Frequently Asked Questions
A. About TEL Library
1. Who is TEL?
TEL is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to providing affordable learning to anyone, anywhere.
TEL Library is a division of the TEL Foundation, a public charity headquartered in Oklahoma.
2. What is the history of TEL?
TEL’s origins lie in the founding of EdBooks by Vance H. Fried in 2015. EdBooks published a pilot version of a mediabook in spring 2016. In June 2016 EdBooks Economics LLC was created as a joint venture between EdBooks and the TEL Foundation to publish content for full mediabooks in introductory micro and macroeconomics. In November 2016, Rob Reynolds joined EdBooks as CEO. In spring 2017 EdBooks developed the Stackable Lessons™ concept and began work on a full catalog of general education content. Effective July 1, 2017, the general education publishing activities of EdBooks were merged into EdBooks Economics to create TEL.
During fall 2017 and the first half of 2018, TEL finalized its delivery platform, rounded out its management team, and developed content for its first course areas. subjects. In May, TEL officially launched its free Learning Library and, in August, began offering its first course for college credit through a partnership with Excelsior College.
3. What products and services does TEL provide?
TEL Library assembles its Stackable Lessons™ into the following product containers.
- Free Reference Lessons — These are free, stand-alone lessons that can be viewed by the general public for personal enrichment. Patrons can earn badges by viewing collections of free reference lessons.
- Courses — TEL’s self-paced, online courses for certificate or college credit contain subject-specific lessons organized into modules, module-specific introductions, module assignments and quizzes, and exams. All course content and assessments are mapped to learning outcomes.
- Certificate Courses — Certificate courses contain subject-specific lessons organized into modules, with module-specific introductions and module quizzes.
- College-Credit Courses (in partnership with Excelsior College) — College credit courses contain subject-specific lessons organized into modules, with module-specific introductions, module evidence assignments, module quizzes, and two proctored exams.
In addition, TEL offers a variety of Curriculum Customization and Curriculum Management services to institutions that license our curriculum. These services include:
- Curriculum Customization — TEL will work with institutions to customize courses to fit the institution’s specific needs. Customization options include reordering lessons within a course, recombining lessons from different courses, adding institutional or instructor content or lessons, and integrating TEL curriculum into flipped courses and institutional learning management systems.
- LMS Integration, E-commerce, and Curriculum Branding for Schools and Institutions — TEL can provide e-commerce for institutions and integrate our learning platform with institutional learning management systems to provide students with a single hub for their university courses. In addition, we can brand courses with institutional logos and information.
- Course Administration and Reporting — TEL provides administration and reporting services such as (1) student advising for course selection and enrollment, (2) course enrollment and roster management, (3) course announcements and facilitation, (4) course monitoring, (5) progress and grade reporting, (6) course archiving.
- Instructional Services — TEL offers instructional services including (1) instructor office hours to answer student questions, (2) instructor feedback on quizzes and short writing assignments, (3) manual grading for essays or other assignments in composition and language courses.
4. What markets does TEL serve?
TEL Library targets five primary markets with its products.
- Life Learning — Adult learners seeking additional learning for personal enrichment or self improvement
- Homeschool — Parents looking for curriculum and dual-enrollment solutions for their high school students
- High School — Private, charter, and public schools in need of dual-enrollment credit courses or looking to transition to an Early College High School curriculum
- Higher Education — Institutions and departments looking for affordable curriculum alternatives, self-paced online courses for general education, or branded and managed Early College High School programs for high schools in their region
- Workforce Readiness — Adults with a high school degree or GED equivalent, looking to “level up” into higher paying jobs. Correctional centers, rehabilitation centers, vocational training centers, and government training centers.
