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Board of Education

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
for  Middle School Students

How does an online class work?

In an online course, students learn by reading, writing, and performing other learning activities designed by the instructor.  Online students "attend" class by accessing the "Learning Management System" and completing assignments according to the class schedule.  Students communicate regularly with the instructor and classmates via discussion forums, Wikis, Blogs, instant messaging, and e-mail.

How can you be successful in an online class?

Students learning online have greater responsibility for their own success than students in traditional classroom settings. As an online student, it is important that you have the self-discipline and self-motivation to work on a flexible schedule and not get behind. Persistence and willingness to work collaboratively in an online environment are also requirements.

Good written communication skills and a minimum level of technological experience are necessary. You will need to be comfortable using e-mail, the Internet, and word processing software such as MS Office. You must be willing to commit the time necessary to stay current with computer technology.

What if I need help in the online course?
You have many sources of help.  Your online instructor should be your first contact if you are having difficulty with the content in a course.  You can contact your instructor in many ways (e-mail, telephone, via the Learning Management System, instant messaging).  Secondly, you have a Distance Learning Advisor (DLA) at your school.  The DLA can assist you with technological problems and assist you in getting in touch with your instructor.  Your parents will also be a great source of help as well.  The District DLA can also assist you with issues that may arise.  Click here for the contact information for each middle and high school ELA.
How do I sign up to take an online course?

You need to speak with your counselor to determine if online learning is for you.  Online learning is not for every student.  Some students prefer face-to-face learning.  If you and your counselor decide that online learning may be an appropriate opportunity for you, please be sure and speak with your parents about this decision.  Your parents will assist you in making the right decision.  The next step is to complete both the online learning application and the student/parent contract.  Once you have this paperwork completed, you will turn this into your school counselor.  The school counselor will notify you of your acceptance into the program.  Once accepted, you will be registered for an online class. 

Please pay close attention to application deadlines.  Your counselor and DLA will advertise these dates.  Your school has a limit to the number of students that will be accepted into the online learning program.  You can only begin a class at the beginning of each semester.  Students may continue to enroll for the first five days of class; after that registration is closed to all students.

When is the course available?
Online courses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  As long as you have Internet access, you can access your online course.
How will I be evaluated in this course?

Your progress is measured through a variety of assessments which may include quizzes, exams, written essays, assignments, and projects.  Each course is different, but your instructor will advise you of your evaluation instruments.

What is the policy regarding plagiarism and cheating?

If a student is found plagiarizing or cheating, disciplinary action will be taken. The student's school, DLA, and parents will be notified, and the provider may remove the student from the course.

How large will my class be?
This varies, based on the provider, but most classes have between 25 and 30 students.
Do I need special software to take an online course?
Each course has software/hardware that is pertinent to that course.  For example, in the Foreign Language courses, a headphone with microphone is required for speaking assignments along with Audacity.  Please read the specifics once you get into the course to see what is needed OR ask your DLA.
What schools offer online courses that middle school students in my county may take?

North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) is the provider of online courses for middle school students in Burke County Public Schools.  You may visit their site at

Does it cost anything to take an online course through NCVPS?
No, as long as you are a student in Burke County Public Schools, there is no tuition for online classes through NCVPS for the fall or spring terms.  Summer session charges a fee due to the employment of a distance learning advisor in the summer.
Which courses are available for me to take online as a middle school student?
  • African-American Studies
  • Earth/Environmental Science
  • French I
  • Latin I
  • Medieval Studies
  • Spanish I
  • World History
  • What kind of credit do I earn by completing one of these courses successfully?
    One high school credit.  This credit will appear on your high school transcript.  It does NOT count in GPA or rank, though.
    Who will my instructor be?

    NCVPS hires certified teachers to teach online courses.  Many of these teachers are nationally board certified and have master's degrees.  They are certified to teach in the area that they are teaching by the state of North Carolina.

    Will I have time to complete my work in this online class at school?

    All middle schools provide some time to work on your online course.  However, you will have to do some of your class work outside of school.  Therefore, you need to make sure that you have Internet access from outside of school.  This may be at home, the public library, a relative's house, or a friend's house.  This will provide you with the extra time you might need to complete your work successfully.

    What calendar does my online course follow?

    NCVPS sets their own calendar.  It will be very similar to Burke County Public Schools' calendar, but there will be some differences.  In your online course, you follow NCVPS' calendar.  If there is an assignment due on a day that BCPS is out of school, the assignment is still due on the date that your NCVPS instructor has set it.  Being out of school is not an excuse for being late on an online assignment.

    What if I get into the course and decide that this is not for me?

    You have ten school days to withdraw from a high school credit course.  This is a state rule; as well as a Burke County Public Schools rule.  If you just stop working after the tenth school day, you will receive an F in the course and this will be recorded on your high school transcript.

    How long does it take to complete an online course?
    NCVPS courses are based on a semester length of curriculum. Students are expected to complete their course within that time period.
    How many online courses may I take per semester while in middle school?
    BCPS board policy allows middle school students to take one online course per semester.
    Who will be in my online classes?

    Most of your classes will have a combination of both middle school students and high school students; with the majority being high school students.  Please keep this in mind as you participate in collaboration activities with your classmates.  These students come from all across North Carolina.

    What about my textbook?

    Textbooks for online classes are provided by Burke County Public Schools.  Most NCVPS courses are textbook independent meaning that no textbook is needed.  You must return this textbook at the end of the course OR pay for the textbook if it is lost.

    How will I take tests?

    Many instructors will place the test online for you to take and submit for grading. Many require one or more proctored tests. A "proctored" test is one where someone monitors you while you take the test. Some online classes require a combination of online tests and proctored tests. Please read your course description carefully to understand the class requirements.

    How do I access my course each day?
    You will login using the username and password provided by your DLA.  The login URL is