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Class content policy

Outschool classes should be objective, secular, and age-appropriate

Updated over a week ago

Outschool classes should be unbiased, inclusive of all learners, and intentionally designed to represent diverse viewpoints fairly and accurately. This ensures that all educators, learners, and families feel welcome on our platform and can expect a positive experience in their Outschool classroom. We’ve detailed our policies for class content below, and educators should observe these guidelines when designing class curriculum and submitting listings for approval.

Outschool classes should be secular. Two topic areas where this is particularly relevant are:

  • Religion: Do not promote a specific religion or religious point of view, or share your personal religious beliefs with your learners. When teaching a class that needs to address religion, such as a history or culture class, take an unbiased approach.

  • Holidays: Classes on holidays are permitted from a secular point of view. While many holidays have their foundations in a certain religion, you should stick to secular songs, books, and activities. When submitting a holiday celebration class, we require a list of resources (songs, books, coloring sheets, etc) to review, so we can ensure they are secular in nature and do not promote any religious aspects of the holiday.

Outschool classes should be objective and accurate. All content should be:

  • Unbiased: Class content should be based on fact and evidence, and presented using an unbiased perspective, to the extent possible. Do not use classes as a soapbox for personal viewpoints. In the course of class discussion, students may raise questions about a teacher's personal viewpoints. In most cases, you should aim to deflect or redirect the question, rather than allowing your personal belief to influence students.

  • Factual: Present facts, ideas, and theories that are grounded in science, are well supported by research, and are accepted by the preponderance of experts in a field. As a best practice, include in the Sources section of the class listing where you are getting the core information for your class topic. For topics that may be considered pseudoscience or supernatural in nature (such as crystal healing, the law of attraction, astrology, ghosts or extraterrestrials), material should be based on mainstream science, culture, or history, rather than promoting these topics as scientific truth or as part of a supernatural worldview.

  • Inclusive of Multiple Perspectives: Always aim to acknowledge and present multiple perspectives in your classes. Classes that cover people, cultures, and histories require sharing multiple points of view to help students be as well-informed as possible. Click here to learn more.

  • Exclusive of Sensationalized Content: Text, images, and content should not be sensationalized. Classes should not be designed to provoke an emotional response at the expense of accuracy.

Outschool classes should be inclusive. To achieve this, consider how you will:

  • Think Globally: As a global platform, learners come from all over the world to attend classes on Outschool. Be mindful of your language and think about your content from a global perspective. See here for helpful tips on making sure your class works for a global audience.

  • Target Learner Groups: You are welcome to note the particular benefits of a class to a certain demographic, but we expect that every class will be open to any learner who is interested.

  • Be Inclusive of Gender Identity: Ensure learners of all genders and sexual identities are welcome in your classroom. Do not use exclusionary language, such as “For Girls Only,” in your listings. See here for more tips on creating a gender-inclusive class experience.

  • Represent Marginalized Voices: Wherever possible, include and uplift the voices of marginalized groups in your class content, and detail them in your Sources section. Consider the content you will use and how it can represent an educational framework built on diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, see here to learn best practices on how the language, framing, and content of your class can portray Indigenous peoples and perspectives in an inclusive and centering way.

  • Appropriately Role-Play and Debate: When creating class listings that include role-playing or debating, be sure there is time before you begin to cover any important information and lay out the parameters for the role-playing. If learners are role-playing various perspectives, they may only really internalize the one they play. Consider how you can ensure they learn numerous different perspectives and detail in your Parental Guidance (PG) statement how you will protect learners during the experience. Lastly, ensure that there is ample time set aside after the role-playing or debate to discuss any situations that arise that may need extra discussion or clarification and return to the larger context and purpose of the role-play within your class. Role-playing or debating scenarios that depict groups of people as superior or oppressing others are not permitted on Outschool.

Outschool classes should be based on your expertise. This may include:

  • Lived Experience: At Outschool, we require a teaching credential or other specialized degree only in special circumstances. This means that in most cases if you have the experience and the passion, you can teach. Lived experience is defined as your own personal identity, an event or occurrence in your life, or a personal interest or passion that you’ve dedicated substantial time to.

  • Foreign Languages: If you’re planning to teach a basic conversation class in another language, a minimum of 2 years of immersion (either via immersion coursework or by living in the host country) is an acceptable form of teacher expertise. Basic language and culture classes should also follow the guidelines on lived experience. If you’re looking to teach an advanced grammar or conversation class, we require that you are a native speaker or have a relevant degree in the language or in language education.