5. What is your product/market matrix?
TEL offers multiple products in all of its target markets.
|TEL Markets||TEL Products|
|Free Reference Lessons|
|College-Credit Courses (OPM)|
|College-Credit Courses (Basic License)|
|College-Credit Courses (OPM)|
6. How is TEL different from the major textbook publishers?
Technology focused on content → Integrated Curriculum, Stackable Lessons, Learning Design — Flexibility, High Quality, Affordability
The biggest difference between TEL and major publishers is that TEL’s content features superior content and learning design. Major publishers continue to develop their content as non-flexible, static information designed primarily for print. Later, they convert, or retrofit, this content into a mediabook format, with video and other digital elements as an afterthought. In addition, major publishers develop all of their products around title/author silos, which means content cannot be shared or reused across the broader curriculum. In contrast, all TEL content is designed from the ground up for maximum flexibility and as part of an integrated curriculum. TEL uses a unique, Stackable Lessons™ content model. Stackable Lessons™ are self-contained learning experiences that can be “re-stacked,” or customized in any order or combination across the curriculum without sacrificing learning coherence. EdBooks’ Stackable Lessons™ are created using a “digital-first” blueprint, which incorporates media and other digital components as an integral part of the original learning design.
7. How does TEL define affordability?
From a mission perspective, TEL is committed to making values-friendly education universally available at affordable prices, with affordability defined as the price someone in a specific market can pay for our products with minimal assistance and without incurring debt.
Also see “Affordability in Education Matters”
8. How can TEL become sustainable while offering its content at such low prices?
TEL is committed to creating a sustainable, scalable business model for affordable learning. We are able to reach this goal, even while offering our content at extremely low prices because we do not use the traditional print textbook publishing model. TEL maintains low product costs through tightly managed publishing and content design processes, an innovative technology platform design that reduces technology costs significantly, and an organizational structure and training program that reduces the need for employee specialization and higher salaries. We keep variable costs low through digital delivery.
Also see “Designing the $10 Textbook”
9. What is TEL’s plan for low-income markets?
TEL’s initial pricing is designed for students living in the U.S. While our content products are highly affordable within that geographical context, they will certainly be priced too high for students in other parts of the world. As TEL continues to develop, our goal is to make TEL content and courses available at significantly reduced prices to students in developing countries.
10. What is the workforce development market, and how is TEL approaching it?
Analyzing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Skills Coalition determined that 53% of the U.S. labor market in 2015 was comprised of middle-skill jobs, but that only 43% of the country’s workers possessed the needed skills to fill them. The skill gap is set to widen as 63% of U.S. jobs in 2018 will require education between a high school diploma and bachelor’s degree, and these middle-skill jobs will comprise 48% percent of all job openings through 2024.1
Meanwhile, the gap between demand for middle-skills employees and the number of adults in the U.S. who have sufficient education and literacy skills to fill these positions is widening. Many graduating high school or earning GED certificates still lack the skills and literacies required to pursue additional higher education or pursue middle-skills job opportunities. In addition, undereducated adults already in the workforce struggle to find or afford programs that will help them move up.
OECD’s Survey of Adult skills from 2013 determined that 36 million US adults have low skills, categorized by scoring below a level 2 on a 5 level scale. It is estimated that more than 10 million of these adults already have high school diplomas.
Current approaches to workforce readiness focus on basic skills development and professional certificate programs. These programs are seeing only limited success, however, as they do not help adults develop soft skills and are not affordable and flexible enough to reach many segments of the market.
TEL is developing a unique, Career Foundations curriculum designed specifically to ready low-skill adults for middle-skills jobs. Our program is designed to:
- Provide adequate training in soft skills as well as traditional hard skill areas
- Prepare adults for success and career promotion after obtaining initial employment
- Give adults a flexible hard and soft skill foundation that facilitates and encourages continued personal and professional growth
- Provide clear and successful pathways for pursuing and obtaining postsecondary credentials based on college credit.
- Develop a network of volunteer mentors, employers, and employment agencies to ensure that Career Foundations program participants can be counseled and matched to employment opportunities in middle-skill jobs
The Career Foundations program will launch in pilot mode in September with approximately 30 adult participants from 4-6 rehabilitation, outpatient, and transition centers. Career Foundations will include a short, very basic workforce readiness course, and three college-level courses in communication, analysis/computers, and business/management to provide post-high school students a solid foundation for any middle skill job.
