Outschool classes should be objective, secular, and age-appropriate. We have adopted this policy so that Outschool classes can be relevant to the widest audience, and so parents can participate in any Outschool class knowing they will not be subjected to a teacher's personal religious or political beliefs, or other objectionable content. We limit classes in certain sensitive areas that are detailed further below.
Classes should be secular:
- Do not promote a specific religion or religious point of view.
- Present facts, ideas, and theories that are grounded in science and accepted by the preponderance of experts in a field.
Of course, many classes need to address religion - for example, you can't teach history without talking about religion. It's critical to teach about religion, but to not promote or advocate a particular religious worldview.
Classes should be objective and accurate:
- Be based on fact and evidence
- Present classes using an unbiased perspective, to the extent possible.
- Acknowledge and present multiple viewpoints that exist on many social, political, and historical issues.
- Do not use classes as a soapbox for personal viewpoint
- Text, images and content should not be sensationalized. Classes should not be designed to provoke an emotional response at the expense of accuracy
In the course of class discussion, students may raise questions about a teacher's personal viewpoints. In most cases you should aim to deflect the question, rather than allowing your personal belief to influence students.
Classes should be age-appropriate:
- Material that may be disturbing to young children should be highlighted in the class description
- Material that may be objectionable to parents should be made clear - for example, topics are violent or sexual in nature, or that touch on sensitive political questions
In addition, Outschool classes may not promote discrimination, hate speech, or violence. Outschool welcomes learners, families, and teachers across all pillars of diversity; this includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, and gender identity.
Teachers and classes that do not abide by these standards will be removed from Outschool.
Classes should have unique content:
It’s your responsibility as a teacher to ensure that you have permission to use any text, images, or videos included in your class description or used while teaching the class. We have a policy for receiving and acting upon copyright complaints. It’s not OK to use text or images that you don’t have permission to use; teachers in violation of this principle may be removed from the platform.
While some content is protected by copyright, Outschool does not provide any teacher a monopoly on any particular topic. In fact, we think it’s valuable to have multiple teachers offering the same topic, because each teacher has their own approach and schedule availability. Though no one single topic can be monopolized by a teacher, we do expect that the language of all class descriptions be unique. We understand that there are many teaching resources available to educators that are similar, but even with similar material and topics being covered, each class should be unique to that teacher.
If you believe someone is using your proprietary content, please bring your complaint to Outschool. You will need to demonstrate that the content is uniquely yours and cannot be found elsewhere.
Sensitive or higher-risk topics
There are classes that are not allowed on the platform, or are subject to higher scrutiny, because of their sensitive or potentially controversial nature.
For these topic areas we require the teacher to have training and/or experience teaching the topic to young learners.
- Mental health and wellness
- Physical health, medicine, nutrition, and drugs
- Sex education
- Experiences of marginalized groups
We have additional requirements for the following types of classes.
We do not support classes that provide medical training or medical services. This includes, but is not limited to, first aid, CPR, therapy, counseling, psychiatric evaluations, or evaluations for special education services. We do not offer these classes on Outschool out of concern for learners’ safety and well-being. We recognize that many classes can touch on these subjects, so we have provided some clarifying examples below:
- Classes offering workouts or exercise routines are allowed, but classes offering physical therapy are considered medical services.
- Classes teaching general information about nutrition are allowed, but classes offering a personalized diet recommendations or targeted nutrition advice to learners are considered medical services.
- Classes offering information about mental health or non-medical symptom management strategies are allowed, but classes offering individual or group therapy targeted towards learners with diagnosed medical conditions, trauma, or grief are considered a medical service. For example, classes offering techniques to handle day-to-day stress or anxiety are allowed, but classes offering therapeutic support specifically for learners suffering from chronic anxiety or anxiety disorders would be a medical service. Social support groups, such as for military children or learners with other shared experience, are not usually considered a medical service but will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as a sensitive/experts only topic.
Classes that present a higher risk for potential safety hazards will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Examples include, but are not limited to, classes on swimming, driving, or wilderness survival techniques. For classes that are appropriate for the platform, we will require teachers to have a high level of professional training, expertise, or experience working with youth in the subject. Additionally, we require teachers to provide extensive parental guidance information.
Pseudoscience and supernatural topics
For topics that may be considered pseudoscience or supernatural in nature, material should be presented from a scientific and secular perspective.
Pseudoscience, supernatural, or paranormal topics can include any topics that are not agreed upon by a preponderance of experts, explanations for phenomena that are not well supported by research, or any topics that have their basis in folklore or superstition, but are not supported by the scientific community. Example topics can include - but are not limited to - essential oil treatments, crystal healing, the law of attraction, ghosts, astrology, fortune-telling, or extraterrestrial beings.
Topics in these categories generally have a basis in history, culture, or speculation. As such, they should not be presented as fact, but rather explored from a cultural or historical perspective. Descriptions should make clear that the approach is based on mainstream science, culture, or history, rather than promoting these topics as scientific truth or as part of a supernatural worldview.
If you have any questions about a topic you would like to teach, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to help.