Frequently Asked Questions
live_help Who can take courses with the VLC?
Residents of Ontario are eligible to take online courses at no charge so long as you are resident of the district in which you are applying.
If you are in full-time or part-time attendance at a publicly funded Ontario secondary school, you will have to make arrangements with your home school to take courses with the VLC. Because there are costs associated with this program, and because your home school is already collecting the Ontario grant for your secondary education, your home school must be willing to share a portion of this grant with the VLC. In 2019-2020, the cost to your home school is $769 per credit.
If you live outside Ontario, you may pay a tuition fee to take courses. in 2019-20, this fee is in excess of $1500.
live_help What is the appropriate age for students starting with the VLC?
The VLC program is a secondary school program and it begins with grade 9 curriculum. Students are admitted to the VLC when they are 14 years old or turning 14 before December 31st in the school year they hope to attend. For the 2019-2020 school year, students must be born in 2005 or earlier.
live_help How do I apply?
After reviewing the website and the course selection suggestions found in the Student Services section of the website, applicants can click on the Register button found at the top right corner of our site. Applicants can look through the Course Offerings before beginning the application process to ensure they have a list of courses they would like to register for.
After reading the application instructions carefully, applicants can select 1 to 4 courses for the upcoming semester. We highly recommend students choose alternate courses since all our courses run on sufficient enrolment and courses may become full before we receive your supporting documents.
All applicants will receive a confirmation of the courses they registered for and a request for further supporting documentation to the email address they provided in the application.
Applicants must submit all the supporting documents requested in order for the office to process their registration.
Depending on the applicant’s status, the supporting documents may include:
- School authorization forms
- A copy of the birth certificate
- A copy of the Ontario Health Card
- An up-to-date transcript
- A copy of the most recent grade 8 term report card if entering grade 9 (the final grade 8 report card can be uploaded when received)
- A synopsis of the curriculum covered while receiving instruction at home
- A copy of the ‘Letter of Intent to Home School’ submitted to your board for the 2019/20 school year
- A copy of the ‘Letter of Intent to Homeschool’ submitted to your local board for the school year you plan on attending the VLC***
***You can use this sample letter of intent to home school form from the Ministry website or the form provided by your school board.
live_help Are there any fees?
If you are a resident of the Province of Ontario, you will not be charged tuition. However, if you are registered full-time or part-time with a publicly funded school in Ontario, that school will need to agree to share the ministry of education grant which they receive for your tuition. In 2018-19, they will be charged $773 per credit you take with VLC.
The VLC charges a system access deposit of $50 per course for new students, and for returning students who have not maintained continuous enrolment. This deposit will be refunded at the end of the school year (July) upon successful completion of each course.
live_help Can I start courses anytime?
Courses follow the semester system like in a regular school. Semester 1 runs from September to the end of January and semester 2 runs from February to the end of June. It is recommended that you make application for fall courses no later than June and Winter courses no later than December.
Registration for the fall semesters opens mid April. Registration for the winter semester opens mid October.
live_help Can I register for more than one semester?
No. Applicants choose their courses for one semester at a time. Semester 1 applications typically open up in April and semester 2 applications typically open up in October. Alternate courses do not carry forward to the next semester.
live_help How are online courses taught?
When you register for an online course within the Virtual Learning Centre, you will be provided with login information such as a username and id. You will also receive an Internet address (URL) to your course(s) when the course begins at the start of the semester.
When you login for the first time, you will complete the Student Guide course – the orientation for our program. After completing the guide you will select one of the courses you are enrolled in and an introductory message from your teacher will greet you in the Announcements section. This message will outline the course content and describe how the course will be delivered and what is required of you.
Although all of the Virtual Learning Centre’s online courses look the same, your teacher is ultimately in charge of how the course will run. Please be sure to go into each course you have enrolled in for the semester. We do have a staggered start, so as courses begin the first week of the semester they will become available in your course homepage.
Teachers will hold scheduled live meetings in an Adobe classroom throughout the week that students can attend. Each live lesson is 75 minutes long. If a student cannot attend these sessions, they can watch the recorded posted lesson. Weekly modules will be assigned with readings, assignments, tests etc. that students must complete and submit online by the due date.