1 Carnevale, Anthony P., et al. Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018. Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, June 2010, cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/help-wanted/.
B. Product Design, Process, and Technology
11. What is TEL’s publishing process?
TEL publishing is process-driven and organized to promote both quality and efficiency. The TEL publishing process consists of three stages. First, content is designed and developed in by the Curriculum and Development team. This groups identifies subject matter experts and works with them to create course outlines, lesson content, and module content and assessments for each course.
As content is developed and approved within Curriculum Development, it is sent to Production. Here, lesson content is sent through developmental editing, media development, and image curation to prepare all lesson elements for production in the technology platform. As a final step, Production staff transfer final lesson elements to the technology platform and tag the lesson for efficient reuse.
Once lessons have been created within the technology platform, they can be grouped and published or “broadcast” into many different products without needing to be duplicated.
12. How does TEL design its courses?
Each TEL course is designed as a self-paced online course. This means that all instructional guidance, required content, assignments, and assessments must be included within the course and the course platform. The goal is for students to log in to a course, proceed through it intuitively, and benefit from an engaging learning experience.
To accomplish this, we begin we a clear learning progression model for our courses and lessons lesson. This model establishes a clear goal for the student learning experience.
Within a lesson, the model begins with Contextualization, or providing students with a clear context for what they will be learning. With a context established, the model moves to Elaboration. This is where core information content is presented. After elaborating the lesson concept, the next goal is Relevance. We want to help learners see how or why the lesson concept in relevant to them and their lives. Next, the progression model focuses on Agency, or providing application activities that encourage learners to take ownership of the information. At this point, learners are ready to show Mastery. We apply this learning progression model to both our content and product development work.
Once we decide to create a specific course, we begin by working with a teacher/subject matter expert to build a course outline, which serves as the foundation for the course development process. When building and reviewing the course outline, we focus on how the course is taught traditionally, what types of pedagogical approaches and tools have been most successful with the subject in the past, and the best way to assess and evaluate learner competency in the course.
The course outline, with its learning objectives, serves as a content development guide for the course. All content must be mapped directly to course outline topics and, along with assessments and assignments, must directly support established learning outcomes.
When the module and lesson content has been completed for a course, TEL curriculum specialists create the remaining course-level documents: course requirements, grading rubrics, and syllabi.
Also see: “How We Develop TEL Library Courses”
13. How does TEL manage and revise content for continuous quality?
TEL employs a dynamic process for ensuring that content is reviewed and refined on a continuous basis. First, TEL curriculum specialists, assigned to specific sections of the curriculum, review content according to a prescribed schedule and process. In addition, curriculum specialists organize outside reviews on a regular basis to ensure that all content in their assigned section is accurate and meets customer needs. Finally, all TEL content lessons allow registered users to provide feedback and make suggestions.
The TEL platform makes it possible for curriculum specialists to edit content and update lessons immediately, without disruption to customers. This means that TEL content is updated as suggested content revisions become available.
In addition to supporting dynamic processes and interface components for content revision and quality, the platform also supports detailed content analytics, which provide invaluable information on content usage and learner performance. This allows TEL curriculum specialists and instructors to review information such as the frequency with which students access content, time spent on content by page, type, and subject, and learner performance based on different content-interaction metrics.
Students pay a one-time $270 registration fee to use Excelsior College’s One Transcript service. This registration covers all courses a student takes with TEL. Once registered, students can request official transcripts for $12, regardless of the number of courses they have completed.
A student’s total cost per credit hour varies based on the number of TEL courses completed. If a student takes only one course, the cost per credit hour is $115 per hour ($75+270)/3, including textbook. $115 is lower than in-state tuition at most community colleges, and radically below in-state tuition at public regional colleges and flagship universities. For example, in-state tuition in Oklahoma is $135 at community colleges, $347 at regionals, and $410 at flagships. On top of that, required textbooks can add $30 to $40 hours per credit hour.
