FAQ's

Online Education FAQ's

Students, parents, and schools often have common questions concerning online distance education.

Browse through the questions and scroll down to see the answer.

1. Is online learning as effective as in-class learning?

2. Is online learning for me?

3. What type of computer skills do I need?

4. What type of computer hardware/software do I need?

5. How do I enroll in an online course?

6. After enrollment, how soon can I access a course?

7. How much does it cost to take an online course?

8. Do I need to purchase a textbook or other materials?

9. Where do I work on the course, at school or home?

10. When do online courses begin/end?

11. What is the time commitment for an online course?

12. How do online courses work?

13. Do I work through the course independently?

14. Do I have to be online at a certain time every day?

15. What does a typical online lesson look like?

16. How do online courses compare to face-to-face courses?

17. How do I get technical help?

18. I am new to online learning. Is there an orientation session available?

19. Do online course credits transfer to other schools?

20. If my question was not answered, what should I do?

1. Is online learning as effective as in-person learning?

It is a myth that online classes aren't as effective as in-class learning (see 8 Myths about Online Education). Research has found that online learning is as least as effective as in-class learning when courses are properly constructed and instructors are thoroughly trained. AGVA instructors complete 6 graduate credits in online learning, teaching, and course design prior to teaching an online course. Courses and instructors are evaluated at the end of each semester. (See what AGVA students are saying about their courses and instructors!)

2. Is online learning for me?

Generally, self-motivated, self-disciplined individuals with good reading and comprehension skills will do better in an online course than others. See Student Characteristics for a profile of a successful AGVA student.

3. What type of computer skills do I need?

Online students are expected to have a basic knowledge of how to work with their computer and its operating system and basic knowledge of software applications such as word processing, email, internet browser, and search engines. See the Technology Requirements page for more information.

4. What type of computer hardware/software do I need?

See the Technology Requirements page under the Admissions tab. Some courses might require additional software that is explained on the Course Materials page.

5. How do I enroll in an online course?

See the Registration Process page under the Admissions tab.

6. After enrollment, how soon can I access a course?

About two weeks before the start of the course AGVA will email you information on how to access your course.

7. How much does it cost to take an online course?

See the Tuition & Fees page under the Admissions tab.

8. Do I need to purchase a textbook or materials for an online course?

Many courses make use of free online materials, but some have materials that need to be purchased. (AGVA does not cover this cost.) See the Course Materials Requirements page under the Admissions tab for detailed information concerning your course. Contact the course instructor with any questions.

9. Where do I work on the course, at school or at home?

AGVA expects that students attending WELS/ELS schools work on the course at school at a set time each day, just as they would for any other course they are taking at the school. Students not attending WELS/ELS schools typically work on the course at home.

10. When do online courses begin/end?

First semester courses begin in late August and end in mid-December. Second-semester courses begin in early January and end in mid to late May. See the Calendars page under the Academics tab for specific dates.

11. What is the time commitment for an online course?

As a general rule of thumb, the time commitment for an online course is expected to be similar to the time commitment if the same course were taught in a traditional face-to-face classroom.

12. How do online courses work?

Students are given a username and password to access the course through the internet. A typical course is divided into a series of lessons, similar to a face-to-face course.

13. Do I work through the course independently?

Not usually. Often other students will be taking the course too and you will communicate with them and the instructor via the discussion tools provided. The instructor sets specific deadlines to complete each activity, but students usually do not need to access the course at a specific time each day.

14. Do I have to be online at a certain time every day?

AGVA online courses are offered in an asynchronous format, which means students and instructors do not all have to access the course at a specific time each day. Students can work on the course at times that are convenient to them, but they are expected to participate in the course Monday through Friday each week. Specific requirements for participation will be laid out by your instructor.

15. What does a typical online lesson look like?

The instructor will break the course down into a series of lessons and will provide a "lesson guide" to lead the students through each lesson. A typical lesson might include reading materials from a textbook or online source (or viewing a video of the material), discussion of the material with other students and the instructor via a discussion tool, and assignment activities that each student completes and submits to the instructor via an assignment tool. Many courses also make use of self-correcting online quizzes/tests.

16. How do online courses compare to face-to-face courses?

Online courses are treated the same way as face-to-face courses and are held to the same academic standards. High school and college transcripts usually make no distinction whether a particular course was completed online or face-to-face.

The content covered in an online course should be the same as a face-to-face course, but it might be presented in a different way. Online courses can include assignments, presentations, discussions, projects, tests, etc.

The difficulty level of the course work is intended to be the same. Do realize, though, that you do not have the imposed structure that accompanies a face-to-face course. Being successful in an online course requires an extra measure of self-discipline to stay on task and get work in on time. (See Student Characteristics for a profile of a successful AGVA student.)

Time commitment is expected to be similar between an online and a face-to-face course.

17 How do I get technical help?

While it is usually the responsibility of students to seek local technical help with any computer/software issues, issues related to accessing the course and working within the course site will be available through AGVA.

18. I am new to online learning. Is there an orientation session available?

Yes. Once you have registered for an online course an account will be created for you. About two weeks before the start of the course you will receive instructions on how to access a free online orientation that will lead you through working with online activities commonly used in courses.

19. Do online course credits transfer to other schools?

Whether a course was taken online or in a traditional classroom should have no bearing on whether the course transfers into a school or not. Ultimately, it is the school that you want to transfer the course to that needs to determine if the course will be accepted or not.

20. If my question was not answered, what should I do?

If your question was not listed, or if you have a question or comment on a provided answer, please send an email to the AGVA superintendent, Dr. Jim Grunwald, at james.grunwald@amazinggraceva.org.