Course timetables are not given to students until the start of each semester. Courses in our program are scheduled Monday to Friday between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. Due to class size limitations, students will be assigned to classes. We are not are able to offer self-selection options.
live_help Will I benefit from online courses?
In most cases, this form of course delivery works well. Obvious prerequisites include motivation, computer familiarity, and the ability to work independently and meet deadlines. Remember, though, that although there is daily contact with others in the class, there may not be any face-to-face meetings. For students with some learning styles, taking online courses may not be an appropriate choice
live_help Does the VLC offer clubs or extra-curricular activities for students?
The VLC offers a large range of extra-curricular activities to enhance the experience of students and to build school community.
We have a strong Student Council whose role is to build school community and provide opportunities for students to voice opinions and recommendations to the Principal.
Clubs range from our student newspaper, the VLC Gazette, to clubs such as environment, chess, and debating. Special interest clubs are formed as needed such as the Doctor Who Club.
All clubs are monitored by a member of the VLC staff team.
Competitions are run by our Student Council to enhance school spirit and to raise awareness of societal issues.
Clubs vary from year to year with student interests.
live_help Are online courses harder or easier than regular classroom courses?
This very much depends on you and the course you are taking. Studies have shown that both students and teachers tend to spend more time working on courses delivered online when compared to the same course delivered in the traditional classroom setting. If you are not, at this time, comfortable with computers, some of your time will be spent figuring out how to carry out different applications on your computer. As a general rule, however, plan on devoting at least as many hours to online courses as you would to regular classroom courses.
live_help Do I have to attend any classes?
You don’t have to come to our location but, yes, our online program requires some attendance in our web classrooms. You don’t need to travel, but you do need a solid internet connection a schedule that provides for real-time connections with other students and your teacher.
live_help Is there an attendance check?
Yes. You need to contribute to your classroom conference and communicate with your instructor on a regular basis. This will vary depending on the course and the teacher. Your login dates, times and the areas of the course that you visit are logged. Your teacher will clarify what is required of you in terms of course participation.
live_help How will I write my exams?
Students will write their exams online during the scheduled exam period. Semester 1 exams run at the end of January and semester 2 exams run at the end of June. Students must have a suitable proctor present during the entire exam who will then complete the proctor form and the student will submit it to our office after each exam. Students who are in grade 9 will not write a final exam. All final exams are scheduled.
2018-2019 Final Exam Dates:
Semester 1 - January 25-30
Semester 2 - June 20-25
2019-2020 Final Exam Dates:
Semester 1 - January 24, 27, 28, 29, 30
Semester 2 - June 18, 19, 22, 23, 24
Suitable proctors include:
Teachers/ librarians (active or retired)
Religious institution officials
Chartered accountants or lawyers/ notaries
Professional engineers or medical professionals
Military or law enforcement officers
Other with office approval
*Parents/Relatives of the student writing the exam are not permitted to proctor the final exam.
live_help How will post-secondary institutions receive my marks when I am applying?
At the start of each semester, our Guidance Counsellor will post a form (Graduation and Post-Secondary Information Request) for student's to complete in the Student Guide. Using the information in the form, instructions are sent to students VLC Gmail account about how to apply for post-secondary institutions both in Ontario and out-of-province.
Depending on the student's status, our school will upload marks to OUAC and/or OCAS, or mail the marks to the post-secondary institutions upon request. If a student is enrolled at another publicly or privately-funded school then that school will be responsible for uploading courses/marks to OCAS and/or OUAC.
Please note: It is the student's responsibility to complete the form in order for our office to ensure the necessary information is sent to post-secondary institutions.
live_help Do I need additional course materials such as textbooks or special programs?
No. In almost all cases, all course material is provided once you login to your course – this includes all support material and special programs. We have made arrangements with software and major publishers to ensure you have legal access to all of the resources you require.
live_help What equipment is required?
You need to have a high speed and reliable connection to the Internet through an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Arranging and maintaining an Internet connection is the student’s responsibility. A Mac or PC capable of running a modern browser such as Chrome, Safari or Firefox is required. It is highly recommended that all operating systems and browsers are kept up to date. While mobile devices, tablets, Chrome Books and Cloud Books can be useful for quick course checkins, they are not recommended for extensive course work.
