Frequently Asked Questions / Answers

1) What is eLearning (online learning)?





6) How do I get started (e.g., pick a course, sign up, log on, etc.)?

7) Can I join a course already in progress?

8) Can I take an online course as a 9th credit?

9) If I take an online course do I have to drop one class at school?

10) Is this for credit for real?

11) I heard online courses are way [easier/harder] ... is that true?

12) How much time can students expect to spend in an online course?

13) How does eLearning support a student who misses school due to sports, trips, etc.?

14) Are computers available in schools to work at lunch times, before school, after school, etc.?

15) What computer requirements are there at home?

16) Are there examinations?

17) Can I take just Civics or Careers alone or do I have to take both together?

18) Is there French Immersion online?






1) What is eLearning?

In an online course, students interact and learn with their teacher, classmates and electronic resources using any Internet-connected computer. eLearning provides opportunities for Halton students to:
•       earn the same credits in a different way;
•       learn at a flexible time (no scheduled classes), place and pace (within semester limits);
•       access engaging, unique programs unavailable in some high schools;
•       interact with like-minded students from across Halton;
•       flex timetables and accelerate learning (e.g., reaching ahead or taking a 9th credit).



2) How do I know if I am suited to online learning?

Take the suitability profile and find out! 
Not all students are suited to learning online but you may be one. :-)



3) What will I be doing when I learn online?

All learning activity happens using a computer connected to an electronic messaging/conferencing system and the Internet rather than in a regular, face-to-face (f2f) classroom. 
You will still interact with peers (e.g., via group work and electronic discussion conferences) as well as complete a variety of learning tasks set out by your teacher. Online learning generally requires a higher degree of independence and initiative than a typical face-to-face course.



4) When and where do I learn?

The time, place and pace for learning are more flexible as compared to f2f classes, but within limitations
For example, students can learn while at school (e.g., during lunch in the library) or at home at night. 
There is limited flexibility with pace since students must stay with their classmates for purposes of optimal collaboration and work completion. 
All courses begin and end in phase with the semester system--except in the first few weeks of a course where space allows, students cannot join a course already in progress. 
See the fine print for full details.



5) Is there personal interaction or is it just 'assignments online'?

All online courses are moderated by a creative, enthusiastic teacher and employ interactive models for online learning (e.g., teacher-student, student-student, teacher-class, student-class interaction). 
This interaction results in a variety of learning, sharing and collaboration strategies including 1:1 e-mail, synchronous chats, asynchronous conferences, group work, lessons, projects, demonstrations, presentations, etc. 
Although some online courses have periodic meetings, most 'interaction' is electronic rather than face-to-face of course.



6) How do I get started (e.g., pick a course, sign up, log on, etc.)?

See "Getting Enrolled" and "Getting Started" on our Sign Up page.



7) Can students join a course in progress?

Only in the first two weeks of a semester, after that all courses are closed to new students because Halton's online courses begin and end with the semesters just like face-to-face courses.

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8) Can I take an online course as a 9th credit?

Halton students may take any subject (including online courses) as a 9th credit once during their high school career.



9) If I take an online course do I have to drop one class at school?

No, the question of how many courses to take in total should be discussed with the guidance counsellor in conjunction with students and parents. 
The only limit is that students cannot take more than 9 credits total in any given year. 
Taking an online course is not a 'spare' although students are responsible for using their time productively.



10) Is this for credit for real?

Yes, all programs are taught by fully certified, qualified teachers and are Ministry-approved credit-courses.



11) I heard online courses are way [easier/harder] ... is that true?

The difficulty you will encounter learning online depends on your personal suitability more than anything else. 
The courses themselves are no more or less difficult in content or approach than a face-to-face class. 
These are definitely not 'bird' courses, nor are they 'killer' courses, they merely reflect the Ontario curriculum for each course.



12) How much time can students expect to spend in an online course?

Credit courses are Ministry-approved and require 110 hours of in-class instruction (75 minutes per day for 88 days), with 'homework' on top of that. 
As online students are expected to invest the same time as a face-to-face class this can result in 7-12+ hours per week of time, depending on the course and the student. Major assignments may add time on top of that.

The advantage of learning online is that there is a great deal of flexibility as to when students can learn (e.g., day(s) of week and time(s) of day).



13) How does eLearning support a student who misses school due to sports, trips, etc.?

Students have some flexibility of pace, within a class schedule. 
Although there is an expectation that online students stay with the class to facilitate interaction and synergy, students can learn at different times of the day. 
Of course, learning online means one can participate wherever an Internet connection is available as well. 
Many elite athletes, injured or school-phobic students have taken online courses successfully.



14) Are computers available in schools to work at lunch times, before school, after school, etc.?

Computers are generally available in school libraries or computer labs for student work but this should be confirmed on a school-by-school basis, particularly if the student intends to do the majority of their online work using school computers after hours.



15) What computer requirements are there at home?

Internet access is all you need to work at home. 
A free, downloadable client (First Class) is provided for all students.
Additional course-specific software is provided free-of-charge for home installation for the duration of the course, see course descriptions for details. 
Students can also download a free productivity suite (optional) for use at home by visiting http://www.openoffice.org/.
Students are responsible for their own home computer and Internet connection if they wish to learn and work from home.



16) Are there examinations?

Grade 12 University courses have formal examinations that are written in person. 
Students will be given a choice of location (in north, east or west Halton) to attend to write these examinations. 
Other courses have online final 30% evaluation tasks or activities that vary depending on the course.

17) Can I take just Civics or Careers alone or do I have to take both together?

Either or both is fine, however our completion data shows that students attempting to repeat one or both credits after having failed a face-to-face class are unlikely to succeed.



18) Is there French Immersion online?

No, all courses are in English. 
Courses are selected for online development based on different criteria including (but not limited to): scope of interest, availability in the regular face-to-face program and suitability for online presentation.



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