In 2019, the Government of Ontario announced that they were adding a new requirement for students to attain their Ontario Secondary School Diploma – 2 online courses. While this announcement quickly became buried under the Covid-19 pandemic, and all classes going virtual, there are likely many questions left unanswered.
So what does this mean for you as a student? When should you take these courses? Which courses should they be?
Which Courses Should I Do Online?
The answer to this question will heavily depend on you as a student. Have you already done a few online courses and feel comfortable with the format? Or, perhaps are you a complete online beginner, having never even considered taking an online course before?
If you are new to this type of learning, you are going to want to make the experience as easy on yourself as possible by choosing courses you are already comfortable with. If you feel overwhelmed by math, or science, or English, do not start with those! Think too about which courses are important to your future – if you know you want to go into Engineering, and so Physics 12 is one of your most critical courses, maybe don’t experiment with your first online course in this subject. So what should you do if the thought of online learning is a bit scary, or at least just very new? Think about the courses you love or feel comfortable learning independently. Grade 12 Photography is one of the courses I always suggest students consider taking as their first online, as it generally lends itself quite well to this format!
What if you are already a pro at online learning? If you are already very comfortable with online, independent learning and are confident that you can motivate yourself to stay on task and work through the material at a reasonable pace, then you will want to consider which courses you feel you could do best in independently. Perhaps you feel very comfortable with Physics, and would actually prefer to go through the material at your own pace to give yourself the best shot of a grade that will make you a shoo-in for Waterloo Engineering – then this might be a great reason to do Physics 12 online! Or maybe you know that you can be more successful in English without the pressure of in-class discussions and the quick reading pace. Then English might be a great choice for you!
When Should I Take These Online Courses?
There are two parts to this question – which grade should you do these in, and at what time of year?
For the time of year, I always tell students to give the idea of summer online courses a chance. Keeping your brain active over the summer while taking a course that you are interested in and enjoy maybe more fun than it first sounds! Taking an online course over the summer not only gives you something to focus on during your break but will lighten your load for Grades 11 and 12 and gives you a chance to focus on a particularly important course all by itself! If you know that Grade 12 English is your most critical mark for University applications, having a chance to do this course on its own over the summer may give you your best chance of getting a strong mark.
Finally, which grade should you take these courses in? This is, again, very much an individual answer. Ask yourself this – am I mature enough, and do I have enough self-control and self-motivation, to complete an online course independently? Remember, you do have access to your teacher in an online course, but without the daily face-to-face interactions, online courses are by nature more self-driven. Doing an online course in Grade 9 or 10 can be a means to giving yourself an extra elective slot, but only if you are motivated enough to keep on top of your online course. In my experience, the best time to take an online course is the summer of Grade 10 or Grade 11. In the summer of Grade 10, you can take an elective Grade 11 course to open up your timetable or prepare you for your upcoming year. In the summer after Grade 11, taking an online course can again open up your timetable, or allow you to take an extra Grade 12 course, which can be very helpful when schools are taking your top 6 average for admission!
At the end of the day, being honest with yourself is the best way to answer this question. Which courses am I best suited to do in a more independent, self-driven manner? And, am I mature enough, or would be waiting until next year to give me a better shot at being successful in the online course?
At Apex Academy Online, we are always here to answer your questions about Ontario online high school courses and help you make the best decisions for yourself!