The vast majority of Outschool classes include scheduled live meetings using our video classroom. We also offer the option to create flexible schedule classes, which do not rely on live meetings. Instead, students and teachers conduct class asynchronously through the use of posts in the Outschool classroom that include pre-recorded lessons, announcements, assignments, and communication between the teacher and parent/student. Other learning tools that can be accessed through our classroom like quizzes, forums, or other activites can be used, but all materials should be accessible to Outschool staff. Simply directing students from the Outschool classroom to an LMS that houses all class information is not allowed because Outschool does not have access to those platforms and the use of numerous platforms complicates the user experience for parents. Teachers should create assignments and deadlines for students to follow throughout the course. In order to be eligible to teach a flexible schedule class, teachers must first complete at least one live class with a positive rating. Effective January 1, 2020 all major communication as listed above must be on the Outschool classroom.
Even though flexible schedule classes do not meet live, we still require these classes to maintain a high level of interactivity. It is important to note that flex classes are NOT self-paced where teachers essentially sell learning content to parents. We want to ensure that students are given a rich learning experience, and not left to learn content on their own. Student-teacher interactions should include some of the following: analysis of materials, projects, student contributions of work, or discussion between the teacher and other students. The type and frequency of these interactions should be made clear in the class description. Interaction in flexible schedule classes should extend beyond teacher feedback on student work, like comments on an assignment. Classes that do not indicate further interaction will not be accepted.
Here, we'll outline some frequently asked questions about flexible schedule classes and provide you with some tips to make yours great! Please note that you must have taught at least one section of a live class in order to list a flexible schedule class.
How do I set up a flexible schedule class on Outschool?
When selecting the number of meetings, you should select '0.' The class duration must be a minimum of 4 weeks. This will allow time for student interactions and in-depth learning. You should mention in your description that this course does not include live meetings so that it's clear to parents that there won't be a set class time as with other Outschool classes. If this class is a flexible schedule version of a class you also offer live, you should also put the keyword 'flexible schedule' in your class title. It is necessary to include specific details about how the class will be delivered, the types of assignments and how the interactions in the class will take place in order to enrich the learning experience for every student.
How do I provide a high level of interaction even though I won't be meeting students face-to-face?
Even though flexible schedule classes don't meet live, they still involve a high level of interaction. It is not sufficient to offer content and then be available for questions. This interaction can include but is not limited to discussion questions in the Outschool classroom, use of the Outschool recording feature, sharing projects that other students can learn from, or analyzing a piece of art or literature. Teachers can structure interaction by having required homework assignments or discussion questions. You can use the Classroom page, blogs, and other interactive tools like Nearpod, and so on as long as Outschool does not need to log in to the site to access the class information. The most successful flex classes will require students to interact with each other, not just the teacher. You must explicitly note in your class description how this interaction will take place.
How do I handle refunds for flex classes?
Flexible schedule class refunds follow the flexible refund policy. As a result, all refunds will be pro-rated based on the length of the class that has occurred. By creating a flex class you agree to this refund policy. Since these classes do not involve live meetings, it can be easiest to offer a pro-rated refund based on time elapsed in the course.
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.