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A small collection of FAQ

Registration Questions

If you go to the Navigation Bar on www.opententacademy.com and click on the Calendar drop-down, you will see links posted for our yearly schedule. Please note the FALL 2018 dates, the WINTER 2019, and the SPRING 2019 dates. Our FULL YEAR classes will meet during the dates marked for FALL 2018, WINTER 2019, and SPRING 2019.

NOTE: If you are taking Eva Goldstein-Meola’s IEW Writing classes, please note the schedule and dates are slightly different. IEW Writing classes meet every other week on an “A Week” and “B Week” schedule.

Yes, you are correct! Because Eva Goldstein-Meola, Director, is Jewish and she can’t work on the Jewish High Holidays, all students and teachers can benefit and enjoy this “little fall break” in the calendar. Teachers will provide an extended assignment during this “time off” to keep your children busy!

Our typical class sizes range anywhere from 10 – 15 students per section, with each teacher having the discretion to decide what class size works best based on the content and structure of the course, the age of the students, and other considerations. Should a class reach capacity, a wait list will be established. If space becomes available, the students on the wait list will be contacted in order of “wait list registration”. Each class has a minimum of five students for the class to be run. If the minimum is not met, the parents will be contacted by August 1, 2018.

That truly depends on the individual children. Please feel free to email the instructor for each course. You can find their email addresses on their individual profile pages. You can also contact Eva directly; she would be glad to discuss your child!

Yes, OTA closes for Thanksgiving Week, Winter Break and Spring Break. You will see these incorporated into the schedule.

OTA’s classes are LIVE VIRTUAL; however, we know all students (and families) have very busy schedules! Because of this, OTA not only holds LIVE VIRTUAL classes BUT in addition, those classes are RECORDED and available after the class meets. This way if your child misses a class, they can watch the recording do the work and be on target for the next class. It is advised that students watch the recording as soon as possible.

Of course, they can! OTA has many students who “after school” with us. Most classes are during the day when your child is in school; however, some are later in the afternoon so they can join us live. With that said, if the class you want is during the day when your child is in school, of course, they can participate by watching the recordings, doing their assignments, being in contact with their instructors! We have many students who “after school.” I would suggest that the parent contacts the instructor prior to the start of the school year to let the instructor know that their child will be watching the recordings.

If a class doesn’t hit the minimum enrollment by August 1st, parents will be notified. At this point, they can opt to wait another two weeks to see if the class hits five students, switch to any class that is absolutely running or request a tuition refund.

By August 15th, any class that doesn’t hit the five student minimum will be cancelled unless the teacher opts to teach the class with fewer students. Again, the parents will be notified and they can opt to choose another class or a tuition refund.

It is best if you provide us with both your own and your child’s email addresses when registering. We recommend that your child’s email be on Gmail, but it is not required. However, it is best if the address is formatted as (firstnamelastnameATyouremaildomain.com) or (firstname.lastnameATyouremaildomain.com) vs. a “cute” email handle. Your child’s name and email address will NOT be put on any advertising list. The purpose of collecting your child’s email is strictly for registering them in our Learning Management System, Canvas. At no time will your child’s email be used or shared with anyone or any entity outside of OTA, unless explicit permission is granted by the child’s parent.

Classes are blocked out for UP TO 90 minutes per session; however, our teachers have the discretion as to determining the specific duration of each session. For instance, a class for children in grades 3 – 6 will most likely run for about 60 minutes per session, because of their attention span, while a class for middle school and high school students will run between 75 – 90 minutes per session. Due to the nature of virtual classes, sessions may sometimes run a bit shorter (or longer) than planned. This is why OTA blocks out 90 minute time slots for each session; in order to guarantee that the teacher will not run out of teaching time.

Costs, Discounts & Refunds

Yes, OTA does!   If one family is taking more than five classes (either one child OR with any combination of siblings) the discount is 10% of off your entire tuition!  Please note: this is no longer applicable to students registered with our “early bird” discount.  Please contact us at register@opententacademy.com for the discount code.

The short answer is, unfortunately, no. Once a class begins we cannot replace your seat. Each lesson builds on the previous lesson. Since students can’t enroll mid-year, your child’s seat cannot be replaced. However, you will have access to the class notes and recordings so you can have your child work at their own pace.