Courses that require additional software provide links to these applications and there is no associated cost.
The amount of bandwidth, gigabytes (GB), per month used per course will vary between courses, and from student to student.
live_help What about privacy and security?
You are only able to enter a course with a password and login, which is assigned at registration and private to the user. No personal information is accessible to anyone else. Privacy is governed in exactly the same way as it is in the regular day school program.
live_help Can I take a course without having the prerequisite course?
Typically, no. However, where possible, we want students to be in an “age appropriate” placement. Where students have provided documentation detailing academic work outside of the Ontario secondary school context, the Principal, at his or her discretion may grant entry into program without formal completion of the prerequisite course. Please see the next FAQ for more information.
live_help Home School Synopsis
A home school synopsis may be required when:
A student is entering our program and took courses that are not accredited in Ontario;
A student in our program wants to take a course that they have not completed the official prerequisite for.
Students can provide us with one or more of the following pieces of information:
name of the textbook (McGraw Hill, Nelson, Pearson) or curriculum packages used;
curriculum program used ex. Saxon, Abeka, Tree of Life, Apologia, Bob Jones;
a brief description of how the student was evaluated and by whom and the final mark (if awarded).
For students who are new to our program they can type this information into a text box during the application process.
Current students can upload a pdf with the information to their student profile.
If any report cards or transcripts were received then these can be uploaded to the student profile. New students will have access to the student notes once they register and can upload the documents as a pdf file then.
live_help How do I earn the health and physical education credit?
The VLC offers PPZ3C: Health for Life, College Level in grade 11 for all students (no prerequisite required) who need to earn their compulsory health and physical education credit for their OSSD.
Students also have the option of taking PSK4U: Introductory Kinesiology, University Level in grade 12 to earn their compulsory health and physical education credit. The prerequisite for this course is any Grade 11 university or university/college course in science, or any Grade 11 or 12 open course in health and physical education.
live_help What about French?
If students have the required 600 hours of elementary school French, they can submit a copy of their grade 8 report card. Once hours have been verified, students are able to select a French course from either the academic (FSF1D) or applied levels (FSF1P).
If students do not have the 600 required hours from elementary school then there are two options:
1) If students have completed private lessons or an alternate curriculum at home, then they can register for the applied level course (FSF1P) which is available in semester 2 each school year. Please submit a synopsis of the material completed to support your registration. (Log in using the register button and use "submit documents".)
2) If students have not completed the required hours of elementary French instruction then the Principal, at their discretion, can substitute the required French credit with an elective course in the student's graduating year. Parents can make the request to the registrar after attending our program for a school year. Requests will be considered on a case by case basis.
live_help Do my online credits count toward my diploma?
Yes, the VLC is fully accredited and operated by Trillium Lakelands District School Board. Like any publicly funded and/or inspected school in Ontario, we are able to grant credits and the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
live_help Do VLC credits have to count toward a diploma?
No, some age appropriate students come to the VLC with the express intent of taking 6 or more senior level courses to secure entry into post secondary studies. In these cases an official Ontario report card is issued but no OSSD or equivalency credits are considered.
live_help Do credits from other schools and programs count toward my diploma? (Equivalency)
This depends. The “equivalency” process is the process of assessing credentials from other jurisdictions and may result in credits being granted as equivalent on the Ontario Report Card. A maximum of 16 equivalency credits may be granted and these are for placement purposes only. Programs must represent the same standards of achievement as credits granted to students who have taken the courses in Ontario and outlined in the Ministry’s Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition Policy: (http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm/129.html).
Equivalency credits will be considered for students who are studying on a full-time basis (3-4 credits in a semester) with the VLC and only for students who have successfully completed a full semester of VLC courses.
No equivalency will be considered for incomplete courses or courses taken concurrently with the VLC program.
Once you begin working toward your diploma, it is expected that Ontario credits will be granted for Ontario curriculum taught in publicly funded or otherwise inspected schools. Do not expect us to assess an English course from Florida where the Ontario version of the course is available to you from the VLC or another Ontario school. If, however, you have moved from another jurisdiction or taken alternative courses from another provider prior to enrolling in the VLC, we will certainly consider granting equivalent credits for placement purposes.