TEL’s cost per credit hour drops dramatically as the student takes more courses through TEL. For example, the per credit hour cost to a student who takes 20 TEL courses is only $ 29.50! [(20X75) + 270]/60.
14. What is the TEL technology platform?
The TEL platform is a proprietary platform whose foundation is WordPress with the Learndash LMS plug-in. Other plug-ins and custom modules are added as necessary. WordPress, LearnDash LMS, and other plug-ins require a minimal annual fee. All custom modules are owned by EdBooks and provided to TEL at cost. The platform architecture allows for straightforward and seamless integrations with other educational systems, such as LMS and SIS platforms, and its display-layer technology enables easy content access on any device, without the need for a separate mobile or desktop application.
15. How does TEL license its content?
TEL posts rights and license information on the website and on each content page in TEL. These rights permit sharing and re-distribution of our content for educational, non-commercial purposes, but require that people provide attribution. Unless specified otherwise, TEL content is licensed CC BY NC SA.
To achieve the greatest impact, TEL provides free, openly licensed access to its catalog of general education lessons via its free Learning Library.
C. College-Credit Courses
16. How can high schools offer TEL’s college-credit courses?
High schools can use either a concurrent enrollment or simultaneous enrollment approach. With concurrent enrollment, the student enrolls in a TEL college credit course and proceeds in an identical manner as a homeschool or independent student. The high school is not involved in course delivery or grading. The high school’s involvement is limited to providing the student with study space, internet connection, etc. and, perhaps, ad hoc tutoring and exam proctoring.
Under the simultaneous model, the student enrolls in both a TEL course and a similar course with their high school. From TEL’s perspective, their course is identical to a concurrent enrollment course. The high school is not involved in its delivery or grading. From the high school’s perspective, it is offering its own high school course using the same TEL content. The high school runs its course in any manner it sees fit and assigns grades as it deems appropriate. In most cases that means the high school will simply add a weekly face-to-face discussion/experiential class session led by one of their faculty, and factor student participation in these sessions in their grading.
D. Catalog and Roadmap
17. What is TEL’s anticipated catalog?*
|Writing and Communication||Spanish 1 & 2||Microeconomics**|
|Language and Composition||American Literature||Science Technology and Math|
|Literature and Composition||World Civilizations***|| Introduction to Computer Systems|
|Introduction to Communication||Art and Western Civilization***||Developmental Math|
|Student Success (1hr)||Philosophy of Life||Quantitative Analysis 1|
|History and Government||Introduction to Christianity (2 hr)||Quantitative Analysis 2|
|U.S. History I**||Old Testament||Biology|
|U.S. History II||New Testament||Physical Science|
|American Government||Business||Career Foundations|
|World History***||Principles of Management||CF0: Basic Workforce Readiness|
|Languages|| Entrepreneurship/Introduction |
| CF1: Business Writing|
|Biblical Greek 1 & 2****||Social Sciences||CF2: Analytics and Computing|
|Latin 1 & 2||Psychology||CF3: Business/Management|
* Titles may be added and subtracted to this catalog based on market conditions and TEL finances.
** This catalog shows only course titles, all of which are available in the different product forms of TEL. Additional textbook or curriculum products (non-course titles) may also be created and sold. For example, Economics: Christian Perspectives designed for use as a supplemental textbook in introductory economics classes. Additional products can also be drawn from traditional courses. For example, a textbook for a condensed, 3-hour American History course could be created drawing on lessons from American History I and II, or a short certificate course on the Gospels could be created using the relevant modules from New Testament.
*** TEL will create a core set of lessons for World Civilizations, which encompasses World History, Western Civilization, and Art and Western Civilization.
