These questions are focused on the daily experience of a distance education student.
If you don’t see what you’re looking for here, you can find additional FAQs on these pages:
Can Vista Virtual School students work at an accelerated pace?
When students enrol full time with Vista Virtual School, they work with an academic counsellor to establish the appropriate program. Teachers will set a pace for instruction similar to what might be expected at a typical school. However, because students can vary the pace at which they work on assignments, some students move quickly through learning outcomes. Decisions to accelerate learning beyond the grade level associated with students’ ages are made collaboratively and in consideration of individual circumstances.
What does support from parents look like?
Students who have the most success with distance learning have dedicated space and time to do their work. Parents/guardians usually set them up. Parents/guardians then support ongoing learning through frequent dialogue with students; not unlike the conversations that might occur at the end of a student’s day in school.
Do Vista Virtual School teachers work together?
Yes. Our teachers work closely to support each other and to continuously improve the content of their online courses. Like other schools, teachers collaborate to support shared students and their families.
What are the courses like? Is there a lot of reading and answering questions?
Learning in any environment requires reading and writing and learning at a distance is no different. VVS teachers use course content that has been expertly developed specifically for delivery at a distance. Courses contain interactive material and videos as well as opportunities to have teacher – moderated communication with other students.
How do Vista Virtual students get feedback from their teachers?
The main way that teachers interact with students is through the course content. Teachers provide various types of instruction, depending on the course and grade level. Students then work on various types of assignments. Students submit assignments digitally. Some course work is all digital. Other assignments are written and scanned and then sent back to the teacher. Sometimes students make recordings, videos or take pictures of the physical products they create.
Teachers contact students frequently through email, virtual face-to-face meetings, phone calls and texts. In upper level courses, the feedback VVS teachers provide is significantly more individualized to students than in traditional classrooms. Students get specific feedback about their responses to questions with guidance and tutorials to take them step by step through difficult concepts.
Isn’t it really easy for students to get their answers from Google?
Vista Virtual School teachers are experts in online learning and are very aware of when students’ work may not be their own. Teachers use tools to assess the authenticity of student’s work. Many assignments are designed to make students submit their work in stages so that teachers can monitor the development and thereby authenticate the work.
How do students perform laboratory experiments in a distance learning school?
Students complete lab experiments virtually. This means they either complete interactive simulated labs online, review step-by-step photos, or watch videos of experiments being completed; they also complete information from experiment plans and photos, or complete written laboratory assignments based on the learning concepts. Usually, there is an opportunity to attend a full-day lab (for some courses) later in the school year—more information is available from the teacher.
How do students take physical education in a distance learning school?
The Physical Education curriculum requires that students participate in various activities across five dimensions:
- Alternate Environments (outdoor activities)
- Individual Activities
In each dimension, students complete a minimum five hours in one or two activities of their choosing. Students are required to submit photos or video showing participation in these activities, as well as submit a completed supervisor declaration for each activity dimension. Each month in the course, students are required to submit a monthly log.
Supervision is required for all activity hours earned. Activities must be supervised by a person over the age of 18 who has considerable experience in the activity. Some activities can be supervised through the use of fitness tracking apps (e.g. hiking, walking, outdoor cycling, outdoor running). Only 5-7 hours can be supervised by family members. All other supervision requests must be approved by the teacher.
PE 10 requires a CPR/ Heart Saving course, offered twice a year through Vista Virtual School.
PE 20 & 30 has a 10 hour Volunteer Commitment promoting physical activity.
*Due to the change in supervision options at this time, guardian supervision for all dimensions will be accepted. For grade 10 students, the CPR requirement will be excluded.
Register for Physical Education online: Register Here. When you get to the course selection page of the application, you can find Physical Education 10/20/30 under the Subject/Department Senior High Personal Development.
Can I get any in-person help?
Vista Virtual School teachers and academic counsellors are always ready to help and expect that students will ask for assistance regarding coursework and assignments. We strive to keep students and parents informed of progress on a regular basis.
Our teachers and academic counsellors work in the Calgary, Edmonton, and Barrhead campuses. If your teacher or academic counsellor is at a campus near you, you may ask them if it is possible to set up an in-person appointment. Teachers and academic counsellors are ready to assist you by telephone or email, and many use Skype, Google Hangouts, texting, etc. Teachers and academic counsellors are available Monday to Friday from either 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. or 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Our academic counsellors and teachers also visit Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer regularly. Students can meet with their teachers, write supervised exams, or return textbooks during this visit. For dates and details, please contact your teacher(s).
To find out your teacher or academic counsellor’s campus location and contact information, please visit Our Staff page.
Do we have a spring break or fall break?
Vista Virtual School courses operate year-round through distance learning so there is no officially designated spring or fall break. Campuses are closed for winter break and statutory holidays.