Distance learning online can be an effective option for QSI schools when onsite instruction is not available. Prior to registering students for online courses, QSI administrators need to consider the following:
1. There is a valid need for distance learning.
2. The student possesses the qualities necessary to be successful in a distance learning course.
3. The school is able to provide all necessary conditions for success to support students enrolled in distance learning courses:
- Technology and procedures for monitoring the learning process
- Procedures for monitoring and reporting student progress
- Procedures for safety-netting when needed
Quality Schools International has established procedures to provide QSI schools with necessary online courses through QSI Virtual School (QVS). QSI Schools are required to follow these procedures when there is a need for distance learning. The use of the distance learning courses is based on two principles: Non-competition and Non-enablement.
Non-competition means that online courses are not meant to compete with onsite courses and will not be approved if an onsite course can meet the course need.
Non-enablement means that online courses are not designed to allow students to catch up when they are either not performing or falling behind in required onsite courses. (These students may remain in school another year to make up the courses they need to graduate.)
QSI identifies eight valid needs for a distance learning program.
- A QSI school lacking a complete Secondary program may need to offer an accredited Secondary course for a small number of Secondary students.
- A QSI school newly establishing a Secondary program with a small staff may have course needs that cannot be provided on site.
- A QSI school with a Secondary program may need to utilize a distance learning provider when there is not staff to provide instruction for a specific course.
- A QSI school having a Secondary program with complete staffing may face a scheduling conflict, whereby a student needing a specific class is unable to take the class when it is offered through no fault of the student.
- A QSI Secondary student that has finished the courses offered at the school, who is in need of an advanced course not now offered at the school.
- QSI students scheduled for graduation in the following academic year may qualify to take an overload online course in order to graduate on time.
- Some students may have health circumstances that do not allow daily face to face classroom instruction.
- There are other reasons why a QSI student may qualify for distance education. Special situations are considered case by case and have to be discussed with the QVS Director prior to registration.
QSI requires the following conditions for success of the school when offering distance learning courses.
- Only QSI approved providers and courses may be utilized. All QVS courses follow the QSI mastery learning curriculum. The courses use the same essential units and outcomes.
- A period for each approved online course is scheduled into the student’s regular daily class schedule. Students are not to work on the online courses from home only.
- An onsite monitor must be appointed to be with the student during the scheduled periods. The onsite monitor will be required to complete a short QVS orientation course prior to students beginning their coursework.
- The monitor will be in regular contact with the online teachers and online students, and will regularly report the progress of all online students to the school administration and to the student’s parents.
- Only students who are on track for the general, academic, or academic with honors diplomas may register for these courses. There may be rare cases where an exception is made.
- In order to meet a QSI graduation requirement, distance courses may be offered as an elective when the school does not offer the elective.
- Appropriate technology, including a computer and all needed peripherals, must be available at school during the scheduled online periods.
- In countries where internet access is regulated, a QSI school offering distance learning must have a VPN.