Iowa Learning Online (ILO) is an initiative of the Iowa Department of Education designed to help local schools expand student learning opportunities. The ILO Web site provides a list of online and Iowa Communications Network (ICN) video courses that are available to eligible Iowa high school students in grades 9-12. ILO serves as the official clearinghouse of high school course offerings, making it easier for educators and students to find the best courses to meet educational needs. The Web site is a centralized location for Iowa distance learning providers such as local school districts, postsecondary institutions (community colleges, regent universities, independent colleges/universities) and area education agencies to post information on distance learning courses to a variety of Iowa students.
In addition to providing a central, credible source for online coursework, ILO benefits students and schools in other ways. It helps address increasing teacher shortages, particularly in hard to fill regions or subject areas, and provides a wider variety of courses to all students, allowing schools to provide courses or advanced subjects that otherwise would not be available.
Course content has been obtained from any number of sources. Some courses have been developed by Iowa educators. Some Internet-based course curriculum has been purchased from outside sources, such as another state department of education or school.
General guidelines for classes delivered via the Internet are found on the technical requirements for Web-based courses page. Classes delivered via the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) require that students have access to a local ICN classroom at the time and days indicated in the class description.
ILO works with Iowa schools districts and AEAs to provide teachers for the high school courses offered through ILO . Each course instructor is properly licensed in the state of Iowa with secondary level endorsement in the content area of the course (such as math or science).
For those courses for which post-secondary credit is offered, the post-secondary institutions provide the instructors.
High school teachers who have never taught "at a distance" before are provided staff development opportunities through the state's Area Education Agencies.
Participation by Iowa districts in ILO is voluntary.
Online Advanced Placement courses are available through the Iowa Online AP Academy at the Belin-Blank Center, The University of Iowa. See http://www.iowaapacademy.org for more details. AP courses delivered through Iowa Communications Network video classrooms may be listed on the ILO Web site.
Each high school credit course has a fully licensed instructor who is responsible for teaching, assignments, homework, and assuring all coursework is completed. The instructor is located at a remote site and his or her teaching is distributed via the ICN video classrooms, via the Internet, or via similar telecommunications modes. Students will generally "attend" the class either in a computer lab or at an ICN video classroom in their home district or school. Some students are required to also participate in periodic labs at regional locations if the course (such as a science class) calls for it. All students registered in an ILO class need to be supervised by local school employees, called Site Coordinators (coaches).
For high school credit, the course instructor determines each student's grade percentage and recommended grade, and submits the percentage and recommended grade to each student's resident district. The resident district determines the grade and award course credit. The student's transcript shows course credit as being awarded by the resident district. ILO will not award any course credits or diplomas.
For post-secondary credit, the grade will be determined by the post-secondary institution.
A student may take as many courses as his or her district allows.
The district and teacher offering high school credit classes determine the class size. Each course is expected to have 25 or fewer students, although the students may be located at various remote sites. We recommend that class sizes are kept small enough to allow student-to-student interaction as well as teacher-to-student interaction.
The student must be enrolled in an accredited Iowa public or private school. The student's resident district/school is responsible for any accommodations for students with special needs.
Summer 2004 was the first semester in which students could enroll in classes listed on the ILO Web site.
The local Iowa school district will be the "gatekeeper." That means if a student wishes to take a course from ILO and to receive credit for the course toward high school graduation, the resident school district must approve the enrollment.
Enrollment fees vary. Some courses on the list of High School Credit Classes are labeled "Enrollment Fees Waived!" because their associated costs—teacher, student enrollment, ICN video, Moodle—are supported by the Iowa Department of Education. The course may also have loaner textbooks available. Other classes listed on the ILO Web site are shared courses that do have associated fees. Generally, high school credit classes have costs of textbooks, transportation to nearby laboratory facilities and other materials, supplies, or equipment that shall be paid for by the resident school/district. Check the Fees, Supporting Materials, and Notes fields of the course record to determine charges for each course. As well, read the ILO Information for Administrators document for more details on pricing.
A number of Iowa post-secondary institutions already offer their college courses to high school students. Iowa Code Chapter 261C specifies the conditions and terms by which a student may participate in post-secondary courses while still enrolled as a high school student.
Enrollment fees/tuition costs for students eligible to participate through the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Act (PSEO) are paid by the local district of residence if the student successfully completes the course per Iowa Code Chapter 261C. The maximum amount is $250 per course. If students need to attend any part of the course at post-secondary institution (ICN site at a college, for example), the parent/student must provide the transportation.
The State Board of Education will serve as the policy board for high school courses offered throughILO. ILO works with Iowa school districts to provide teachers and curriculum for ILO high school courses. Staff development support for ILO high school teachers will be provided by the state's Area Education Agencies.
The course requirements for individual courses are described in the online course catalog. In general, students are expected to have access to the same level of services they currently have such as school counseling services, library/media center access and textbooks for the course. In addition, the school needs to support the student's use of distance learning technology. If the high school allows the student to enroll in an Internet-based course, the school is expected to provide the student with access to a computer during the school day with Internet connectivity through a direct connection. On occasion, the student needs access to a telephone or an ICN classroom so he/she can engage in conversations or activities with an ILO teacher and other students enrolled in the course. Likewise if the student enrolls in an ICN video course, the school needs to provide access to the school's ICN video classroom. If the course requirements specify periodic laboratory components, transportation needs to be provided for the student.
While the teacher of the ILO course will be "at a distance," the local high school is expected to provide support personnel for students enrolled in an ILO high school course. There are four specific types of support needed:
ILO offers limited summer courses. Local schools/districts are permitted to recover the costs of the summer school course from the student's parents.
At this time, GED is not a component of ILO .
The Site Coordinator (coach) provides vital support to the ILO student. The Site Coordinator (coach) works closely with the student as an advocate, an accountability partner, and a communicator to the teacher, parents, counselors, and administrators. The Site Coordinator (coach), a school employee, may be certified or non-certified.
More information on the role of the Site Coordinator (coach).
All ICN session fees will be paid by ILO.
The course instructor or ILO management staff, working in cooperation with an ICN Regional Scheduler and the receiving school, makes all reservations.
Selecting and assigning Site Coordinators (coaches) is the responsibility of the student’s school. As a result, it will be that local district’s task to determine appropriate compensation.
The school counselor’s responsibility will be to select the right ILO class to address the individual student’s learning needs. The counselor’s knowledge of the student will greatly determine the success of the student in the online learning environment.
Students who find success in the online learning arena:
Students registering for ILO courses will be expected to demonstrate ongoing, consistent evidence of engagement in the course during the first two or four weeks or they will be automatically withdrawn from the course. Exceptions for health or personal reasons may be granted by the ILO instructor after consulting with the student’s Site Coordinator (coach) and school administrator. Read more for Fall/Spring and Summer semester-specific details.
An employee of the school, whether certified or classified, must serve as the ILO student's Site Coordinator (coach). In a home school scenario, however, the Site Coordinator (coach) will work closely with the student's home school instructor (i.e. parent) to ensure that needed support is provided. It should be noted that all tests and quizzes must be directly proctored by the Site Coordinator (coach) (not the parent).