Sterling Academy Blog

Online High School Course Calendars: How Are They Different?

Posted by Sterling Staff on Oct 29, 2014 6:59:00 AM

Not all online high schools are the same, and this definitely comes into play when school calendars are taken into account. There are different levels of how much a particular school adheres to a traditional calendar, but here are the general guidelines when choosing a program, particularly for a student with a busy or unusual schedule.

Open Calendars

A synchronous online high school follows the same calendar as a traditional high school. This is a like traditional school online. It has set start and end dates, and all assignments have specific due dates. Some of these programs also require that students attend online classes at a particular time with other students and the teacher via webcam and chat, like traditional classes -- for example, logging in for Spanish from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and for math from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

A completely asynchronous school has no set calendar and does not require students to log on at specific times. Students start and finish courses and grade levels according to their own schedules or as agreed upon with the school - it's a learn-as-you-go timeline. Students are able to log in at any time of the day or night to review lessons and complete assignments, and can stay in touch with their teachers via a messaging system. Deadlines are flexible.

Some schools fall in between synchronous and asynchronous. This type of online high school may have a set start and end date for the session, and students must finish all assignments at any point during that time frame. The school may allow a student to start at any time of year, but the student may have to complete assignments within a certain period of time. Another option that the school might choose is to have set class times with students via webcam and chat, but make the attendance optional.

When it comes to choosing an online high school, here are some questions to ask related to the schedule:

  • Does the school follow a calendar?
  • Do assignments have set deadlines?
  • Do students need to log on at specific times to attend virtual classes?
  • Even with an open calendar, is there a time limit for students to complete assignments?

These are critical questions to ask and consider, particularly for students who have demanding or unusual schedules. Athletes and actors, as well as students who are traveling with their parents or are undergoing medical treatment, need the flexibility offered by a fully asynchronous online high school. Asynchronous schools allow students to complete assignments on their own time. Whether it’s between auditions, training sessions, or medical appointments, completing school with an open calendar works well for students in these situations.

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Topics: Online School Schedule

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