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Frequently Asked Questions About Scholars Online

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FAQs

Money

How does the installment option work? Are payments spread through the entire school year?

Installment payments are not spread over the entire year. As with most other private schools, Scholars Online requires that all tuition and fees be paid in full before students are allowed to enter class. The installment was proposed in response to some parents' request to pay in several smaller amounts only over the April - to - September time frame.


I paid tuition today through PayPal but the payment isn't showing in my Account Management Center invoice. Did you receive my payment?

All payments are individually processed to ensure that they are applied appropriately to membership, fees, summer courses, and fall courses. Usually the payment will be reflected in 24-48 hours after you submit it to PayPal. If you receive your confirmation letter from PayPal, you can be assured that we have also received a copy of the confirmation letter and will process your payment within 24-48 hours.


What if I decide that your course doesn't meet my student's needs?

If for any reason a student must withdraw during the first month of classes, tuition is refunded at the rate specified on the Scholars Online > Enrollment > Tuition and Fees page. This schedule recognizes the work the teacher must do in planning and preparing courses for enrolled students. Membership and registration fees are not refundable.


I paid the total amount of tuition and fees specified in the confirmation letter sent when I enrolled my student. Why is there still a $25 charge on my Account Management Center invoice page?

Each minor must be sponsored by an adult member. The adult membership amount is not included in the enrollment confirmation letter, which determines only the individual child member's own charges. When you make a payment, funds are applied first to the sponsoring adult's membership, then to the child's membership and fees, then to tuition charges.


How do I pay for classes?

Scholars Online accepts payment by check or money order mailed to our PO box, or through PayPal, which processes payments by bank draft, personal credit card, or PayPal account, or by direct deposit using Zelle. Once you have requested course enrollments for your student, you will find an invoice at your Account Management Center by clicking on the "Instructions for Invoice Payment" button. This page provides address information for paying by check, by Zelle, and has links to PayPal for paying online.


I have paid membership and registration fees. Is this enough to hold my student's spot in multiple courses?

Yes. Membership fees get you access to the Moodle, where there are some resources available for parents and students even without course enrollment. The annual registration fee is used to process enrollment requests and holds a student's place in all requested courses, assuming that the course was not waitlisted at the time of the request. Tuition may be paid in installments, but all fees, including tuition in full, must be paid before students can enter Moodle course resources or chat sessions. It is important to plan payments so that all funds reach Scholars Online before the start of chat sessions.


Contacts

My email to admin@scholarsonline.org bounced. How do I contact you?

This doesn't happen very often, but if for some reason the SO server is unavailable, your email may not reach us. Use our alternate email address at scholarsonline@mindspring.com to report problems with email reaching us.


I have a question about course content that isn't in the description on your website. How do I contact the teacher?

You can use the links on the Scholars Online > Community > Teachers page, or on the course description page. Just click on the teacher's name, and your browser will pop up an email window in your default email program with the teacher's address already entered.


Tech

What kind of software do I need to participate in your courses?

You only need a modern browser. The Scholars Online Chat and our Moodle work best with FireFox, however, especially for science courses which use MathML notation that will not display properly in Chrome, Brave, or Opera. You can download FireFox for free from https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox. If you are taking a mathematics course or a modern language course, you may find it useful to install the Zoom application rather than depend on the browser version. You can find the appropriate version at the Zoom download page (https://zoom.us/download.


Is the course software compatible with my Mac? (or Windows, or Android table, or iPhone...)

Since all you really need is a browser, you can attend our courses using any platform supporting an appropriate browser. Both FireFox and Zoom (used for some courses) have Mac, Windows, and Linux versions, as well as iOS and Android versions. You should be able to use Safari or Edge as well with the Moodle and Chat. Other browsers such as Chrome and Brave, which do not support MathML conventions, may not work with some course materials, but will work for others.


My computer doesn't seem to work properly with the Moodle. Where can I get help?

Email the Technical Support representative using the Webmistress link in the footer menu of any Scholars Online Webpage. Describe the error you are experiencing and if possible, include a screen shot. If your issue is time critical (for example, you need to submit a quiz by a deadline), call the Technical Support number on the Scholars Online > About Us > Support page.


I can't remember my username and/or password. Should I just create a new account?

No. If you can't remember either your username or your password or both, simply email us. We will verify your account status and email address, give you a temporary password, and notify you of the username and password within 24 hours. The email we send will contain instructions for entering your permanent password. Please do not create a second account, since the new account will not contain any past invoice information, enrollments, payments, or transcript information for your student.


How do I set my student's password?

Adults can set a password for themselves so that they can access their own Account Management Center information, create student accounts, and request student enrollment in courses. Once you have paid membership fees, you will also be able to log into the Moodle to your own account. You cannot, however, set your student's password. A temporary student password will be sent to the student at the time student membership fees are processed.


Navigation

How do I find the cost, class times, and textbooks required for a course?

From any Scholars Online page, use the Courses option dropdown to select the Course Listing for the year. The listing contains information about the course instructor, meeting times, and tuition for all courses that have been approved for enrollment. Click on the course name to see detailed information, including access to the teacher's website, and (under "More Details") a description of prerequisites, textbooks, and materials required for the course.


Classes

How often do classes meet?

