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Review of: Ontario Virtual School

Amrit Sandhu - Alumnus    (Jan 16, 2019)

Overall Experience

My experience at OVS was relatively great. The flexibility with how students could learn the course content whenever they pleased was a feature that I found greatly beneficial. Being in complete control of your own learning would offer intrinsic motivation for students and as a result, they would be more motivated to learn the content better. The only thing about OVS that I would change is to increase the number of practice problems available, so students could be better prepared for the individual tests. OVS did indeed prepare me for my life's next steps, I'm still using the knowledge I gained from the course within my university courses. Students should expect to receive a mark that reflects the amount effort they put within the course. People have the wrong perception about online schools, they are in no way easier than classes in school, its the same curriculum and content, so a future student should take it seriously.


School Leadership

The attitude of my peers and I towards the administration was very respectful and friendly, we treated them the same way we would treat a teacher from a residential school. In return, they respected us the same way and always ensured that we would remain on task by sending out weekly e-mails to ask about how we were progressing throughout the course. Whenever problems would arise such as not being able to access content or the textbook, the instructor would respond very quickly to provide possible solutions.


Teaching

I was happy with the quality of instruction that I received during my time with OVS, the instructors were indeed knowledgeable about the courses they were teaching in. For example, whenever you were stuck with a problem set, they were able to provide valuable feedback without directly giving you the answer. The same would apply for the tests, when marked and if you wanted feedback, you were given an in-depth explanation of your errors and tips for next time. The dynamic between teachers and students was a mix of formality and informality, they were treated as professionals but with a friendly attitude. The instructors did challenge students to do their best, the tests were constructed in a way to thoroughly test knowledge and application about the contents on the course. In doing so, they ensured that the knowledge we gained from the course would be applicable to us in the future.


Academics

The schools greatest strength is the flexibility it provides for students. The students for the course I was taking, Advanced Functions, had to complete two tests to get their midterm mark and four test for their final mark. The student was given the flexibility to schedule in a test whenever they wanted. In doing so they would schedule it so that they were very well prepared for the respective test. This allowed for two things to be accomplished. The first being students were able to achieve better marks due to being very well prepped before writing the test and secondly, it increased the satisfaction of students.


Extracurriculars

At Ontario Virtual School there were no extracurricular programs that I knew about during my enrollment. I do not remember if extracurricular programs were even offered at the time of my enrollment and I was relatively busy at the time with school, part-time job, and other extracurricular activities to even inquire about extracurricular programs that were offered. It was an online course and so extracurricular programs do not technically make sense unless they were about extra help with course material.


Students

As Ontario Virtual School is an online school I cannot provide the parameters about the whole student body since I did not necessarily interact with students. However, I did interact with students in this course and different courses that I knew from places other than OVS. When considering only that group of individuals the ethnic background was mainly Indian and African American. They would hold values of respect towards their fellow instructors and peers. Students interacted mainly through online channels such as Facebook and the conversations would involve peers asking others about certain problem sets that they could not complete in order to get help. Peers would then help each other out if they could and if not the instructor was only an e-mail away.


School Life

The overall quality of student life at Ontario Virtual School is exceptionally well because the student is in control of almost everything. From most of my interactions with other students, the general consensus was that a majority of them were happy that they were enrolled at OVS. Similarly, students were rather passionate about learning because everything was dependent upon them, they had to learn the content themselves and schedule their own tests. They were given the proper materials to study from and follow so that they could learn. This would entice them to learn whenever they were free because it was a different learning experience than regular school while being much more organized. In addition, the students were not overwhelmed with stress because during the onsets of stress (i.e busy schedules and build up of due dates) students would simply postpone their learning until their schedule freed up.


Community

Parents are indeed welcome to be involved in the life of the school as well. They are encouraged to stay in contact with the instructor to be kept up to date with the progress of their child (student) that is enrolled within a course. The communication channel would be e-mail and they would be encouraged to send questions regarding possible places for improvements and what tasks should be done for that week. This is great because in regular schools, parents and teachers only interact once a year due to parent-teacher interview night, but OVS allows for constant interactions between both parties which is greatly appreciated. I have kept up with certain individuals from Ontario Virtual School, we talk almost constantly, at least once a day and meet up for social events at least once every two weeks.


School Location

There were no actual school grounds and so school location does not exist because everything takes place online. This has its advantages and disadvantages. Advantages being that all learning can take place from the comfort of your home and this way the parent knows what is going on with their child and can keep and eye on them. Disadvantages include the lack of interactions between peers.


Admissions

The admission process is actually quite simple, everything is laid out step-by-step on their website and the payment process is also very easy. It was not at all stressful and Farhez will personally take it upon himself to help you throughout the whole process. The only thing you'll be stressed out about is whether or not you should take another course because of how simple the admission process is. Some advice I can give to people planning on admission is to just be yourself.


University placement and counselling

I felt that I was supported 100%, after completion of the course (i.e when all your marks are finalized and possible errors are realized) the instructor takes it upon themselves to submit marks to OUAC and then forward them to possible universities you are applying to. This is an extremely important step because if universities do not receive your marks, then the calculated average they have is incomplete and your acceptance depends on this heavily. This has happened to friends of mine with different schools, they found out one of their marks were not submitted when they called a university to ask why they were not accepted while they had a very good average. It turned out to be that they did not receive that mark and so the university took the next best mark which brought their average down. They sorted it out and eventually got accepted. Going with OVS you would not have to deal with this problem because they take it upon themselves to submit these marks.


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