What is a flex class?

While the vast majority of Outschool classes feature scheduled, live meetings using our video classroom, we also offer the option to create flexible schedule (“flex”) classes, which don’t rely on live meetings. In a flex class format, teachers conduct the class by posting in the Outschool classroom and creating ways for learners to interact with each other and with the teacher asynchronously. Flex classes run for a minimum of four weeks.

Who can teach a flex class?

In order to be eligible to teach a flex class, a teacher must have already taught at least one live class with a positive rating.

What is required in a flex class?

Keep it in the classroom!

For learner safety reasons, all materials must be accessible to Outschool staff without a login or password, and shared in the classroom.

Here’s what to share in the classroom:

  • Pre-recorded lessons

  • Announcements

  • Assignments and deadlines

  • Additional learning materials or links to third-party tools to support interaction, such as quizzes, forums, and other interactive software

Please do not use the Start Live Meeting button in the classroom to record a solo lesson of yourself, as this will not produce a viable Zoom recording on the Recordings tab. Instead, you can use the Add a Video button by clicking the paperclip icon below Add new post. This will give you the option to record a video directly, or you can upload a pre-recorded video in another format from your device.

You may use third-party tools for Flex Classes, as long as they are in line with our policies on Third Party Tools Available for Outschool Educators to Use with Learners. You can also read more in the Educator Library about Using External Tech Tools in Your Classroom and Approved & Unapproved External Teaching Tools.

Please note that directing students from the Outschool classroom to a Learning Management System (LMS) that houses all class information is not allowed in Flex Classes. Outschool needs access to all educator-learner communication to ensure safety, plus keeping your class information within the Outschool platform helps provide a consistent user experience for families.

Develop multiple opportunities for interactivity!

Because flex classes don’t meet live, a higher degree of interactivity is required in order to sufficiently engage and support learners. Educational research shows that consistent interaction and feedback is necessary in order to create a quality learning experience. This means that we require that there are multiple opportunities for both student-to-student and student-to-educator interaction throughout the duration of the flex class. The class description needs to be clear about when and how those interactions will take place. Flex classes are an opportunity to think creatively about how to foster deep and meaningful student-to-student and student-to-educator interactions in an asynchronous learning environment.

A flex class is not entirely self-paced (where teachers essentially sell learning content to parents) nor can it be an exact replica of an existing live (multi-day/ongoing) class. Teachers should create assignments and deadlines for learners to follow throughout the course. We want to ensure that students are given a rich learning experience, and not left to learn content on their own.

Follow existing policies!

As always, be sure to follow our class content policy and all other Outschool policies when running a flex class.

You are expected to post content and/or interact with learners on a regular basis. If you do not post on the classroom or communicate with enrolled families within the first day (24 hours) of your class start date, parents are eligible for a full refund upon request.

How do teachers provide a high level of interaction even though they won’t be meeting with students face-to-face?

Classes that don’t provide a clear explanation of the multiple layers of interaction offered will not be approved. The type and frequency of these interactions should be clearly stated in the class description.

This is a great time to get creative! There are many ways to help foster engaging, interactive learning environments in flex classes between students and with the educator. Interaction should extend beyond teacher feedback on student work. Multiple layers of interaction are required in order to create a high-quality learner experience. If you’re having trouble coming up with your own interaction ideas, here are some options to consider incorporating (be sure to pick more than one!):

  • Incorporate project-based learning or collaborative learning projects

  • Lead discussions via posts in the Outschool classroom

  • Use the Outschool recording feature to give personalized feedback

  • Conduct a class analysis of a piece of art or literature

  • Have students evaluate each others’ work

  • Design a performance assessment for learners to demonstrate their learning

  • Bring in additional tools or games that foster connection and deeper learning

  • As always, feel free to create your own unique options not listed here!

Need more inspiration? Check out a few exemplars that Outschool learners love on our Sample Class Listings page!

Can flex classes make use of live meetings?

Yes, some flexible schedule classes do make use of live meetings. Some teachers arrange 'office hours' with their learners depending on need. Some classes also include optional group video chats that are arranged on a weekly basis, as opposed to being scheduled in advance. You’re welcome to include live meeting options, but note, they don’t count as a sufficient layer of interaction in order to be approved.

How do teachers handle refunds for flex classes?

Flexible schedule class refunds follow the flexible refund policy. As a result, all refunds will be prorated based on the length of the class that has occurred. By creating a flex class teachers agree to this refund policy.

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