Otus for eLearning/Snow Days in IL

Author: Jordan Walker | Blog, Learning Management Systems, Hot Topics in K12 |

A guide to using Otus as an eLearning platform to comply with Public Act 099-0194/HB 2781

In order to be approved to offer eLearning Days by the State of Illinois Board of Education as stated in Public Act 099-0194, a school district must submit an eLearning Plan. Part of the plan relates to how a learning management system can support remote learning. Today’s students will likely have the chance to telecommunicate. Furthermore, eLearning days present a prime opportunity to prepare students for their future.

Below are responses to the items that are requested by the Illinois State Board of Education. The responses relate to Otus as a platform for remote learning:

Ensure and verify that instruction or school work is being completed for each student participating in an e-learning day:

A variety of tools within the Otus platform can be used by classroom teachers, student services, and building/district leaders. They can help make sure that the minimum number of instruction or school work hours have been met.

  • Lessons: The lesson module allows teachers to create and distribute a series of learning activities. They can be shared with individual students, groups of students, or entire classes. Learning activities can include video introductions or instructions, links to learning resources (PDFs, videos, online resources), assessments, blogs, and other activities required for a lesson.
  • Assessments: A wide variety of online assessment tools are available within Otus to provide students with formative or summative assessment options. Students are able to upload work (i.e. Google Docs, PDFs, etc.) or video. Students and teachers are also able to provide audio and video feedback.
  • Bookshelf: Add any web resource, video, or file to the bookshelf. This allows both students and families  to access important learning materials.
  • Messaging and Communication: The Otus mailbox can be used to email and text notifications and other messages to students.
  • Class Board: The class board can be used to provide general announcements to classes about the work expected to be completed during the eLearning day.

Ensure access from home or other appropriate remote facility for all students participating, including computers, the Internet, and other forms of electronic communication that must be utilized in the proposed program:

Otus is designed to be used on any web-enabled device. It can be used with even the most basic internet connections. This makes sure that all students may use Otus as long as they have internet connectivity.

Many students do not have access to the internet at home. Teachers are able to communicate school work for the eLearning day via a text message. Texts are sent to any authorized student and family member.

Recently, major internet providers started opening their network of WiFi Hotspots during extreme weather conditions or other emergencies.

Ensure appropriate learning opportunities for students with special needs:

Otus allows teachers to provide differentiated learning options for students based on IEP/504 requirements, accommodations, or best practices. Additionally, Otus is designed with guidance by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0 (level AA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Otus tries to go beyond them by truly empathizing with our users to build a fluid user experience for everyone.

Monitor and verify each student’s electronic participation:

To monitor student progress on assignments throughout the day, teachers and school/district leaders have access to progress dashboards as shown below:

Address the extent to which student participation is within the student’s control as to the time, pace, and means of learning:

Otus is accessible to students and family members 24/7/365. This means that the pace in which students work is flexible to the events of the day.

Provide effective notice to students and their parents or guardians of the use of particular days for e-learning:

Otus has a variety of resources available to parents and guardians that describe how Otus is used. These resources are available as brief videos, written instructions, and OnDemand webinars.

Additionally, Otus may be used by teachers to communicate expectations for the eLearning day. It can be communicated to parents via email and text messages, which is then logged and documented within the Otus platform.

Provide staff and students with adequate training for participation on e-learning days:

Otus has a variety of training and professional development options for school systems. It is important to note that all adult users of Otus (teachers, administrators, and family members) are able to access our in-app chat. This is so that they can receive technical support from Otus staff at any time.

To learn more about Illinois Public Act 099-0194, visit http://ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/99/099-0194.htm

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