**** Many high schools include two years of a foreign language as part of their curriculum and many college degrees also require two or three semesters of language study as part of the general education requirement. Courses in the catalog are designed as 1-semester college courses, meaning they may be taught over an entire year in high school.
18. What other courses might TEL offer?
TEL may add high enrollment, lower-level courses that are often taken by students as part of their major rather than as general education. For example, Accounting for business majors, Anatomy and Physiology for health science majors, or Calculus for Engineering majors.
19. What is TEL’s rollout schedule?
|Fall 2018||U.S. History 2||American Literature|
|Language and Composition||Macroeconomics||World Civilizations|
|Introduction to Communication||Psychology||Philosophy of Life|
|Student Success (1 hr.)||Latin 1|| Old Testament|
|Introduction to Christianity||Quantitative Analysis 2||Spanish 1|
|U.S. History 1||Physical Science||Biology (with lab)|
|American Government||Career Foundations 1-3||Physical Science (with lab)|
|Microeconomics||Summer 2019||Basic Workforce Readiness|
| Introduction to Computer Systems|
|Latin 2||Spring 2020|
|Quantitative Literacy 1||Biblical Greek 1||Spanish 2|
|Biology||Fall 2019||Biblical Greek 2|
|Spring 2019*|| Developmental Writing|| Principles of Management|
|Literature and Composition||Sociology||Entrepreneurship/Introduction to Business|
|U.S. History 2||New Testament|
* 2019/2020 courses will be available for sale/use by the beginning of those school terms.
1. How can my student receive college credit for a TEL course?
Students who complete TEL courses can obtain a transcript from TEL’s credit-granting or credit-recommendation partner(s) to the college or university of their choice. Our partners represent a large network of institutions that will give credit for their courses. Please note that the option to grant credit always belongs to the college or university and may also depend upon whether a course fits into a student’s degree program.
2. What is dual-enrollment?
Dual enrollment is a program that allows high school students (usually sophomores, juniors, and seniors) to enroll in college courses for credit prior to high school graduation. TEL courses are designed to give juniors and seniors in high school the education they need for high school, while also allowing them to earn college credit for those same courses. We can do this because many college general education courses repeat the same core content offered in upper-division high school courses.
3. What TEL courses will be available in the Fall (and Spring 2019)?
In Fall 2019, we plan to add:
- College Algebra
- Computer Systems and Technology
- Introduction to Christianity
- Latin 1*
- Literature and Composition
- Physical Science
- Quantitative Analysis 2**
- College Readiness
- Biology (Lab)
- Mandarin I
- Physical Science (Lab)
- United States History II (after 1877)
Students can enroll in available courses at any time throughout the year.
*Latin 1 is a one-semester college course and is the equivalent of Latin I & II in high school (a full year of language instruction).
**Quantitative Analysis is a two-course Math sequence designed to satisfy the Math requirements for high school and for students not intending to major in Science, Engineering, or Math in college. These courses cover number sense, algebra, geometry, logic, statistics, and foundational trigonometry and calculus. These courses focus on applying math in ways that are relevant in personal and professional contexts. Students taking Quantitative Analysis will be well prepared for college statistics courses.
4. How can students learn effectively in an online course?
The TEL leadership team has decades of experience designing and delivering online courses and course programs in higher education. We have designed and implemented programs for major public universities and for online private universities. Equally important, everyone on our team has a background in teaching and working with students in online courses
We have used our collective experience to design an online learning experience that provides a high-quality, engaging learning experience, and that gives students flexibility with regards to studying and working online or offline. We also take every care to ensure that our platform is easy to access and navigate, and that our lessons are intuitive. Students in TEL courses never wonder “where they are” or “what they are supposed to do next.” Finally, our courses undergo a continuous review process to ensure that all content is accurate and all links to outside resources are active.
Each lesson consists of a core learning content that follows an identical sequence. All core content exists inside the TEL Library platform.
- Inquire — This section includes an Overview and a Big Question that contextualize student. The goal of this section is to help students understand why the lesson concept is important and how it applies to the student’s personal experience.
