Academic Standards

  • Courses will be taught by experienced educators certified to teach high school in South Dakota
  • Teachers will be certified in their discipline and preferably hold a master's or doctoral degree
  • Courses will be designed to meet state and national standards for the discipline
  • All DDN courses will have two-way audio/video sessions as well as internet interaction
  • Online courses will be delivered via the internet
  • A variety of teaching and assessment strategies will be employed in each course
  • Master teachers report a percent and a suggested letter grade according to the following scale:

100-90 = A

89 - 80 = B

79 - 70 = C

69 - 60 = D

Below 60 = failure

  • Second-year foreign language courses: No semester grade below a C in the first year of the foreign language
  • Third-year foreign language courses: No semester grade below a C in the first 2 years of the foreign language

Add/Drop Policy

  • There is no penalty to a district if the district decides not to receive a course for which it has preregistered.
  • If a district is signed up to receive a course, students from that district will be allowed to enroll in the class any time up to, but not past, the first two weeks of the course. We may accept students at the request of the school district.
  • If a district is signed up to receive a course, students from that district signed up for the course may drop the course. The impact of this drop on the student's high school GPA will be determined by the student's high school administrators.
  • If a student enrolls after the first day of class, but within the two-week grace period, it will be the student's responsibility to make up all missed work.

Course Records

  • Student scores will be maintained in a course management system for all graded assignments for each course.
  • Each student will be able to view his or her grades at any time by accessing the course management system.
  • Each school will be given a course management account to monitor student academic progress. Schools will not have access to records for students from other districts.
  • At the conclusion of the course, the percentage earned by the student and the suggested letter grade designated by the master teacher will be posted on the course management site for viewing by the student and the appropriate school officials.
  • A paper copy of the records will be maintained in the NSU Center for Statewide E-learning office, and the course management site will be closed.
  • The NSU Registrar's Office will maintain a long-term electronic record of the student participation and final course grades in the student information database.

Course Enrollment

  • The targeted student-to-teacher ratio is 30:1.
  • The E-learning Center reserves the right to cancel low-enrolled classes.

Signup Procedures

  • Course availability for the upcoming academic year will be announced in December.
  • Announcements will be mailed to principals and counselors of all South Dakota high schools and posted on the South Dakota Virtual School website.
  • District registrations will be accepted during a one-week registration period each March.
  • Registrations received during this period will be accepted according to South Dakota Department of Education€™s priority ratings based on districts' sparsity and size. After this period, districts will be accepted into courses on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Districts must designate an e-mentor for their district at the time of application.
  • Districts will be sent a confirmation letter verifying their acceptance into a course; until receipt of the confirmation letter, participation in the course is not assured.
  • Districts may cancel their registration at any time without penalty; however, we do encourage districts to notify our office immediately after deciding to cancel a registration, so we can accommodate others on the waiting list.
  • When courses are full, districts will be placed on a waiting list and added to courses in the event of a cancellation by another district.


Although the courses are being made available tuition-free, there are some costs the districts must absorb if they wish to participate in this program:

Educational Materials

The master teacher at NSU will select a textbook for the course. Districts receiving the course will be responsible for providing copies of the textbooks and other related educational materials for each student who is enrolled.


Each school district must assign (and cover the employment cost for) an e-mentor for the receiving classroom. The e-mentor will serve as an adult facilitator whenever the class meets, and work with the master teacher throughout the school year.

Technology Requirements

  • Scanner - Students need regular access to a scanner for submitting homework.
  • Computer - We are happy to work with schools as they provide different devices for their students. However, all features of D2L, textbook sites, and other programs may not work on some devices. Students need regular access to a computer and the internet.
  • Respondus LockDown Browser - All students will need Respondus on their machines. NSU E-learning will use the Respondus LockDown Browser to prevent digital cheating during online testing in D2L.

Technical Support

  • The school district must assume responsibility for making sure its DDN studio and computer technology are functional and available to the students when needed. If equipment is broken or not working, the problem must be reported to DDN by the school district.
  • Lab Kits: The NSU Center for Statewide E-learning will provide kits for those courses that require expensive, reusable equipment or educational materials. These kits will be loaned to districts at no cost. However, districts will be required to replace items from any kits that are lost or damaged.


Student Discipline Policy

  • Because distance education demands a maturity level and dedication beyond what is necessary under normal circumstances, good behavior, a cooperative attitude, and dedication to learning are expected of all students wishing to participate in these courses.
  • All DDN students, their parents/guardians and the school administrator will be required to sign a behavior contract for the student to participate in a course delivered by the NSU Center for Statewide E-learning.
  • Monitoring student behavior and assuring that the students adhere to the conditions of the behavior contract and the rules of the local school district are the responsibilities of the high school administrators and their on-site e-mentor.
  • The E-learning Center reserves the right to bar a student from a course if he or she violates the conditions of the behavior contract.

Daily Schedule and Annual Calendar

DDN classes will run for 50 minutes Monday through Friday. DDN classes on a four-day per week schedule will run for 55 minutes Monday through Thursday. DDN classes will operate on Central time. Students will be expected to adhere to a yearly calendar that will be established by the NSU Center for Statewide E-learning.

Academic Assistance

Each master teacher will hold at least six office hours per week when they will be accessible by phone and e-mail.

Master teachers are available for individual and group academic assistance upon request.

Academic Eligibility

All courses from the NSU Center for Statewide E-learning are designed for college-bound high school students who are in good academic standing in their high school and are willing to make a conscientious effort to successfully complete the course.

Individual courses may have prerequisites, which can be found in course syllabi.

Inclement Weather Policy

DDN classes continue unless Northern State University is closed.

Students in schools with late starts or schools that are closed should use Eclips or the class live feed to keep up with the day's class session. E-mentors are encouraged to download missed classes for students who do not have access to high-speed internet at home.

Technical Assistance

DDN network tech support - Help Line


8 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

NSU Help Desk

605-626-2283 or 1-866-693-0163 (toll free)