  • Histories/Cultures of Marginalized Groups: Marginalized groups are those who have historically been overlooked or who have faced discrimination based on factors including, but not limited to, sexual orientation, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, or disability. Outschool has higher expectations and scrutiny for evaluating these classes and the teachers who lead them to ensure accuracy and that broad generalizations are not made about any one group or culture. Lived experience can be an appropriate level of expertise in certain cases, as long as it is buttressed by expert sources. For deeper explorations of a group, we would expect to see additional training or education relevant to the topic.

  • Advanced Concepts: Classes targeted to high school-age learners can be subject to higher scrutiny, particularly if they focus on advanced discussions and concepts that would necessitate greater teacher expertise than for younger learners. When submitting a class for this age group, be sure to detail your previous experiences or proposed strategies for working with older learners. Advanced classes on core academic subjects should also showcase your deeper level of educator experience and training in the Teacher Expertise section.

  • Fitness, Exercise, or Survival Skills: 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 or expertise. Educators should also clearly explain their experience working with youth specifically in these subject areas. Additionally, we require teachers to provide extensive parental guidance information.

Outschool classes should be age-appropriate. Consider how you will present topics such as:

  • Questionable Content: Whenever your class content will be sensitive in nature -- such as by being potentially upsetting or scary to some learners or containing moderately violent or graphic imagery -- you must include a PG statement explaining to parents exactly what they can expect from your class, so they can make an informed decision about whether their learner is the right fit. Outschool uses the recommendations from Common Sense Media to inform decisions about age appropriateness. Typically, classes that use content for an age group below the recommended minimum age are still permitted since parents know their learners best, unless the class has a targeted age range that is egregiously out of sync with Common Sense Media (e.g., a class for 3-year-olds using content that Common Sense Media recommends for 16+ would be rejected).

  • Sex Education & Reproductive Health: If you are teaching a sex education class, be especially mindful of how you are representing gender identity and gender expression as distinct from learning about bodies and human biology. Be sure that LGBTQIA+ identities are represented when discussing healthy relationships, boundaries, and consent, if your class touches on those topics. Always include sources in your listing for this content area.

  • Racism, Sexism, or Bigotry: Outschool welcomes classes that shine a light on injustices against marginalized groups. We firmly believe this content is appropriate for all ages when addressed in ways that align with expert opinions. Learning for Justice and the Center for Racial Justice in Education are great sources to start with. When listing a class on these topics, always include your sources as well as a Parental Guidance statement addressing how you will handle these topics in age-appropriate ways that encourage your learners’ understanding in an inclusive and supportive manner.

Outschool classes should not provide medical or therapeutic services. Be aware of this policy when submitting classes that cover:

  • Medical Services: We do not support any 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, speech therapy, or occupational therapy. Additionally, any class that involves connecting with the non-physical body (such as targeting “energies”) crosses the line into medical services and will not be permitted on Outschool. We do not offer these classes on Outschool out of concern for learners’ safety and well-being.

  • Nutrition & Diet: Any class promoting weight loss is not allowed on Outschool. Classes teaching general information about nutrition or a type of diet (eg. “What is veganism?”) are allowed, but classes with targeted nutrition advice to learners are considered medical services and are not permitted. All class subject matter must be based on science and fact, and not promote any single cultural perspective on nutrition or diet.

  • Physical Rehabilitation: While classes offering workouts or general exercise routines are allowed on Outschool, classes that offer targeted services in physical therapy, speech therapy, or occupational therapy are not permitted. Licensed speech therapists are welcome to submit classes that give strategies for social skills and reciprocal communication (conversation skills, turn-taking, etc) because it falls under pragmatics of speech, but techniques such as addressing articulation would be considered therapeutic as it addresses a diagnosed disability or medical condition.

  • Mental Health: 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. Classes that focus on learners sharing personal experiences often fall within group therapy. 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.

  • Support Groups or Social Clubs: Social support groups, for learners with a shared experience or identity, are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with a higher degree of scrutiny for both teacher expertise and class structure, in order to ensure the class does not veer into group therapy. As a best practice, adding more structure to your class layout, and tightly controlling the topics and content of your social club, will help ensure the class content remains in line with our policies.

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