Guidelines: Who Should Enroll in an Online Course


    Checklist for Counselors (print version)

     Guidelines:  Who Should Enroll in an Online Course


    YES (Y) or  NO (N)

    Directions:  Place a Y or an N in the space provided to indicate whether or not the requirements are met.


    Students should have a solid academic preparation
    The student should have successfully completed the prerequisite coursework. All courses contain essay and open response components, therefore the student should have basic mastery of writing and analytical skills as well.


    Students should read and write at grade level, and be able to communicate effectively through writing  (Recommended Lexile:  1000 minimum)

    Online courses are reading intensive; therefore, the student is expected to comprehend information from text and apply that to assignments. In the online classroom, the majority of communication is written.  It is critical that the student has excellent reading skills and feels comfortable expressing themselves in writing.  The student should be able to comprehend grade level content and ask for help when necessary.  Student Lexile ranges should be considered. A minimum Lexile score of 1000 is recommended to help ensure the student is successful. 


    Students must meet the requirements of the program

    Online courses offer the same content and rigor as courses in the face-to-face classroom.  Online courses are flexible and convenient - not easy.  The student should be prepared for rigor.


    Students need unlimited access to technology with connectivity
    The student should have regularly scheduled access to a computer that meets the HCS Virtual minimum technical requirements. The student must also be able to access their courses from home computers and any other Internet-connected computer to which they have regular access, such as those in public libraries. Changes in the local school calendar will not alter the HCS Virtual calendar; therefore, the student needs access to technology in case of absences due to weather, illness, or other local school related or personal absences. 


    Students must have the time and opportunity to study 
    To be successful, the student must have regularly scheduled time and opportunity to study and the self-discipline to stick to the schedule they establish. This often requires balancing competing priorities between the online course and extracurricular activities. We strongly recommend that students have a specific class period during the day assigned for the HCS Virtual course and additional time set aside for study at home. Students in Advanced Placement courses, especially, will need to schedule at least 12 hours per week for their course (about six hours online and six hours of offline study). Non-AP students should plan to spend at least as much time in their online course as in a face-to-face course, including homework time.


    Students must value success 
    Successful students in online courses have strong motivation and commitment. There is no “back row” in online classes, the student must be an active participant in all course activities, participating in class discussions and getting small group work done on time. Successful online students are generally very determined students who like to set their own goals and challenge themselves to meet them. Even students who come into a course not fully prepared academically are able to succeed through determination and pride in their work.


    Students must have strong support from school and home 
    Students taking online courses are usually doing something “new;” that is, they may be the only online learner, or among a small group of students who are learning in a different way for the first time. In many cases, the online course may be the most rigorous course in the student’s schedule. Support from the school and from home will be very important as the student balances competing priorities for time and face frequent deadlines. The student is far more likely to succeed if they have encouragement from adults who acknowledge the challenge and support the effort.