- Watch — This is a 3-minute video that provides an overview of the lesson content. Each video includes a downloadable transcript to support different learning preferences or needs.
- Read — This section covers the core lesson topics, information, and definitions.
- Reflect — We provide a low-stakes, non-graded poll in each lesson to encourage students to think about how the lesson information applies to them personally.
- Expand — This is a second, shorter reading that takes a deeper look at a specific area of the lesson concept or provides an application example.
- Check Your Knowledge — We help students test their understanding of the lesson content with a practice quiz.
Finally, each lesson provides a list of additional, external resources in the Lesson Toolbox. These are links to other Internet sites that help students learn more about the lesson concept.
5. How will my student obtain a transcript for courses completed through TEL?
For high school credit, students may obtain a course transcript showing complete work directly from TEL. To apply TEL courses toward college credit at a university or college, students will need to obtain a transcript from TEL’s credit-granting partner, Excelsior College.
6. Is there a study guide for TEL courses?
Each TEL course has a course introduction that features a Course Syllabus and a Course Requirements list. These provide both a suggested path of study, as well as a checklist of required quizzes, assignments, and assessments for the course. In addition, each module introduction contains a list of required quizzes, assignments, and assessments for that module. Students will be able to monitor their progress related to course requirements in the course Progress Tracker.
TEL courses also feature learning outcomes for the course, as well as each module and lesson. These serve as a guide to the information that students will be responsible for in order to perform well on graded tasks.
Finally, for parents, TEL provides additional guidelines to accommodate different learning schedules and needs.
7. How do students know what work is required for a course?
Each TEL course features a course introduction that provides a Course Syllabus and a Course Requirements list. These are available to students at all times during the course. The list of course requirements provides a comprehensive list of all quizzes, assignments, and assessments that must be completed in order to receive credit for a course. Additionally, each module introduction contains a list of required quizzes, assignments, and assessments for that module. Students will also be able to monitor their progress related to course requirements in the course Progress Tracker.
8. Do students have to complete all the reading assignments or other non-graded materials in a course?
In order to receive credit for completing a course, students are only required to complete the assignments, quizzes, and assessments specified in the Course Requirements list. These requirements include quizzes, assignments, and assessments that are based on the specific learning outcomes specified for the course. Each course lesson provides video, readings, additional resources, and glossary help to provide students the necessary information and practice to help students master the content and achieve the specified learning outcomes. While these materials are not “required,” and their use is not recorded or tracked, they are recommended as the best learning path for students who have not studied the course material previously.
9. What graded work is required in TEL courses?
Students must complete all required assignments, quizzes, and assessments with a passing grade to receive credit for a TEL course. Typically a course will contain short quizzes and/or assignments for each module (approximately 15 per course), as well as a Midterm and Final exam. The contents of quizzes, assignments, and exams will vary based on the course. For example, in writing courses, students will be required to complete a specified number of formal composition assignments.
To receive credit for completing a course, students must achieve a minimum “passing” grade of 70% on all course assignments.
10. Who grades the quizzes, assignments, and assessments in TEL courses?
Quizzes in TEL courses are presented in an objective format (Multiple Choice, Ordered Lists, etc.) that have a single correct answer. These items are graded by the TEL assessment program. Assignments, which feature a writing component, have specific guidelines (number of words, number of items to include, etc.) and are evaluated by TEL graders using a common assignment rubric. Depending on the course, major assessments may be entirely objective or also feature short essays. If short essays are included in the exam, these are created and will be graded according to a common evaluation rubric.
All major assessments in TEL courses must be proctored by an approved third-party proctoring service (selected from a list of proctoring services provided by TEL).
