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Student Guide

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Is Online Learning Right for Me?

 
Are you self-directed and motivated?
Most of online learning happens on your schedule. You'll need to be self-directed and motivated to complete activities on schedule and initiate the communication required to be successful.
 
Are your technical skills adequate?
Along with having access to a computer and not being overwhelmed by typing, online learners should be comfortable with Internet searching, email, sending and reading attachments, word processing, and sometimes downloading and installing software plug-ins (a normally simple but sometimes intimidating task).
 
Do you have strong reading skills?
Reading can play a large part in any class, and especially online. The ability to read and comprehend subject matter without it being a chore is critical to your success.
 
Does written communication come easily for you?
In most cases writing is the primary method of communication in online classes, so you should be at ease with writing to express your thoughts, share ideas, and ask questions.
 
Will you ask questions when you need to?
If you typically don't hesitate to seek help when you need it you'll do fine. Since you'll be in an online environment it's important to let your instructor and classmates know when you need help. Remember that they won't be able to see your looks of doubt, confusion, or other body language to tell when things aren't going well.
 
Will you miss the social interaction?
Interaction with instructors and classmates in online learning is often an integral part of the learning experience. Absent is the in-person contact - being able to see facial expressions, hear reactions, and speak.
 
Do you have the discipline to study regularly?
Like a traditional school setting you'll need to set aside adequate time for study. You may discover that you need to be online frequently to complete assignments or communicate with classmates and instructors. You can plan to spend at least as much time working assignments and studying as you would with a traditional course, and you'll be setting your own pace in many instances.
 

Student Timeline
 

First Week of Class
  1. Log in to your class and familiarize yourself with course and all required dates.
  2. If you have any technical problems, contact your iSchool teacher and iSchool Administration.
  3. Introduce yourself to your teacher. 

During the Course
  1. Visit class site daily to view new messages.
  2. Keep accurate time logs and submit at end of each week.
  3. Manage your time. 5 to 7 hours per course per week is recommended for successful completion.
  4. Take self-tests and quizzes.
  5. Check your grades.
  6. Stay in contact with your teacher. 

End of Class
  1. Turn in any due projects or assignments.
  2. Take final exam or tests in-person.
  3. Check your grades.        
  4. Complete the surveys.


Computer Requirements
 
System Requirements (minimum requirements):

Hardware:
  • 500 MHz processor speed
  • 512 MB Ram
  • 10 GB of free HDD space
  • Audio Sound Capability with Speakers

Operating System, one of the following:
  • Windows Vista, XP, 2000
  • Macintosh OS X 10.4.6

Browser, one of the following:
  • Internet Explorer 7.0
  • Firefox 3.5.2
  • Safari 3

Connectivity Requirements
  • Internet Connection (Cable or DSL connection preferred)

Security Needs
Downloads, Software and Plugins (minimum requirements):
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 8.0
  • Media Player, one of the following:
    • QuickTime 7.0
    • Real Player 9.0
    • Windows Media Player 9
  • Java version 6
  • Adobe Flash and Shockwave   http://www.adobe.com/downloads/ 
  • Microsoft Office, Google Docs, or Open Office (free download)

Cautions and Recommendations:
  • Update your virus protection program regularly.
  • Find free virus and spyware scans at  www.antivirus.com
  • Students are responsible for the operation of the computer used at home.  A malfunctioning computer is not a valid reason for submitting late assignments. 
 

Code of Conduct
 
Access to iSchool is provided to students who agree to act in a considerate and responsible manner.  Access is a privilege, not a right, and entails responsibility.  Students are responsible for appropriate behavior/communication just as they are in classrooms or school buildings.
 
Students enrolled in iSchool  agree to abide by all rules listed in the Dysart Unified School District Electronic Information Service User Agreement.
Failure to abide by these rules may result in loss of credit and revoked access to iSchool.  When applicable, law enforcement agencies will be involved.