Further, in the spirit of providing as many pathways to success for our students, alternative programs for credit may be considered where:
- a similar program is not available in an Ontario school
- alignment with Ontario curriculum standards is possible
- the program of study includes formal instruction with appropriate reporting and assessment and evaluation routines
- a formal mark is generated and reported by means of a report card and/or transcript
- approval for consideration of the program has been granted by the VLC Principal prior to enrolment
Please note, approval for consideration of a program for credit does not guarantee that a credit will be granted. A review of the course of study and the student’s performance therein would require further review.
live_help What if I have taken courses outside of the Province of Ontario?
The Ministry outlines procedures under Ontario Secondary Schools, Grade 9-12 in regard to Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition. It is possible for equivalency credits to be granted at the discretion and under the direction of the Principal.
live_help Does VLC offer Cooperative Education?
The VLC currently offers the COOP12 - Ontario On-Line Science and Technology Research Co-op. This course matches highly motivated grade 11 & 12 students with a researcher in a field of their interest. Students work on a research project on-line under the guidance of their mentor for which they will receive 1 to 2 high school credits. Please see the Course Offerings > Cooperative Education section, on our website for more details.
We cannot offer ‘traditional’ co-op where students attend the placement in person. Traditional co-ops require a teacher to supervise portions of the placement. Students in our program are from diverse regions across Ontario so this teacher supervision is not possible
live_help Can I get credit for completing exams from the Royal Conservatory of Music?
In Ontario, a grade 11 high school credit (AMX3M) and grade can be attained by successfully completing the Grade 7 Practical and Intermediate Rudiments in any music instrument that is examined, including voice but excluding speech arts and drama.
A grade 12 high school credit (AMX4M) and grade can be attained by successfully completing the Grade 8 Practical and Advanced Rudiments in any music instrument that is examined, including voice but excluding speech arts and drama. The Grade 8 RCM grade counts as a U/M course credit and can be used for the calculation of entrance averages for universities and colleges.
Please see this appendix for full details: http://edu.gov.on.ca/eng/policyfunding/memos/oct2011/appendix4.pdf
Current VLC students can upload a copy of their RCM transcripts for the applicable exams to their student profile.
live_help What happens if I have to withdraw?
You need to notify our office using your student gmail account that you wish to withdraw from one or all of your courses. You can also login to your application and update your student notes.
If you are under 18, a parent/guardian must email the registrar: firstname.lastname@example.org with the request from their personal email account.
If you are attending another publicly funded or private school your guidance counsellor must email the registrar: email@example.com with the request.
If a student elects to withdraw course deposits will be forfeited.
live_help What is Full Disclosure?
The Ministry of Education has a policy of full disclosure. This policy states that all grade 11 and 12 courses attempted by students must be recorded on Ontario Student Transcripts. Full disclosure does not apply to students in Grades 9 or 10. After the full disclosure deadline, any Grade 11 or 12 course completed, withdrawn from or failed will appear on a student transcript along with the marks earned in the program.
The full disclosure date will be posted to students each semester. It occurs after the midterm reports have been issued (usually around November and April).
This means senior students (grade 11 or 12) have until the posted date to withdraw from a course without it showing on their transcript.
Course withdrawal request information is in the previous section.
live_help What is the Ontario Education Number (OEN) and where can I find it?
As per the Ministry of Education website:
The OEN is a student identification number that will be assigned by the Ministry of Education to elementary and secondary students across the province. The number, which is unique to every student, will be used as the key identifier on a student's school records, and will follow the student through his or her elementary and secondary education. The OEN is nine digits long (eight digits, plus a check digit), randomly assigned, and tied to stable information about the student (name, gender, date of birth).
For more information please visit: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/brochure/oen/index.html
A student’s OEN number will be found on their report card. If you are newly enrolled in our program and you have never received an Ontario report card before you can email our office (firstname.lastname@example.org) using your VLC Gmail with your OEN request.
live_help Are there courses available in the summer?
We have historically run CHV2O (Civics) and GLC2O (Careers) in the month of July. These are half-credit compulsory courses that are typically taken together. An announcement will be posted on the website in April if we are offering this course in the summer.
live_help Where do I learn more?
Email email@example.com to request more information about online course opportunities and one of our staff members will respond to your questions by email or telephone.