To register for a class, you need to click on the ADD TO CART button shown for each course, on the COURSES link. Parents will then need to completely fill out the registration form that pops up.

Please note that you will need to fill out one form per student per class.

Upon completion of this step, parents will be redirected to our PayPal site for submitting payments.

If you need special financial arrangements, please contact us at register@opententacademy.comprior to registering for classes.

Yes, we do! OTA offers a two week “early bird” discount! This is 20% off each class you register for. We highly suggest that you register early to take advantage of this amazing deal!

After the “early bird” period, we offer additional discounts for multi class/multi siblings, military families, and returning students.   Please note that these additional discounts cannot be combined with each other, or used in conjunction with the 20% “early bird” discount.

Please contact OTA at register@opententacademy.com for your discount code.

You will be in the “regular registration” fee period.

When you register for a class, you prevent other families from taking a seat. Registration means commitment.  Teachers plan out their classes long before the class runs.  Most of the work with teaching comes long before the student arrives in the classroom.  When a parent registers a student, the teacher is expecting that student to be in class.  To be fair to both our teachers and our families, we have come up with this withdrawal/refund plan.

OTA’s policy is clearly stated as follows:

For Fall 2018 (and 20 or 30 week) Classes

  1. If a student must withdraw from a course before August 1, 2018, AND the class is full with a “wait-list” for the class, AND your child’s seat can be filled by a student on the “wait-list”, any tuition paid will be refunded, less an administration (processing) fee of $100.00.
  2. If a student must withdraw from a course before August  1, 2018, AND if the seat cannot be filled, OR the withdrawal is made on or after August 1, 2018, the parent is responsible for the entire tuition amount due, and no refund will be issued.
  3. If a student must withdraw from a course once the class begins, there is no refund.

For Winter 2019 Classes

  1. If a student must withdraw from a course before December 1, 2018, AND the class is full with a “wait-list” for the class, AND your child’s seat can be filled by a student on the “wait-list”, any tuition paid will be refunded, less an administration (processing) fee of $100.00.
  2. If a student must withdraw from a course before December 1, 2018, AND if the seat cannot be filled, OR the withdrawal is made on or after December 1, 2018, the parent is responsible for the entire tuition amount due, and no refund will be issued.
  3. If a student must withdraw from a course once the class begins, there is no refund.

For Spring 2019 Classes

  1. If a student must withdraw from a course before March 1, 2019, AND the class is full with a “wait-list” for the class, AND your child’s seat can be filled by a student on the “wait-list”, any tuition paid will be refunded, less an administration (processing) fee of $100.00.
  2. If a student must withdraw from a course before March 1, 2019, AND if the seat cannot be filled, OR the withdrawal is made on or after March 1, 2019, the parent is responsible for the entire tuition amount due, and no refund will be issued.
  3. If a student must withdraw from a course once the class begins, there is no refund.

High speed internet access will create a strong foundation for your student’s participation. Students with dial-up access or without the proper hardware/software often struggle in online classes.

http://www.opententacademy.com/virtual-courses/technical-requirements/
This link will provide you with the technical requirements needed for our virtual classrooms.

Students should purchase a headset/microphone combo so that they can participate in class discussion. These can be purchased for starting around $15.

Each class will also require the purchase of various books, which are listed on the syllabus that you can download from the Class Descriptions page. Because reading comprehension is a critical component of skill development, we do not recommend using an e-reader for any of the work. Studies have shown that such tools/technologies decreases student learning. Additionally, often certain passages or components of a book used by the teacher may not be present in other editions of a book. For this reason, we encourage you to obtain the exact resources required. Most of the can be found via Amazon.

NOTE: Some teachers may assess a supply fee instead of a textbook. This fee may cover the cost of user licenses for your student’s access to various online materials including pdfs of textbooks, access to websites used for the class, or actual physical materials deemed necessary by the teacher. Such materials would be emailed to your student.

Yes!  Open Tent Academy is more than happy to work out a payment plan.   An initial deposit of 25% must be put down with registration.  After that, we take the remainder due and split up into three equals payments to be paid out over the following three months.   Please contact us at register@opententacademy.com BEFORE registering so we can put a plan into place.  If you withdraw from a class, please note, all payment plans are non-refundable.

Please note:  If you require more than three payments, please ask.  We do offer that on a case-by-case basis.