All students should read and understand the significance of the following guidelines and expectations:
  • Be courteous and professional in digital communications and discussions.
    • Anonymous messages and posts are not permitted.
  • Be accountable for personal information such as password and contact information.
    • Do not share these with others or post personal information.
  • Commit to academic integrity for all submitted work.
    • All work should be original and completed without direct help.
    • You will not practice plagiarism in any form.  Plagiarism is defined as follows: copying or using ideas or words (from another person, an online classmate, or an Internet or printed source. An act of plagiarism may result in a failing assignment grade, loss of credit and removal from iSchool.
  • Comply with copyright laws and fair use guidelines.  All material in the courses is copyrighted and provided for use exclusively by enrolled students.
    • Enrolled students may use printed material for personal study.
    • It is prohibited to use or distribute these materials to others without permission.
  • Practice self-motivation and self-direction within your courses.
    • Anticipate spending a minimum of 5-7hours a week on your class.  (Double during Summer session.)
    • Use good time management.
    • Complete assignments to the best of your ability and turn them in on time.
  • Become familiar with and follow all course policies, including but not limited to: 
    • Course syllabus
    • Messages
    • Discussions
    • Assignments
    • Getting technical help
    • Student Code of Conduct
 

Contact Information
 
Guidance Counselor
Each school has guidance counselors. The counselor helps register students and provides support at the school level.
 
Teacher
Contact information for teachers can be found in each course.
The teacher can help with the following:    
         
  • Answer course content questions
  • Reset tests and quizzes
  • Answer basic questions

iSchool
If you have questions regarding the iSchool program or need technical assistance, please contact us at 623-876-7872 or iSchool@dysart.org.
 

Online Communication
 
Ways to Communicate
iSchool students have many ways of communicating with teachers and fellow students:
  • Messaging through class tool
  • Dysart Dmail Account
  • Discussion Forums
  • Web 2.0 Tools
  • Phone call 

Messages
Email will be the main way of communication in the class as well as the announcement or comment features in the course platform.  This will be the student’s primary means of communication with the teacher.  
  • Your Teacher will be able to support
    • Difficulty in understanding course content
    • Graded assignment feedback
    • Private issues appropriate for discussion
  • Your teacher will not answer messages which:
    • Lacks a subject line clearly stating the purpose of the message
    • Raises an inappropriate subject
    • Questions that could be answered in the course information section
  • Your teacher will answer messages received no later than close of work on the next workday. 

Please remember to check your messages every day to assure you receive updated course information.
 
 
Dysart Dmail Account
Students are required to have an active school provided email account.  If the iSchool website is down or if the student’s password does not work, the student can use his or her school email to contact the teacher and/or iSchool administration.

Discussion Forums
The term “discussion” is used to denote both chats and forums.
  • The teacher will not participate in a discussion prior to the discussion date.
  • Students may be graded on discussion postings.  Points are earned on quality of responses and required number of postings as specified in individual assignment.
  • Students are expected to keep focused on the specific topic of the discussion assigned. Irrelevant subject matter is not permitted and violators may be asked to leave.
  • All students have a right to express their own opinions in discussions, and all students must respect this right.  Any student posting a disrespectful comment will be asked to leave the discussion.
  • “Flaming” is posting insulting or abusive messages.  Any student who engages in flaming in a discussion may be required to leave the class.
  • Controlling behavior is not permitted.  Controlling behavior includes, but is not limited to, exhibiting an inappropriate or argumentative attitude, intentionally changing the discussion topic, attempts to dominate a discussion by posting excessive threads. Violators will be asked to leave the discussion.
  • A private e-mail will be sent to students required to leave a discussion. 

Web 2.0 Tools
Teachers will use various Web 2.0 tools in their classes. The same policies above apply to Web 2.0 tools.
 
Phone Call
Students and teacher may converse at times through arranged phone calls.
 

Class Characteristics
 
Lessons and Assignments
All Credit Recovery classes are competency based.  Students will take a pre-assessment at the beginning of each unit, and the pre-assessment will help teachers to determine which assignments from that unit are required for the student to complete.  A high score on the pre-assessment will allow the student to skip most or all of the assignments in the unit.  

Once a student masters a unit of learning, the student will move on to the next unit. If a student does not master a unit of learning the student will remediate the concepts and/or be given other assignments that assess the material in a different way by his or her teacher.

Communication and Final Grades
Students will have weekly contact with their teacher in a synchronous/asynchronous environment.   Once all units of the course are mastered, iSchool will notify the school of the student’s completion of the class and the final grade earned for the class.
 

