What is it like to be in an online course?

How will I know what to do in my online course?

You will receive an email at the beginning of your course with information to teach you how to "navigate" the system. All your assignments are listed in a checklist, and there is a course calendar that tells you when each assignment is due. You will also be able to email and call your teacher when you need assistance. The big difference in an online course is that the student must take responsibility for planning worktime, keeping up-to-date with assignments, and reaching out to the teacher before any small need becomes a difficult problem.

Will I have a textbook in the online course?

There is no textbook. Ideas and information are presented in the online course platform. You use the online materials to complete the assignments and create the products required for the course.

How is the teacher important in my online course?

A teacher is essential in an online course! Our course delivery software allows teachers and students to communicate with each other using email, instant messaging, and video conferences, all within the safety of the closed course platform. Our teachers are necessary to the design and delivery of online learning, and any student who takes an online course in Virginia Beach Digital Campus operates under the guidance of an experienced professional instructor. In fact, students have commented that their online teachers are able to get to know them well and care deeply about their success.

How is the course delivered on a computer?

VBDC courses are delivered using a Learning Management System called Brightspace. To see it in action, try a course demonstration. To be successful in an online class, you need a computer in your home and a high-speed internet connection. You follow links to course content that take you to written material, videos, interactivities like timelines and presentations, and assessments. You "turn in" assignments on time using a Dropbox that’s built into the system, and share ideas with other students in discussions that are part of the course requirements.

How do I know if my computer is powerful enough for me to take an online course?

Take a close look at these Minimum Computer Requirements. If your computer matches these requirements and you have a good high-speed internet connection at home, you should be fine.

Is it possible to take an online course using a Smartphone or an iPad or other tablet device?

No, phones and tablets do not have adequate processing speed and memory to run our enriched curriculum. Many features of the course exist as Flash files, which are not supported by iPads.

In addition to the computer hardware and internet access that need to be provided at home, are there any other required materials?

If your course has materials that the teacher needs to give you, there will be a face-to-face meeting that you will have to attend. If your course requires such a meeting, your teacher will contact you using the email address you provided when you registered. Some science courses have experiments you need to do at home, using only materials that most people have in their homes.

Which online courses will require a materials distribution meeting?

Students will meet with teachers to receive materials for their Online English 10, Online English 11 and Online HPE 9 and 10 courses. Online HPE 9 and 10 students will receive a heart rate monitor. Each online English 10 student will receive the book Things Fall Apart. Online English 11 students will receive two books: Of Mice and Men or Their Eyes Were Watching God, and The Color of Water or Into the Wild. Students will receive email notification from the teacher with the time, place, and date to receive materials.

Will I be expected to take a SOL test this summer?

If you register for English 11, Geometry, Algebra 1, Algebra 2/Trig, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, VA/US History or World Geography, you will be expected to attend the SOL Test scheduled during the summer school program. SOL tests are scheduled in a face-to-face setting at the Renaissance Academy. Information about dates, times, and locations for these tests will be provided by your online instructor.

How can the teacher tell if the student is doing the coursework?

In Virginia Beach Digital Campus courses, there is a high level of interaction between teacher and student. Through telephone conversations, emails, oral assessments, and other communications, the teacher becomes familiar with each student's patterns of thinking and expression. The teacher can also tell when the student is logged in to the course and how much time is spent doing each task. Parents can also monitor student progress by logging into the course and examining student work.

How many times will the student meet with the teacher/class?

Teachers will arrange for optional face-to-face tutorial meetings. In addition, teachers will offer tutorials using web conferencing software. A face-to-face meeting will be established for courses bearing an SOL End-of-Course test. Three mandatory meetings are required for Online HPE 9 and Online HPE 10.

Have a question about online learning? Please call 757.263.6849 or e-mail.