11. What if my students does not “pass” a course?
Our goal at TEL is to ensure that students actually learn the material presented. We understand that every student is unique and that students may encounter personal obstacles that prevent them from completing a course successfully. If a student completes a course with submitted work — exams or assignments — that does not meet our “passing” criteria, we will provide the student with a list of such work as well as suggestions for content they need to review. Within 30 days of completing the work for that course, we will allow the student to meet the “passing” criteria by retaking non-proctored and proctored assessments, or by re-submitting assignments. If a student retakes proctored exams, there will be an additional fee. In addition, students may elect to re-purchase the entire course for a fresh start.
12. How do you ensure that students are able to complete the required quizzes, assignments, and assessments after working through the course materials?
All quizzes, assignments, and assessments are tied to specific learning outcomes for the course. These outcomes are identified, addressed clearly, and “practiced” in each of our lessons. This means that students who work through the learning materials for each lesson have received the information and learning reinforcement necessary to complete required materials such as quizzes and assessments.
Every TEL course goes through extensive evaluation to ensure that learning outcomes are covered appropriately in the lesson learning materials and that quizzes, assignments, and assessments are tied to those same learning objectives. These evaluations are performed by TEL Learning Design and Editorial teams and, equally important, are a cornerstone of the evaluation performed by our credit-granting or credit-recommendation partner(s) in order to approve our courses.
13. Who proctors TEL exams?
TEL partners with multiple proctoring services, approved by our credit-granting or credit-recommendation partner(s). These services require students to create an account with the service, schedule a time to take each exam, and to be logged in to the service during the exam for monitoring. Students will need to have a camera on their computer that can share a video of them taking the exam.
At the beginning of each exam, students will show a photo ID to the exam proctor and then begin the exam. Proctoring services use multiple methods to ensure student integrity during the examination process, including human monitors and system algorithms that detect unusual behavior.
14. How does TEL handle science and math courses?
TEL science courses are for students not planning to major in the sciences and do not feature a laboratory component. These courses are concept-based and have the same types of quizzes, assignments, and assessments featured in other TEL courses.
TEL math courses feature an additional work section devoted to solving math problems and equation.
15. How do students receive help on course topics or assignments?
While our courses are designed to help students understand and master concept, we know that many students will come to a concept or assignment they don’t understand fully. To help with these situations, TEL provides a number of sources of support for students. First, we provide resources in each lesson that give students access to additional materials that explain lesson concepts. In addition, we provide course facilitation via email and chat for basic questions about concepts, assignments, or the course in general. Our facilitators are qualified course experts who can provide additional explanation and encouragement. Finally, TEL also partners with a tutoring service that can provide students with in-depth tutoring for an additional fee.
16. How long does it take for students to complete your courses?
TEL’s online courses are designed to include the same amount of instruction and coursework that is required for similar courses offered in a college or university setting. These courses are generally structured around semesters that last between 12 and 16 weeks. With that context, students should be able to complete TEL courses in 3-4 months.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that TEL courses are designed for flexible, self-paced learning. This means that students can work through them at their own pace and according to their unique homeschool schedule. TEL provides parents sample course syllabi and guidelines to accommodate different course completion schedules.
17. Can parents monitor student progress in courses?
At their request, parents can be added to their students’ courses in an “instructor” role in our system. This allows parents to view and track all student work. This simply allows parents to monitor activity and does not require them to provide any feedback or support.
18. Can TEL help parents select and sequence the courses their high school students should take?
Yes. TEL will work with parents to review the courses their students have already taken and suggest TEL courses that are the most appropriate for their student to take.
19. Can I use the TEL curriculum that my high school student is taking with his or her younger siblings?
While only one student can receive credit and a transcript for each purchased course, parents are free to share the contents of that course with that student’s siblings. To facilitate such sharing, each TEL lesson features a downloadable, printable version of the lesson content. These can be printed, placed on thumb drives, or shared via a service like Google Drive.
Only the student registered for a purchased course can receive grading for course. If a parent has two students needing credit for a course, he or she will need to pay separately for each student. This is one of the reasons we offer our courses at such a low price.
