Welcome to GaVS!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting the Semester

Welcome to Georgia Virtual School!

I will be your student's Oceanography teacher. The information included in this newsletter will guide your student to helpful resources as well as steps to take as they begin in this course. If you are new to the online environment, I have created a short video to give you an overview of what to expect. You can view the video by clicking on THIS LINK. If there are any questions as your student begins the course, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Taking a course online has many benefits. One benefit includes having multiple different opportunities to learn a concept. As students read through the content they can view videos, read scientific articles, do crossword puzzle reviews, and more. In addition, students have the opportunity to attend a live synchronous chat session held once a week. In these sessions, we review essential concepts, perform labs collaboratively, and play review games. If the student cannot attend, they can always listen to the recording. Online courses are rigorous, requiring student motivation and organization. It is imperative that the student print out their schedule and check off their assignments as they complete them. As the parent, you can support your student by asking them how they are doing with their assignment completion from week to week. Accountability is important for some students. In addition, students need to know to communicate with me as often as they need. If I don't hear from a student, I won't know how to help. I want each student to be successful and have a great experience in this course. I look forward to helping your student have a successful semester learning introductory concepts of oceanography.

Information Found in This Issue...

First Task: Complete the Student Orientation Course

When completing the Student Orientation Course, it is important to complete topics in order and complete all items on the checklist.

The following items are required for the completion of the Student Orientation Course (SOC):

  • students complete all sign off
  • students complete all agreement quizzes
  • students make a 100% on the final Student Orientation Quiz.

OR

  • Students may choose to opt out of the Student Orientation Course; however, students who elect to opt out of the Student Orientation Course are still responsible for all content presented in the course.

Students must finish or opt out of the SOC before gaining access to the course. Students will not gain access to the course until the first start date or one workday after the semester has begun on August 5, 2013.

Second Task: Selecting a Start Date

Students will select a start date of August 5, August 19, September 2, or September 16. Regardless of the start date, the course ends December 6, 2013. Student work is due bi-weekly on Fridays at midnight. Check course schedules for specific due dates. Work turned in after the deadline on the course schedule will be accepted within 1 week with a late penalty assessed. Late penalty begins on Saturday and is deducted at a rate of 10% of the assignment value per school day. Work submitted on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday is considered 1 day late.

Third Task: Jump into the Course & Get Working!

Set Up Your Google Account

GaVS is making a switch from D2L email (email within the course) to Google Mail. Instructional Technology has created a site to help teachers and students with the switch and integration with D2L. The site is GaVL Google Apps. Make sure to reference the section called "Google - Getting Started" in order to learn how to link your Google account with your D2L account. To learn more about how to use Google tools, reference the "Google Tools" section of the site.

Note about syncing passwords: There is a section explaining how to sync your GaVS Google apps password with your GaVS Student Information System password. Your password has to be at least 8 characters long. If your GaVS Student Password is not 8 characters long then you will need to change the password. The passwords have to be the same. If your passwords are not the same, you can watch THIS video on how to change your password.


It is imperative that you set up your Google Account right away. Using your GaVS email account is essential since it is the primary form of communication students will use with me as their instructor.


If you have any problems setting up your Google Account, please let me know as soon as possible so that I can be of assistance.


Important Information for Parents

The Parent Account gives you information about your child’s grades and progress in their course. If your child’s grade drops below a 75, you will receive an automated phone call. If your child’s grade drops below a 70, you will receive a phone call from me.


If you already have a parent account please do NOT create a new one.

1) Please check to see that your parent account is linked to your student’s account.

2) For more information click Help on the Log in page or click this link.


If you are uncertain about whether you have a parent account or not,

1) Log in to GAVS at www.gavirtualschool.org and at the Log In page type in your username and password.

2) For more information click Help at the top of the Log In page or click the following link. http://helpdesk.gavirtuallearning.org/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/List/Index/14/gavs-parent-info


*Information for parents who have NEVER created a parent account.

1) Login to our website www.gavirtualschool.org

2) Click the “Log In To GAVS” icon

3) Click “Create An Account” from the navigation bar.

4) You will need to know your child’s GTID and date of birth.

5) Please follow the directions on the screen.

6) Be sure you have linked your parent account to your student’s account.

7) For more information simply click HELP at the top of the Log In page or click the following link. http://helpdesk.gavirtuallearning.org/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/List/Index/14/gavs-parent-info

D2L Help Sessions for Students and Parents

Thursday, Aug. 22nd, 7pm

This is an online event.

Georgia Virtual School will have D2L Help Sessions for students and parents on Adobe Connect on the following dates:


Tuesday, August 20 at 11AM

Thursday, August 22 at 7PM

Tuesday, September 3 at 11AM

Thursday, September 5 at 7PM

Tuesday, September 17 at 11AM

Thursday, September 19 at 7PM


You will join by entering the meeting as a Guest. Your username is your first and last name. Here is the link to join each D2L Session:

Adobe D2L Help Classroom


The space for each session is limited. We ask everyone to join the session using only ONE computer at your home. If the session is full, the recording will be posted within the learning management system and you will have an opportunity to review the recording OR attend another upcoming meeting. The schoolwide D2L meetings are separate from individual Welcome sessions held by me. Please plan to attend the meeting with me as well. Details about the Science Course Sessions are below.

Oceanography Synchronous Sessions

I will conduct synchronous classes with students once per week Tuesday evenings. If students cannot attend a meeting, recordings will be posted on the Oceanography course homepage. This is an excellent opportunity to get questions answered concerning content as well as clarification on how to do specific assignments. These sessions are intended to be helpful and I welcome input from students as to what we should discuss. For more information on what to expect in these sessions, please click on THIS LINK.

Where Can I Go to Find Answers to Other Questions?

1. Start with the GaVS Knowledgebase, a searchable database of tutorials on the most common questions:
Click here to use the GAVS Helpdesk/Knowledgebase!

2. Look within the News Announcements or other communication from me.

3. Familiarize yourself with the Student Handbook: Click here to access the Student Handbook.

4. Feel free to contact me directly via phone, email, skype, or twitter.


A Little About Me

I love teaching science. I taught in the face-to-face classroom for 9 years before teaching online for 3 years. I attended the University of Georgia for my undergraduate degree, and then Piedmont College for my master degree.


I am married to another teacher. We have a 4 year-old daughter and 2 year-old son. We love to travel. You can watch the video below for places my family has visited recently.


I am very excited to have you in this class! My desire is to help you in whatever way I can so that you will be successful in this class. You can email me at anytime and I will get back to you within 24 hours. If you have a more immediate issue, please do not hesitate to call me and leave me a message on my phone (706-389-0144). The best time to reach me is Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. I want to be as accessible to you as I can, so do not hesitate to ask questions!

Contact Me

If you have questions or concerns, feel free to email me or call me. I look forward to a wonderful semester!