By Hayley Crandall
The Literary Services of Wisconsin will be offering online courses for Wisconsin’s High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the first time, HSED courses will be held entirely online as opposed to the more “hybrid” layout they typically have, according to Literary Services of Wisconsin Executive Director Holly McCoy.
“Traditionally we have always done some form of blended learning intertwining face-to-face and technology,” said McCoy.
“However, summer will be our first time entirely online, but we definitely know what we are doing and working to make it better for our students.”
Classes are set up within G-Suite, a Google-ran service utilizing business management through their various programs. The set-up is a mix of working on your own while also providing one-on-one support through video chats, not much unlike what they normally offer for in-person classes, according to McCoy.
The program does come with set times when students must attend virtual classes, but that is dependent on teachers and enrollment.
Normally about 20 people is the limit per classes for in-person classes, but with the promise of strictly online, Literary Services of Wisconsin is preparing for many more students this summer.
“We are kind of gearing up to have a larger class this summer. We’re taking enrollments as they come,” said McCoy. “Our kind of virtual model right now is ‘the sky is the limit’ as most of the staff is committing to this program.”
The HSED serves as an alternative to the general education development test (GED) for Wisconsin residents.
Unlike the GED, 5.09 HSED does not base a students’ knowledge off of a standardized test. Instead, earning their diploma is focused around competency, effort and attendance. For example, tests may be replaced by essays or presentations, according to McCoy.
This structure helps students who may have problems with taking tests or have had issues with the standard GED in the past.
“Many of our students have test anxiety and our program really walks them through every step of the way,” said McCoy. “As long as they have good attendance, do all their work, and meet the competencies they get their diploma as opposed to a test. With a test you could take it 10 times and fail so this is a sure thing.”
Requirements for taking the HSED courses include:
• 18.5 years of age or older
• Wisconsin resident
• Difficulty taking GED
• TABE 11/12 score of NRS 3 or higher
• Strong computer skills
Enrollment is open on the Literary Services of Wisconsin’s website until May 22. Courses run from June 1 to Sept. 3.