Student success in an online course is dependent on many factors. Academic ability, reading skills, computer skills, habits of mind, parent support, and technology access are among these essential factors. It is highly recommended that students consult with the teacher of the online course they are considering taking and with their counselor before making a decision about enrolling. Students must complete the Online Course Readiness Questionnaire and the Online Course Contract prior to enrollment. Both documents must be signed by the student and his/her parent or guardian.
The following readiness factors should be considered prior to enrollment in an online course:
Academic Ability: Much of the content of an online course is conveyed through written material. It is therefore important that students have strong analytical reading skills (proficient or advanced ELA scores on the CST are recommended).
Computer Skills: Students should be comfortable working with a computer, navigating a website, and downloading/uploading documents. Strong typing skills are a must. Students must be comfortable accessing and reading information on a computer for long periods, and have some basic ability to troubleshoot technical issues that may be encountered.
Habits of Mind: Online course work requires strong organizational and time management skills. Students must be independent, self-directed learners who are capable of staying on task while working from home, managing assignment due dates, and asking for help when they need assistance. Students must access the course on a daily basis and check email regularly for communications from the teacher.
Parent Support: Parent/guardian support is important to the success of online students. Parents must be aware of the online requirements, monitor work habits and progress, and ensure appropriate technology access at all times. Students should have someone who can provide technical assistance as necessary as well.
Technology Access: Online students must have daily access to a computer with a high-speed internet connection and a processor capable of downloading/uploading streaming video and large multimedia files. The computer should be equipped with a word processor (preferably Microsoft Word), web browser, speakers, and a USB headset with microphone.
Other important considerations:
Ethics Policy: Online students are expected to complete their own work at all times. If a student breaks this code, then the Ethics Policy will be enforced, which will result in no credit for the assignment or test, and may result in the student being removed from the course.
Communication: Students must log into the course regularly, several times per week, to complete assignments. Students must also check the email provided to the teacher on enrollment in the course on a daily basis for messages or updates from the instructor. It is the students responsibility to contact the instructor should difficulties completing coursework be experienced. Parents/guardians should also be in frequent contact with the instructor and inform him/her of any concerns with the course or learning problems that arise.
Face-to-Face Meeting Requirements: Students are required to attend a minimum of three face-to-face meetings each semester AND at least two meetings per month either onsite or via web conference. The first is for an orientation/introduction to the course, the second for the midterm exam and/or project, and the third for the final exam and/or project. See instructor for more information about an individual course's face-to-face meeting requirements.
Prior to enrollment, access and submit the Online Learning Contract. This contract must be electronically signed by the student AND a parent or guardian. Complete this contract as soon as possible to avoid enrollment delay.