Homeschool Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can my student receive college credit for a TEL course?
Students who complete TEL courses will be able to request a transcript for transferable college credit form TEL’s credit-granting partner, Excelsior College. Students can submit this transcript to the college or university they are planning to attend.
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 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 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.
Students demonstrate their learning in TEL courses in three ways. First, they complete Evidence assignments for each course module. These assignments require students to synthesize what they have learned in the module and to complete a short writing assignment. In addition, students must pass a formative assessment at the end of each module. Finally, students are required to pass two proctored exams for each course. Proctoring for TEL courses is managed by our proctoring partner, Examity.
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.
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 (summative exams) 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 exams (summative assessments) in TEL courses are delivered through TEL’s proctoring partner, Examity.
11. What if my student 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 Library 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 Examity to provide proctoring for the two major exams (summative assessments) required for each course. Using Examity will require students to create an account with the service (which includes providing a photo ID), 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 video of them taking the exam.
At the beginning of each exam, students will show their 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 who do not plan to major in the sciences. Our science courses in the 2018-2019 academic year, Biology and Physical Sciences, will not feature a laboratory component. We will add a laboratory component to these courses for the 2019-2020 academic year. These courses are concept-based and have the same types of quizzes, assignments, and assessments featured in other TEL courses.
TEL’s Quantitative Analysis curriculum 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.
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 for basic questions about concepts, assignments, or the course in general. Our facilitators are qualified course experts who can provide additional explanation and encouragement.
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.
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 transcripting 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 as 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 and senior, but we realize that some younger students may be advanced enough to take the courses as well. We allow students over the age of 13 to enroll in our courses but require those younger than 15 years old to gain permission by participating in an interview with our Academic Dean.