Outschool classes are interactive

Outschool supports many kinds of online class. The defining feature is that all Outschool classes are interactive, including significant communication between learner and teacher (and ideally between learners as well).  

Live online and flexible schedule

Classes usually include live meetings that occur using video chat. We call these live online classes. Some classes don't meet live, and instead just use asynchronous communication like email and discussion boards. We call these flexible schedule classes. Many families appreciate the flexibility of these classes.  These classes are still required to have a significant amount of interaction. Learn more.

More than the live meeting

For classes that meet live, the class is more than just the live meeting.  In most cases teachers should provide guidance on activities to complete before and after live meetings.  Teachers in many traditional schools are adopting the flipped classroom model, where students prepare for class by watching a lecture or reading an article independently, and class time is focused on activities that deepen comprehension.

Video chats are more productive when learners have already spent some preparing - for example by watching a video or reading an article.  Whether it's a one-time class or a semester course, you should plan on providing guidance to your learners about what to do before and after the live meetings to make the most of the class.

Length of Classes

You may list classes that meet just once, or that last several months.  We recommend offering both short introductory courses, and longer ones.  Short courses that meet 1-4 times, usually over 1-4 weeks, are a great way for parents to explore new topics and leaders.  Longer form courses running two or three months let learners go deeper and explore a topic over time.  We define a semester course as one that lasts 8 or more weeks; a short course runs 2-7 weeks. We recommend four months as a maximum length of course. 

Outschool communication tools

Outschool offers two main tools for online classes:

  • Integrated video chat using Zoom
  • Outschool Classroom for class announcements and discussions.

Our integration with Zoom makes video chat super simple - both teachers and learners just click a button to join.  Learn more about teaching with Zoom.

The Outschool Classroom allows you to communicate with the learners for your class by posting, commenting and uploading attachments. You and the learners are notified about new activity in the classroom via email. In addition, the classroom provides a link to join video chats in zoom.

Other tools for learning

Teachers are welcome to use any additional online tools to help run their classes.  We plan on integrating with more third party learning tools.  So if there are tools you like to use, we'd love to hear about them!

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