Online Course – Scholars

What are the science prerequisites for this course?

While physics would be beneficial for your understanding of some course content and completion of scenario-based math problems, it is not a requirement. Previous students were quite successful in the course without physics, but it does make some aspects of the course and Summer Academy easier to conceptualize.


How much time will I be spending each week on the course?

This answer truly depends on how much time you want to invest in the course. On average, past participants reported spending an average of 10 hours on the assignments that are contained within each course module. Think of these modules like units of study. You have three weeks to submit Module 1 and Module 2, and the subsequent module assignments are due every two weeks by Sunday night at 11:55 PM (EST). The more you want to read and explore links and resources provided within the course as a supplement to the basic course content, the more time you will spend on the course every two weeks.


Can I get high school credit for my participation in the course?

This truly depends on the decision of your school/division. We can provide information to your schools if they contact our office on helping you to receive high school credit. We cannot guarantee any success with this process for any individual student. Receiving college credit is more beneficial to your future college career as it shows commitment to a path of study beyond the high school transcript changes that would happen with high school credit.


Can I receive college credit for this course?

Yes, you can register to receive three college credits in Special Topics in Engineering (MEC 195) from Virginia Peninsula Community College (VPCC). It is up to the college that you attend in later as to whether they want to accept the credits. If you are invited to attend the Summer Academy, you can additionally register to receive two college credits in Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Technology (MEC 100) from VPCC.


What is the online teacher to student ratio?

There are approximately 30-35 students assigned to each Master Teacher’s group for the online course.


What software should I use to submit my assignments?

Students chosen for the program will be provided a log-in to the VASTS Online Course “Moodle” site. Through this system, students will have access to the lesson material and can submit assignments in the file formats requested in each specific assignment. The following formats are required for various assignments throughout the Online Course: Microsoft Word document (*.doc or *.docx), Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (*.xls or *.xlsx), JPEG Image (*.jpg or *.jpeg). Submissions in Adobe PDF file format are usually acceptable in place of Documents or Images, but not for spreadsheets.


How long will it take to receive feedback and grades once my work is submitted?

Master Teachers are required to provide feedback and evaluation within 7 days of the assignments being submitted. Note – if you submit work late, please do not expect that you will have the work graded within one week. Is late work accepted, or can I resubmit assignments? Late work is accepted with a grade penalty. The course requirements and syllabus detail the amount of points deducted per week. Caution: if you are more than two modules behind (that is one month!), those late assignments will not be accepted and you will receive “zeroes”.


For instance, if Module 7 assignments are due on a Sunday and you’ve only submitted assignments for Modules 1 through 3, then you MAY NOT submit module 4 assignments. However, you can still submit Modules 5 and 6 along with Module 7 assignments by the same Sunday.

You may resubmit assignments based upon the feedback you are given by the Master Teacher. You must communicate with your Master Teacher to agree on a date by which you will resubmit the assignment. After that date, if you have not resubmitted the assignment you will receive the original grade. If you did resubmit, the two grades will be averaged together for your final grade on the assignment. Grades will not be replaced.


What are the math requirements of this course?

It is suggested that students should currently be taking or have completed Algebra II/Trig at minimum.


When are my on-line assignments due?

Assignments should be turned in (in sequential order) as you complete them. Assignments within each module are due every two weeks by the designated Sunday by 11:55 PM (EST). The first module is due December 17, 2023. The module due dates are under Important Dates. Students who do not successfully complete all assignments will not be invited to participate in the Summer Academy. Your assignments and final project will be graded by Master Teachers who will send you their evaluation and comments via e-mail through the content management system, Moodle.


What is the withdraw/drop policy for the VASTS course?

You may request to be dropped from the course by contacting Ian Cawthray in writing ( You will be withdrawn from the course if you have not submitted work for two consecutive modules and/or you have not logged in to the website in over 28 days, unless you have prior approval from the VASTS Program Manager and the online Master Teacher.

If you have registered for VPCC credit and drop the course by choice or due to inactivity after the VPCC Withdraw Deadline of January 10, 2024, your grade will be calculated based on submitted and missed assignments and submitted to VPCC at the conclusion of the course. This may result in a grade of “F” on your VPCC transcript.