Frequency of classes vary by class according to schedules set by each teacher. Some classes meet 3 times a week for an hour at a time; other classes meet twice a week for 90 minutes at a time, and many meet once a week for 90 minutes. Some writing classes do not have regular chat times but meet at the discretion of the teacher. Check the current class list for class meeting information, and the full course listing for any teacher notes on class schedules.


Do classes use audio?

Scholars Online teachers are free to use video conferencing solutions like Zoom or audio-only solutions like Skype if their material and presentation requires it. However, most courses use the text-based Scholars Online Chat program. We believe that our unique browser-based chat software allows us to deliver more material, with less ambiguity, than audio supplies, and additionally lets us log course presentations for reference. For more information on the pedagogical reasons behind our decision to use primarily text methods, see the Schoalrs Online > Online Education > Live Chat Sessions page, which also has links to sample chats from different classes.


Do you provide grades for high school transcripts?

Yes, we give grades and we issue transcripts on request. Scholars Online teachers enter numeric values reflecting performance at the end of each school year into our database; upon request, the teacher can also assign a letter grade. Student records are retained in the SO database for up to 4 years after the student leaves SO classes. At any time, current and former parent members and alumni can retrieve their own student transcripts by logging into their SO Account Management Center and selecting the student transcript button. Up to ten transcripts on school letterhead may be requested for colleges, scholarship groups, or other academic programs; this service is included in the student's registration fee.


Do you keep records for the parent, or is that the parent's job?

Depending on how the teacher uses the Moodle resources, the Moodle will report individual quiz and assignment grades, which are visible to each student throughout the course year, and to the parent's Mentor Block on his or her own Moodle home page. These day-to-day records are archived at the end of the year and no longer available to parents. Midyear and final course grades are kept in our external transcript database and are available to parents from their Account Management Center.


Do you provide curriculum recommendations based on learning style or previous coursework?

When you enroll your student, you may also enter information about the student's learning style and background in the course material. The teacher will take this into account before accepting the student for enrollment, and will contact you with questions or recommendations. You may also consult with our Academic advisor, Mrs. LaJuana Decker, using the information on our Scholars Online > About Us > Support page.


How do I acquire the textbooks for a course?

You are responsible for purchasing your own textbooks. All textbooks are listed in our bookstore along with links to Amazon.com if the books are available either new or used from Amazon; if they are not carried by Amazon, our bookstore listing will contain instructions for other sources for the text and materials.


Can we observe a class (or audit courses)?

We do not allow anyone who is not enrolled in a course to audit or observe the course. This ensures student security and limits disruptions for the students who have paid for the teachers' time. The Scholars Online > Online Education > Live Chat Sessions page includes more details about our chat philosophy and software. There's a screen capture of an actual chat orientation session, and links to the logs of typical chat sessions in several course areas.


Why do some of your classes meet at 6am Pacific Time and 8pm Eastern Time? Can students really be alert and attentive at that time?

The simple fact is that no time is perfect for everyone. Our contractors select times that work for them: we occasionally make suggestions, but we don't dictate chat session times. Most of our contractors are teaching classes around other jobs. Also, if we restrict ourselves to sessions that begin after 7am on the Pacific Coast and end by 5pm on the Eastern Coast, we would have to overlap many more courses, and reduce student options. By spreading out our teaching "day", we are able to contract with good teachers who otherwise would not be able to teach for us, and allow students more flexibility in assembling a curriculum with several courses. Not all students handle early (or late) hours the same way, so you need to consider how well your student can perform at these times. We have taught taught math, science, language and literature courses at both ends of the day for over two decades, with attentive — and even enthusiastic — participation by many students, including some who were living in Hawaii and Alaska, as well as outside the US time zones entirely, in India, Jordan, Mozambique, and Spain.


How many students are in each class?

Class size varies with the course material and time the course is offered. Most classes are between eight and twelve students. Some literature classes may have as many as twenty-five students, some advanced language classes as few as two. The contract teachers determine their minimum and maximum enrollment sizes, although no classes exceed thirty students meeting in the same chat session.


I need to cancel enrollment for my student, but I can't find any way to do that from my Account Management Center.

If you need to cancel enrollment before classes start, please email us at accounts@scholarsonline.org. We will verify and change enrollment status and determine any refunds due to you, notify the teacher, and offer the place to another student if the course is waitlisted.


Do I need to take all my courses from Scholars Online?

Scholars Online offers courses to supplement the options available to homeschoolers and to students in public or private schools that may not offer courses in some areas or at an advanced level. Some students chose to take a complete curriculum with us, and we offer a general guide on our Scholars Online > Courses > Planning Your Curriculum page to help you identify the right courses for your student.


Are your courses accredited?

Scholars Online was accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission in 2009 (later AdvancEd). We are currently a member of the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (https://www.msa-cess.org). In April, 2020, we completed the two-year self-evaluation process leading to formal accreditation of all of our courses. We anticipate formal accreditation in December, 2020, after the commission meets to consider recommendations by their own teams. Our courses are recognized for credit by other primary and secondary schools, state and private colleges and universities, and scholarship organizations like National Merit.


Membership

How do I change a student's status to Alumni when my student graduates from Scholars Online?

Students who finish their education and go on to college or start work may maintain their account as Scholars Online Alumni. They will have access to their own transcript information, can continue to log into the Moodle, and participate in open courses and bulletin boards. Parents retain access to invoice history. Simply email us with a request to change the student's status after graduation.


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Scholars Online is fully accredited through the Middle States Accreditation Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools.