Riverside Unified School District 3380 14th St. Riverside, CA 92516
Richard L. Miller, Ph.D District Superintendent
David Haglund, Ed.D
Board of Education
Mrs. Kathy Y. Allavie
Mr. Lewis J. Vanderzyl
Mr. Tom Hunt
Mrs. Gayle Cloud
Charles L. Beaty, Ph.D
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Why would a student take an online course through RVS?
A. Riverside Virtual School (RVS) offers many options for students. The RVS learning management system can provide access to semester courses in either accelerated or traditional class formats. Students can catch up on missed credits, take a subject not offered at their home school, solve a scheduling conflict, try a different mode of learning, improve a grade for a previous course, or stay engaged in rigorous learning activities while home-schooled or temporarily home bound. This flexibility allows students to focus their energy on learning, instead of scheduling. All the while, maintaining progress with their class towards graduation.
Q. Are all students successful in online classes?
A. No. Success in a virtual learning environment requires a good deal of self-determination and self-discipline. Those students who are strong independent learners will likely excel in the online learning environment. At the same time, students who need a more "hands-on" instructional approach may find online learning to be more difficult. As one student put it, "it is very easy to get behind in an online course and even more difficult to catch back up." Because of this, we encourage all students to take one or two online self-assessments prior to signing up for any online course. It is better to know if there is a match between the learning style of the student and the method of instructional delivery before making a long-term commitment. Access to several free online assessment tools can be found by clicking here.
Q. Are RVS courses for credit?
A. All courses offered at RVS are matched to those offered in Riverside Unified School District’s (RUSD) five comprehensive high schools. Therefore, credits earned in an RVS course (whether in accelerated or traditional format) are equivalent to a high school class. RVS students earn credit towards their diploma by following the graduation requirements established by the RUSD Board of Education. The RVS staff processes all credits for transfer to the student’s home high school, at the end of each academic period.
Q. How are parents involved in student learning?
A. Parents attend
mandatory meetings with online instructors at
the beginning of the term. During this meeting,
they are provided information regarding how to
access their child’s Blackboard account as an
“observer.” Although parents cannot interact
with the course content itself or view
information about other students in the course;
they can view their own child’s progress on
assignments, check attendance and grades, and
review teacher comments regarding work their
child has submitted in the course. This feature
provides parents “real-time” access to relevant
information relating to student progress and
facilitates an active role in supporting the
academic achievement of their child. To receive
an observer account, please
click here and complete the online form.
A. The beauty of online courses is that students can study where, how and when they want. However, students must adhere to their instructor's course outline and guidelines, which will require specific assignment due dates, participation in live sessions, threaded discussions, and various other learning activities. All course mid-term and final exams are presented in proctored, face-to-face sessions that are scheduled by the instructor.
Q. Do students need a computer at home?
A. RVS highly recommends that students have continuous access to a computer that supports connectivity to the Internet. It is preferable that this computer be in the home, but not necessary. If students don't have a computer with reliable Internet access at home, they can use computers at school, the public library, and/or community centers where technology is made available to the public. The courses do require that a few plug-in applications be downloaded to support the Internet browser as it works with the course content. The first activity in each course walks the student through this process. If you experience trouble, please contact the RVS helpdesk at 951.276.2006 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Is there a teacher for every class?
A. Yes. The Riverside Unified School District assigns students to courses taught by highly trained, certificated teachers that are NCLB compliant and highly qualified in the content areas they teach. Each RVS teacher is a fulltime instructor at one of the comprehensive schools in RUSD. RVS identifies RUSD teachers who are content area experts in the fields they teach and trains them to deliver instruction via the virtual learning environment. Teachers work closely with students in each course to provide guidance and frequent feedback as they make progress through the curriculum.
Q. Will students need to be online at the same time as the instructor?
A. The majority of RVS courses are conducted in an “asynchronous” (recorded) manner, allowing students to participate in class activities at any time of the day. Some courses do require that students attend “synchronous” (live) chat sessions with their instructor and/or classmates or complete required wet lab activities in a face-to-face setting. Times and dates are determined by the instructor.
Q. What is the difference between "asynchronous" and "synchronous" discussions?
A. Asynchronous discussions, or “threaded” discussions, are intended for students to post messages at various times, or as instructed by their teacher. Students may be asked to visit these conversations many times over in order to facilitate an ongoing discourse. Synchronous discussions, or "chats," are intended to occur when students and instructors are online together at one time; allowing students to demonstrate mastery of course content and participate in academic debate.
Q. What about assignments, quizzes and tests?
A. All RVS courses have assignments that students will turn in via Blackboard, the RVS learning management system, found on the RVS website. Most courses contain quizzes and presentations, and many include a culminating project of some kind. All courses require proctored mid-term and final exams, which are completed during face-to-face sessions scheduled by the instructor. Please refer to the course syllabus for specific grading information.
Q. How many RVS courses can students take at one time?
A. Concurrently enrolled students may take up to three courses at any given time, depending on their current academic schedule at their home school. As a general rule, students must take four classes at their home school to maintain enrollment. Full-time RVS student schedules are determined on an individual basis, based upon student transcripts, and will vary. Full-time students, without previous high school courses, would typically take twelve courses per academic year in order to meet RUSD graduation requirements. Full-time students have options to accelerate their courses in order to graduate in less than four years.
Q. What is the cost for RVS courses?
A. The RVS is funded through the Riverside Unified School District. For students enrolled in an RUSD school, RVS online courses are a “no cost” learning option offered through their school of attendance. Students wishing to take RVS courses to supplement their course schedule should contact our office or their school counselor and request a concurrent enrollment form. For students enrolled in other school districts, please contact your school counselor/administrator and express your desire to enroll in RVS classes. RUSD will partner with districts in California that desire to facilitate concurrent enrollment for their students in RVS courses. Parents of home-schooled students should call RVS directly for more information.
Q. What if a student needs to withdraw from a course?
A. The RVS administrative staff and instructors are available to assist students and their parent/guardian in exploring alternatives that may allow the student to successfully complete the course in lieu of withdrawing from a course in progress. If we are unsuccessful, the student's parent/guardian must process withdrawal request through the enrolling school program. Students who withdraw from a course after the end of the 5th week, receive a grade of W/F on their transcripts, as per District policy.
Q. Who can a student contact if he/she is having trouble with an online course?
A. If the trouble is related to course content, students should contact their instructor during office hours or by email. If the trouble seems to be technical, students may contact the RVS helpdesk at 951.276.2006 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Q. How do students receive their username and password for the Blackboard system?
A. Upon enrollment at RVS, each student will be assigned a unique student ID number and password. This information is distributed by the teacher at the initial face-to-face meeting for the course. Students can find support for resetting locked accounts by contacting the RVS helpdesk at 951.276.2006 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Where do students go to log into their classes?
A. Students can access their online course by logging on to http://rvs.blackboard.com. For convenience, there is a "RVS Logon" button on the top of all pages on the RVS website.
Q. Who should students contact when having trouble logging into their courses?
A. If a student cannot logon to an online course, they should contact the RVS helpdesk at 951.276.2006 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Q. How does a student order his/her textbooks?
A. RVS provides access to textbooks and ancillary materials that students will need to be successful in their courses. RUSD students will collect their textbooks from their home school at the beginning of the semester. Full-time RVS students will collect their textbooks during the orientation meeting at the beginning of the course. Early registration is strongly encouraged so that students are able to begin their classes with the appropriate textbooks and materials.