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Profile of a Successful Online Student

Points to consider before enrolling in an online course

Students who choose to participate in Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) online courses should examine their personal skills and aptitudes for taking a class online. The following attributes will greatly contribute to a student's success:

  • Self-motivation - Students are able to direct their own learning environment and methods to fulfill course requirements and achieve individual academic success.
  • Independent learner - The online environment enables students to learn at their own pace, relieving the stress of feeling rushed or pressured and providing enjoyment in the learning process.
  • Computer literate - Although it is not necessary to have advanced computer skills, students should check their ACPS student e-mail daily, be familiar with safely navigating the Internet, and have basic keyboarding skills.
  • Time management - Students must be able to organize and plan their own best "time to learn" in order to remain on pace in their online course. There is no one best time for everyone, but the key to learning is to make the time to learn.
  • Effective written communication skills - Students must use e-mail and discussion forums to communicate with their peers as well as the instructors. The ability to write clearly to communicate ideas and complete assignments is essential. This method provides the learner with rapid feedback as well as a means to inform instructors of any concerns or problems that they may be experiencing.
  • Personal commitment - Because there are no bells that begin and end classes, students must have a strong desire to learn and achieve knowledge in their online courses. Making a commitment to learn in this manner is a very personal decision and requires a strong commitment to perform in order to achieve academic success.
  • Reading on grade level - Because the online coursework is rigorous, students should be reading on grade level in order to access the online course material. At the high school level, potential online students should have a minimum 900 lexile.
  • Choice - Successful online students are students who decide for themselves that online learning is a choice that they want to make.

When may it be in the best interest of a student to enroll in an online course?

  • To resolve scheduling conflicts at school or meet the needs of different schedule configurations
  • To allow student flexibility in use of time to meet other school/family/work commitments
  • To take courses not available at the student's home school
  • To recover credit 
  • When online may be a better-suited learning environment
  • When the student desires the experience of taking a distance education course
  • To provide an opportunity for the student to complete course(s) at an accelerated pace
  • To meet the needs of a transferring student
  • To better support students who have medical conditions that may not allow them to be present for a full day

When may it not be in the best interest of a student to enroll in an online course?

  • Student does not fit the profile of a successful online student.
  • Student requires a remedial program not a single online course.
  • Student will not have reliable access to the appropriate computer hardware.
  • Student is reading below grade level, which would make course comprehension incredibly challenging.
  • Student is not taking the online course by personal choice. Students should desire to take course(s) online, rather than having significant adults assign the online course(s) to the students.