started on them right away. This keeps you informed of how much time you should allocate to the class this week, and prevents you from discovering in a panic that you have an 800-word summative essay due in two hours.
  • Figure out a study plan or routine for your allocated class time. In the four hours that you’re given each week, it’s good to set up a schedule for what works best for you. If you work best at home, then go there. If you need the study environment of school, then go there. 
  • Ask for help from both your online Pamoja teacher and your site-based coordinator (the SIS teacher assigned to helping you out) whenever you need it. This is important; don’t let your pride or shyness get in the way of requesting resources you’re entitled to. Additionally, there might be some SIS teachers with subject-specific knowledge that can help you for your assignments if you’re looking for another opinion.
  • Take notes on the readings and videos assigned to you. You might not feel the need to do this, since all of the information is permanently laid out there for you, but it’s important to write down the information to better remember it as well as to have revision notes for your exams later on.



  • Leave everything to the last minute. I’m sure you’ve heard this a hundred times, but procrastinating in this class will only lead you to stress out. 
  • Use your allocated class time for things other than your online course. Your Math teacher wouldn’t let you work on English during class time, or to have your phone in your hand, so why should you do it in Philosophy or Business Management? I know it can be hard to follow this rule, but try your best anyway to be as productive as possible.
  • Ignore your online teacher. Your teacher will most likely send you weekly emails with information about that week’s content and assignments, and it often adds something extra to the topic that will help you excel in your tests. Read it! Additionally, be sure to keep up contact with your teacher, at least so that they know your name. You don’t want to just be one of the dozens of students they teach; you want to be known.

There’s no right or wrong subject to choose for your DP experience. The most important takeaway from this is that whatever you choose, you’ll be stuck with it for the next two years, so be sure it’s something you love! Learning online is no easy feat, but with the proper motivation and clear knowledge of what you’re signing up for beforehand, you can ensure that your time with Pamoja Education will be educational and rewarding.