20. Is there an age limit for students taking TEL courses?
TEL courses are designed for the “typical” high school junior or senior. However, we realize that some younger students are advanced enough to take our courses as well. We allow any student over the age of 13 to take a TEL course for credit. In making the decision to enroll younger students, parents should keep in mind that TEL does not provide any additional or “special” support for younger students.
21. How will I know if the courses taken through TEL will be accepted at universities for transferable credit?
When reaching out to universities, students will be transferring transcripted college credit from Excelsior College, a regionally accredited college in New York (accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education — https://www.excelsior.edu/about). While we are offering the course, as far as universities are concerned, they will receive a transcript from Excelsior.
22. Will the use of TEL courses be approved, for dual credit, by states as a legal alternative form of homeschooling?
Homeschooling Associations can evaluate our content and work through the process side by side with our Outreach Director and Chief Academic Officer.
23. Are your courses aligned with common core standards?
We develop our courses by looking at the requirements for both higher education and high school courses. Our goal is to develop courses that (1) are representative of how most colleges and universities are presenting a subject, (2) are able to align with state or national standards for high school, (3) and have the structure and rigor required to be accredited by a college or university.
In higher education, we look at course syllabi from representative types of universities and also review tables of content and instructional materials from the top textbooks in a subject. In some cases, we also work with national organizations and look at any subject guidelines they may have issued. This allows us to create a course outline that represents the scope of a 3-hour college course, provide all content and activities that are taught by in a traditional college or university course, and a foundational set of topics and learning objectives.
On the high school side, begin by taking a look at AP Guidelines, Oklahoma state standards, and Common Core standards in applicable subjects. We review our outcomes to ensure that our curriculum is consistent with such standards and can be aligned with them.
Our first priority in our course alignment has been to our higher education accreditor and schools in Oklahoma. We will gladly expand our formal mapping-to-standards activity to other states or organizations as requested.
24. How many hours per week should my student be working to complete each module?
Students should be working on each module approximately 6-8 hours per week.
25. Do you offer some type of parent portal or oversight option for parents to track their students’ progress and grades?
As of now, we do not offer this feature but it is something we are working on to implement in the future.
26. Does each student need their own email address on their account or can I set up multiple accounts for my children with the same email address?
Each student will need their own email address for their own account. If you would like to add another account for another student, they will need to have their own email address.
27. What if the account was created using the parent’s information instead of the student’s, but I want to change it to the student’s information so they can get credit for the course?
First, go to the TEL website and login with the information you used to create your account. Go to “My Profile”, then go to “Edit”, then update the “Name (required)” space with your student’s name. The name that appears here will be the name on the course. If you wish, you can update the “Parent or Guardian Information”.
1. I am looking for something that I can customize: Add my own content, reorder content, mix and match content from multi products.
Make sure we find out their needs. See what they would actually like to customize. Talk about setting up a meeting with our learning design team so they can better customize their textbook. Let them know all the areas that can be customized. Talk about our stackable lessons and how they can stand alone or be integrated with other learning materials the professor is already using. All of our lessons can re-mixed in any order and can be applied to other courses that we offer.
2. Is this product just for online learning?
Our products are designed for use in any learning environment – online, hybrid, and the traditional classroom. In addition, our products can be used in both digital and print formats. We also offer PDF versions of every lesson for you if you and/or your students prefer a more tangible version of the lesson.
3. What kind of service(s) do you provide to help get me up and running?
You get to sit down with our learning design team and review the course. You can customize different parts of the course if you would like. We listen to you and get an understanding of how you teach, the outcomes you are looking for, and then we help you adopt in a way that makes the most sense for you and your class.
4. How do you handle accessibility?
We are providing and accessible version in PDF format of each of our lessons and videos. Our lessons can be read by a screen reader. If an image has educational value, that info be read to the student. If it is just a decorative image it will just say decorative image. Each video has a readable transcript as well.
5. My students don’t have access to computers/tablets/internet.
We have a printable PDF version for each lesson and we work great on any smartphone.