Frequently Asked Questions
What online courses are currently available?
The West Virginia Department of Education reviews courses for quality in instructional design and alignment with the West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives. These reviews, facilitated by West Virginia teachers, have led to an approved list of courses. View a complete list of available courses here.
Who are the Virtual School Content Providers?
The West Virginia Department of Education approves courses to be offered via the West Virginia Virtual School from distance learning companies, organizations, K-12 and higher education institutions. These companies, organizations, and institutions are the content providers. A student will take courses directly from these providers once the approval process is completed. Read about current virtual course providers here.
What types of online classes do students generally take?
West Virginia students, like their peers nationally, are currently taking courses online that are not offered in their local schools. Additionally, some students are taking courses that they are unable to enroll in locally due to scheduling conflicts. World Languages and Advanced Placement courses are among the most requested virtual courses. Some students take courses to be a CTE completer
How long does an online course last?
Providers generally allow and encourage students to proceed at their own pace. Courses are arranged in semester formats and a semester is usually equal to ½ Carnegie Unit. Specific timelines vary with the course and provider.
How many online courses can I take?
Students are limited to two courses each semester at the expense of the WVVS. Students can take additional courses but the school or parent is responsible for tuition.
Why does the virtual school offer the same course from more than one course provider? How do I decide which one to take?
Students are always placed with a West Virginia teacher through the WVVS if space is available. If a student is an athlete, it should be noted in the registration comment field so an NCAA course can be given. If a WV teacher is not available, the course is offered from different providers because the various providers have characteristics that may more suitably address the needs of the individual user. Some have a defined schedule with specified start dates while others have a “rolling start” and a more flexible schedule. One may require printed textbooks while another uses all digital materials. Some providers offer summer courses. Some students build a comfort level with a particular platform and continue enrolling with that provider. Shop for the right course in the same way that you shop for the perfect pair of jeans—find the “right fit” for your personal style.
Can I attend the WV Virtual School full time?
No, the WV Virtual School is designed to supplement the courses offered by local schools.
Can I earn my diploma from the WV Virtual School?
No, the WV Virtual School is not a diploma-granting institution.
Are there prerequisites or academic requirements for the courses?
Yes, and usually these prerequisites are basically consistent with what is required in West Virginia schools for the same courses. Prerequisites are clearly stated at each provider's web site and are included in the course descriptions on the WVVS web site. Additionally, students must be knowledgeable about and abide by the state, county, and/or local Acceptable Use Policies and have an ACCESS email account through the West Virginia Department of Education.
What type of student is a good candidate for an online course?
Students need to be self-motivated and be able to direct their own learning to fulfill course requirements and achieve academic success. Specific technology skills, learning styles, study habits, and communication skills are indicators of success in virtual courses. Students can use Virtual School Online Readiness Tool to help determine if o nline learning is a viable option.
Will I get credit from my school for my online course?
Yes, if the West Virginia Department of Education and the local school approve the course.
How will I be assessed? What are the testing procedures?
This will vary by provider and course. Many assessments are authentic-based. There will be some testing and project-based work that will result in a portfolio that represents your mastery of the subject. Advanced Placement exams are the responsibility of the student or the school depending on the local policy and funding procedures.
How is my grade recorded on my transcript?
If the West Virginia Department of Education and your local school approve the course, your grade will be recorded on your transcript just like any other course grade you receive from your school.
What instructional materials are used for course delivery?
Course providers will determine the instructional materials used in the course. If the materials are not on the state approved adoption list for required or required to be offered courses, a waiver for the instructional materials may need to be secured from the West Virginia Department of Education. Such a waiver request is a local/county responsibility.
Are there additional charges for instructional materials?
There may be additional charges for textbooks, manuals, lab materials, and software for some online courses.
What is the local school's responsibility?
The local school must approve the distance learning course, facilitate registration of the course through the WVVS contact, and record the grade for the course on the transcript. The local school may be required, depending on the provider, to assign the student to an on-site facilitator. Additionally, certain courses may require that a school cover some Content Standards and Objectives that may not be sufficiently covered in the virtual or distance course.
Can I take a course from home?
This is a local school/county decision. To ensure equity, access must be available to students at school. Many students are working both from school in an assigned time period and at home. However, if a student is approved to work at home, the student must have appropriate computer equipment and an Internet Service Provider. It is not the responsibility of the school, county, or state to provide home computer equipment and/or home Internet access.
Will I work with a teacher from my own school?
A teacher, counselor, or administrator from your school may be assigned as your facilitator. Your academic progress will be reported to your facilitator. The facilitator will communicate with you periodically, based on provider guidelines, to assess your progress and help you with problems. Except for technical problems, your local facilitator is your first contact for academic problems. For technical problems, all providers offer technical assistance by phone.
Are students in private or parochial schools eligible to take a Virtual School course?
Yes, these students may access West Virginia Virtual School services if they enroll in a public school for the duration of the course(s), and the public school approves the course request. The course(s), depending on provider requirements, might be taken off-campus. Please review the Guidelines for Non-Public Student Virtual School Participation.
How do I register for an online course?
Students should see a school administrator, counselor, or WVVS contact. There is a Virtual School contact at every school in West Virginia who may facilitate the logistics of enrollment.
How do I get approval to take an online course?
The Virtual School policy indicates that the approval for participation in distance learning courses is a local decision. Students should fill out the on-line Course Request Form to initiate the request for approval of online courses. The preregistration form is electronically submitted to your school's Virtual School contact.
Can I drop my online course?
Yes, most providers allow a trial period, ranging from 14-28 days. However, students must check with their individual schools and providers relating to school guidelines on dropping online courses. All drops must be approved by the West Virginia Virtual School.
What computer skills do I need to take an online course?
The more computer experience a student has, the less he/she will have to focus on the technology and will be ready to focus on the course content. Courses do not generally offer tutorials on keyboarding, electronic communication, web browser navigation, etc. Therefore, a student should already have these skills.
What computer system requirements do I need to take an online course?
Technology requirements for virtual school courses change over time and are determined by the course providers. Specific hardware and software requirements will be communicated to the student by the course provider. A typical set of hardware and software requirements can be viewed here.
Who pays for the online course?
Funding for virtual courses and associated materials may be provided through state funding, the school system instructional budgets, or grant awards. Pending the availability of funding, full tuition costs for first ten students in an individual course per year at a school are paid for through WVVS state funds. Tuition for each student above ten in the same course, from the same school, is a $200 per student cost commitment from the local district. State funds will be used to pay the remaining per student course cost (ranging from $400 to $750). Summer courses may be offered through the WVVS but payment for summer enrollment shall be the responsibility of the county or the guardian.