Questions by Parents/Students
Q. Why would a student take an online course through Sterling Academy?
A. Sterling Academy offers a high quality, rigorous curriculum that fully prepares students for life after high school, whether it be college or the working world. Sterling Academy teachers are dedicated to ensuring that students produce quality work and do not turn something in just to get by.
Sterling Academy is also flexible in scheduling. While students need to spend about 30 hours per week studying (9 months a year), students can arrange those 30 hours as needed to fit their schedule, and can stretch out the time to 12 months if needed (full-time tuition is valid for 12 months).
Q. Are Sterling Academy courses for credit?
A. Credits earned in a Sterling Academy course are equivalent to a traditional middle and high school class. Full-time Sterling Academy students earn credit towards their diploma by following the graduation requirements as stated in the Student/Parent Handbook. Sterling Academy student services will assist part-time students and their parents in ensuring that credits earned at Sterling Academy will transfer to their primary middle or high school.
Q. Is Sterling Academy accredited?
A. Yes. Committed to the provision of quality programs for students, Sterling Academy is accredited by AdvancED. The North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) are accreditation divisions of AdvancED.
Q. Do students take the courses on their own time or school time?
A. The beauty of Sterling's online courses is that students can study where and when they want. However, students must adhere to their instructor's requirements, which may include participation in live online chats, threaded discussions, and oral quizzes. Students must meet with each teacher via webcam, phone or chat at least once per month.
Q. Do students need a computer at home?
A. Sterling Academy highly recommends that students have continuous access to a computer with Internet access, preferably in the home. If students don't have a computer with reliable Internet access at home, they can use computers at the public library, internet cafes and community centers, but keep in mind that access will be needed 30 hours per week. Students will also need to have a webcam or webcam access in order to participate in oral quizzes.
Q. Is there a teacher for every class?
A. Yes. Certified teachers work closely with students in each course to provide guidance and frequent feedback as students progress through the curriculum. Sterling Academy teachers are content area experts in the fields that they teach.
Q. Will students need to be online at the same time as the instructor?
A. The majority of Sterling Academy courses are conducted asynchronously, allowing students to participate at any time of the day. Some courses do require that students attend live chat sessions with their instructor and/or classmates, and most courses require two oral quizzes during the course via webcam. For class meetings, times and dates are determined by the instructors. Individual meetings for assistance or oral quizzes are by appointment.
Q. What is the difference between "asynchronous" and "synchronous" discussions?
A. Asynchronous discussions, or "threaded discussions," are intended for students to post messages at their leisure, or as otherwise instructed by their teacher. Synchronous discussions, or online "chats" are intended for all students and their instructor to be present to communicate at the same time.
Q. What about assignments, quizzes and tests?
A. Sterling Academy courses all have assignments that students complete within the course. Courses have vocabulary practice, writing assignments, quizzes, unit tests, and mid-term and final comprehensive exams. Some courses, such as Digital Arts, are more project-based.
Q. How many Sterling Academy courses can students take at one time?
A. Part-time students usually take only one to two courses at any given time, depending on their current academic schedule at their primary school. On average, a full-time Sterling Academy student will take six credits per academic year in order to fully meet graduation requirements. The number of courses to reach six credits depends on the number of one-semester and two-semester courses taken. For example, most science, math, and English courses are two-semester courses, thus 1 credit each. Many electives are equivalent to one-semester courses and are 0.5 credits each. Full-time student schedules are determined on an individual basis and may vary. Six credits is the maximum number of credits that a student may take at one time with standard full-time tuition; additional credits will require additional tuition.