 Class Specifics
 
Orientation
Students will complete an online orientation module as their first task in the class.  You must complete all of the assignments in the orientation before beginning your regular class.  The orientation is to help familiarize you with the system and give you examples of where to find certain information.
 
Textbooks
iSchool classes use online textbooks. Your teacher will provide you with a username and password to access the online textbook. The information will be found within the first couple of assignments of your class. Please look around the class site and if you can’t find it please message your teacher or call the iSchool office. The online textbook will run faster if you open up a new browser window and go directly to the book website instead of using the link in your class.                                                                                                    
 
Time Logs
During fall and spring semesters you should plan to work a minimum of 5-7 hours per week, per class, that you are taking.
 
iSchool requires you to keep a weekly time log of hours spent working on your class. This includes time spent logged in working, as well as time spent on research, reading assignments, writing papers, working out (if in a P.E. Class) and studying for tests. Time logs must be submitted EACH WEEK to maintain enrollment. The link to the time log website will be available in your iSchool class.  Parents will need to verify your time. Failure to keep current on your time logs could result in denied access to your class.
 
Final Exams
Final exams will take place in person. Your class grade is a combination of your class work grade and your PASSING final exam score. In order to receive credit for an iSchool class, students must pass the final exam with a 65% or better grade.  Students who fail the final exam (less than 65%) will receive a failing grade, regardless of their current cumulative class grade, however, have the option of repeating the class.
 

Online Assignments
 
  • Students will submit all assignments electronically through the class site. The use of your Dysart Google drive is recommended.
  • If there are technical problems with the class site, assignments could be faxed or sent by e-mail to your teacher.  The subject line of the e-mail should include proper information such as assignment name, course name and any other important details.
  • The course software standards for submission of assignments are Microsoft Office, Google Docs, or Open Office.
  • When technical problems arise and you cannot submit your assignments electronically, you must contact your teacher to explain the situation.  If you cannot use messaging or e-mail; call your teacher to explain.  If you reach voice-mail, leave a message explaining your situation and how you can be reached.
  • Your teacher will review assignments within 48 hours of the due date and will send you feedback, either by message or through comments posted on an assignment returned electronically through the class site.
  • Grades will be posted in the grade book within 48 hours of the due date of the assignment.  You can refer to the grade book in the class site.
  • Make an appointment with your teacher if you need to discuss your grade or feedback on an assignment.  
  • Students are responsible for keeping a copy of all graded assignments.
  • Students must keep virus detection software up to date.  Assignment files must be free of viruses before submitting them.  Failure to adhere to this requirement will cause an assignment to be unacceptable. 
 

Grades
 
Online Grade Book
During the semester, grades will be posted to the online grade book in each class so that students can check their current grades regularly. If students do not see their grades posted to the grade book, the teacher should be notified.
 
Class grades will be based primarily on assignment, projects, quizzes, tests and final exams.  Grades will be reported to the student’s local school at the close of semester.
 
Final Exams
To receive credit for an iSchool class, students must pass the final exam with a 65% or better, regardless of their current cumulative class grade.  Students who fail the final exam (less than 65%) will receive a failing grade, but have the option of repeating the class. Final exams are taken in person at a designated testing site.

Dropping a Class

Adding a class (registering), or dropping a class (canceling registration) must be done through the iSchool administration office.  A student may add a class at any time during the Open Registration Period by following the registration procedures.  The following conditions apply to dropping a class:
 
  • Drop within 10 days of enrollment:  the class is canceled and no grade will be reported to the student’s local school.
  • Any student (regular or (H), (AP), (IB)) who withdraws from a class after the 10 days of the semester, but before the end of the 15th week will receive a grade of WP or WF. Requests for class withdrawals will not be processed after the 15th week of the semester.
  • Emergencies:  Students who drop after the 10th day due to serious illness may be considered for drop without a grade report.  This will be determined on a case by case basis.
  • Misconduct:  A student who engages in inappropriate behavior will be dropped.  A current grade percentage and behavior referral will be reported to the local school.
  • Lack of Progress:  A student who does not maintain class activity for a period of 10 days will be dropped.  Each class must be completed by the time limits set or the student will be dropped. A grade percentage and participation report will be forwarded to the local school.