Virtual Learning Labs (VLLs)

Virtual Learning Labs provide a great opportunity to provide engaging, online curriculum to your students.

The purpose of a Virtual Learning Lab (VLL) is to provide an interactive, engaging online course solution to a South Carolina middle or high schools. Courses offered by VirtualSC are aligned to South Carolina state standards and are taught by Highly Qualified educators who are licensed by the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE). Virtual Learning Labs offer innovative learning solutions to your school, including the ability to introduce new courses, fix scheduling conflicts, and provide your students courses that may not otherwise be offered to them due to staffing issues or financial hardship.

With a VLL, students work on a virtual course in a lab setting, while a course facilitator at the school monitors students and provides classroom management. Direct instruction is provided synchronously and asynchronously by the VirtualSC teacher in addition to the virtual course.

During the VLL, VirtualSC provides both curriculum and highly-qualified, state-certified teachers, plus support and training for the course facilitators. Your school provides the facilitator (does not need to be a certified instructor), computer lab, and Internet access for students, as well as a list of courses needed and expected student enrollments. All VLLs require a minimum of 20 students; the maximum number of students will depend on the course.

The use of the Double Robot was introduced to the Virtual Learning Lab project this fall to offer a new and engaging form of live interaction between the VirtualSC teacher and the students in the classroom. Two schools are currently participating in the robot pilot:  Dacusville Middle School (Easley, SC) and Lead Academy Charter School (Greenville, SC).  Both schools are using the Virtual Learning Labs with robots to provide Keyboarding instruction to middle school students.  Throughout the course of the pilot, VirtualSC will continue to monitor the progress and compare the student success rates with Virtual Learning Labs prior to the introduction of the robot.

For more information about this exciting project, VirtualSC has created a video documenting the use of the robots at the two pilot schools (see below). 

Basic Expectations

VirtualSC will provide the following:

  • Hosted coursework, aligned with the state and national standards, with a Learning Management System (LMS), Moodle.
  • A Highly Qualified instructor licensed by the South Carolina Department of Education.
  • Synchronous instruction as needed on a schedule agreed upon by the VSC instructor and course facilitator.  Asynchronous communication within a 24 hour period.
  • One scheduled onsite visit by the VSC Instructor and an additional onsite visit(s) on an as-needed basis.
  • Registration and the requesting of courses through OpenSIS
  • Reporting and viewing of grades and contact logs through the SIS.
  • A final grade report/transcript through OpenSIS for each student who completes the course(s).
  • Online training for the course facilitator and school level administrator on OpenSIS prior to the start date of the course.

The Sponsor School will provide the following:

  • Sponsorship for the agreed-upon number of students to enroll and take the course through VSC following all program guidelines. This includes school counselor approval as required for the enrollment process and the transcription of credit for the course.
  • Assistance with the registration and enrollment of students for the course with VirtualSC through OpenSIS.
  • Parental permission for the students to participate in the course.
  • A course facilitator to monitor student progress and provide technical assistance daily.  Additional responsibilities for the course facilitator are listed below.
  • A district level administrative contact and school level administrative contact. Both of whom must be able to communicate with VSC staff on a regular basis and must have the authority to troubleshoot and make critical discretionary decisions regarding the course.
  • A venue during the first week of the course where the VSC teacher will conduct a live or virtual open house for students and parents. If an online open house is conducted, the VSC instructor will record the session for viewing at a later date in the event that someone misses it. However, the sponsor school is expected to publicize the open house and encourage student and parent attendance.
  • Satisfaction of the technology requirements for the course.  A list of these requirements will be submitted to the school along with the agreement. These requirements may include, but are not limited to the following: computers, microphones, headsets, various software programs, access to required websites, reliable Internet connection, etc. A telephone must be available in the lab classroom so that the VSC teacher and course facilitator can communicate as needed during the course. Satisfaction of these technology requirements should be verified to the VSC at least one (1) week before the course begins.
  • Funding for each section of the course for the enrollment period. Payment must be received by VSC prior to the course beginning.

To learn more about starting a VLL review the Virtual Learning Lab Guidelines below, or for more specific information about some of the unique ways VLLs can meet your needs contact the VirtualSC Franchise Coordinator, Courtney Howard, cphoward@ed.sc.gov.