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By Katerina Mitrou

Online high school is a great alternative to traditional high school for many students who require something different from the typical high school experience. But how exactly does online high school work?

One way to earn high school credits online is through an actual high school or school board that offers the same courses available to students attending the bricks and mortar school, in an online environment. Oftentimes, schools provide this type of alternative access to their courses for any student who requires it, for any number of reasons. For instance, a student pursuing an acting career or heavily involved in sports may need to “attend” school online. Usually completing courses through an actual high school means that you can earn all the credits you need from home – as if you were going to that school in person. You won’t have to worry about missing out on coursework or lacking certain credits necessary to finish high school and earn a diploma.

Every school administers courses differently – some make the online experience akin to attending a traditional classroom, while others emphasize independent learning over other methods. With the former, students have to show up for virtual lessons taught by teachers through the computer and Internet. Hooked up to a microphone, teachers speak directly to a group of students who are all part of the virtual class, and students respond by using a chat client. Other online learning tools, such as an online whiteboard and discussion forum, can be used to further demonstrate material. At the same time, students may also have to purchase or borrow textbooks to use in conjunction with the online lesson plans.

In addition to online lessons, students have to complete homework, assignments, tests, and exams just like in regular high school – the only difference being that homework and assignments are submitted via email, and tests and exams are taken online (although some schools arrange for exams to be taken at an actual location on a specified date, or require that a proctor supervise the exam).

The other choice – an online school that allows a student to work more independently – tends to offer more flexibility. You may not have to attend a scheduled online class, for example, but you will be expected to wade through the subject material on your own. You are given access to lessons and information, of course, but a teacher won’t necessarily be there to hold your hand every step of the way. You may not have to complete specific homework assignments by certain due dates, but you will probably have to submit assignments from time to time, take tests, and complete a final exam.

Another choice is to take courses one by one through a company that offers online high school courses. This method of earning credits means you have to be more proactive when selecting courses you need to earn a degree and get into your college of choice, but it also offers more possibilities when choosing courses because you can select subjects based on personal preference, interests, and future goals. Creating your own course selection is less restrictive and might be preferable for those who enjoy learning independently.

Of course, it’s all up to you when it comes to earning a high school degree online. The Internet has made it possible to achieve your personal academic goals, no matter what your circumstances, so take advantage of it! Choose an educational path that works best for you, and you’ll be happy with the results.

About the Author: By Katerina Mitrou sponsored by eLearning Yellow Pages provides free information on Distance learning programs. Article reproductions must link to