Students Take Online Classes Through Virtual Loudoun

Online learning programs have their pros and cons.

The logo of the online learning program offered to Loudoun County students: Virtual Loudoun.

Provided by Loudoun County Public Schools

The logo of the online learning program offered to Loudoun County students: Virtual Loudoun.

Amelia Lee, Staff Writer

Many Freedom High School students participate in classes offered online through Virtual Loudoun. These are offered during both the summer and school year, and allow students to create a space for a class offered in their homeschool, but contain a great deal of work as well.

Sophomore Tara Bhogaraju completed Health and PE 10 with Drivers Education during the summer.

“I chose to do a course over the summer because I wanted to free up a block in the school year, so I could take a class I wanted to do,” Bhogaraju said.

Virtual Loudoun is an online learning program offered to Loudoun County students. Students take a course of their choosing over the summer, fall, or spring semester. These courses are all academic courses, and they offer English, Math, History, Science, World Language, Health PE and Drivers Ed and Economics and Personal Finance. Students complete the course through Schoology, and are able to take multiple courses throughout the year if approved by their counselor. However, they may only take one course per session.

“I took two online courses because I had no other choice due to scheduling conflicts with the academies,” said sophomore Ashley Kim, who completed English 10.

By taking these classes online, students had more flexibility with when they wanted to complete their work. Students are provided pacing guides by the course with recommended deadlines for assignments, but these deadlines were not mandatory, so students were able to complete assignments when they wanted as long as they were all turned in by the due date. However, teachers would provide students’ guardians with a progress report, so if a student was not completing assignments, their parents may be upset by it. 

“I worked on my own time, so I could decide when and where I wanted to do the work because in school, you have very, very set deadlines,” said sophomore Keira McDowell, who completed Economics and Personal Finance.

With the flexible deadlines, procrastination can become an issue. Students can wait until the last minute to complete their work, causing stress and pressure on them. Online courses required discipline from students if they wanted to be successful in the course, with their work being independent and not needing to see a teacher or peers during the course.

“It was hard to not procrastinate since there were no due dates, so at the end of the course I had to cram all my work in and stay up late to finish assignments,” Kim said.

Students also believed that it was difficult to communicate with teachers. Since the course was online, students only way to communicate with the course’s teacher was through email.  However, it was hard for students to receive an email back from a teacher, so sometimes their questions would go unanswered.

“You have to email your teacher and hope that they respond with what you want because it’s a little difficult to get hold of them,” McDowell said.

Students’ resulting GPA would depend both on the course and their dedication to it. If students chose a core class, their GPA may drop due to the course not having an honors boost. The course was also very demanding since it requires a school year’s work to be completed in three months. However, those who chose a Health, PE, and Drivers Ed course or an Economics/Personal Finance course may end it with a similar GPA that they started with depending on how committed and dedicated they were to the course.

“It affected my GPA negatively because most online classes on Virtual Loudoun don’t have a grade boost. I also struggle with English and was not able to end with a grade that I wanted,” Kim said.

Taking a course through Virtual Loudoun provides students an opportunity to take more classes, but requires dedication by the student to complete it.

“I would do an online course again because it allows me to take more classes that I’m interested in during the school year. Even though there are a bunch of cons I would still take it but I’d need more discipline,” Kim said.