Starting this fall, OTA’s courses will run on a trimester schedule consisting of three terms (Fall 2018, Winter 2019, and Spring 2019).  Each term is 10 weeks long, and most OTA courses will meet either once or twice a week, for up to 90 minutes per session. (The exception to this rule are our writing courses, which will continue to meet every other week, in order to give students ample time to complete their assignments.)

The weekly schedule applies to single trimester, double trimester, and year long classes alike. If a year long course meets twice a week, it is because OTA feels that class needs to be held at this frequency in order for the course to meet requirements for high school credit.   Most courses that meet twice weekly are high school level math and foreign language classes; however, there may be cases where high school level history, social sciences and English courses may also run on a twice weekly schedule.

All prices are determined independently for each course, based on the frequency of the class.  Please note the frequency of class meetings per week, and length of course term, so you can clearly understand pricing.   Our goal is to give your children the BEST education we can offer while paying our teachers fairly, instead of undercutting the competition.

 

 

The $10 fee is used towards covering Open Tent Academy’s administration costs and payment processing fees.

Class Policies

Yes. Parents are more than welcome to sit alongside your student during any one of OTA’s classes; however, it is expected that they are silent observers. Parents may ask questions following classes; we recommend that they please email the instructor, or request a phone or video conference.

They should join the class quietly and blend into the discussion. All students are responsible for going back to the recording to find out what they missed prior to joining the session. It is NOT up to the teacher to stop the class to go back and review previously discussed topics.

It is expected that each student comes to class prepared, ready to participate and that they act in a respectful manner of the teacher and classmates. If a student disrupts a class, or attends class not prepared, the teacher will contact the parents. If this behavior continues to persist, OTA will set up an appointment between teacher, student, and parent – to be facilitated by either Eva Goldstein-Meola or Jonathan Meola.

The teacher will contact the class immediately via email AND Canvas (the LMS/Learning Management System). Every semester has one make-up day incorporated into the schedule specifically for this purpose.

Students are expected to conduct themselves with appropriate classroom behavior even in a virtual environment.  Teachers will contact parents if the students fail to behave properly.

Examples that would require a teacher to contact parents would include the following:

  • Inappropriate language
  • “Chatting” in the chat log when they are not supposed to
  • Fooling around/disrupting class

Open Tent Academy is an all-inclusive environment open to all faiths, races, genders etc. We are a secular program with no religious affiliation. All faiths are welcomed and encouraged to attend. Absolute respect and tolerance for others is expected.

Although classes are virtual, ALL students are expected to conduct themselves in proper classroom behavior. Open Tent Academy has a zero tolerance policy towards cyber bullying. Students will not receive a second chance. Please make sure that your student clearly understands that they are expected to be respectful of all students as well as the teacher. Students who are disruptive during class will receive an oral warning from the instructor at the time of the incident. If the disruption continues, parents will receive an email following class. If it happens a third time, there will be a phone call from OTA Director Eva Goldstein-Meola. If it happens a fourth time, the student will be removed from the class, and will only be able to continue taking the class asynchronously, via posted session recordings.

Class Dates

Please check our Calendar page for each term’s starting dates. You can also find out the starting dates and times for individual courses on their individual registration page, or on each course’s syllabus.

Supplies

It depends on the course! On the website, under COURSES, you can search the class. On the right, you will see a link that says SYLLABUS. Download this PDF file. This will give you the information that you need for supplies and/or a textbook for your course. There will be a link to AMAZON or another vendor for the exact book you need; however, please first see if you can borrow it or buy it used.

Please note some teachers do not have textbooks and will provide PDFs of the information / notes / materials for your child. This will be posted for you on Canvas (our own LMS – Learning Management System).

In addition, some teachers may assess a supply fee instead of a textbook. This fee may cover the cost of user licenses for your student’s access to various online materials including pdfs of textbooks, access to websites used for the class, or actual physical materials deemed necessary by the teacher. Any materials of this type will be sent by the instructor to your student.

Every student should have some type of notebook (spiral unless otherwise noted by teacher) and a pen/pencil at class meetings. It is also recommended that students have (and use) headphones or earbuds when in the virtual classroom, unless they are attending in a quiet enough setting with no external distractions.

Some teachers have a “supply list” on their syllabus. It is expected that parents purchase these supplies. On the website, under COURSES, you can search the class. On the right, you will see a link that says SYLLABUS. Download this PDF file. This will give you the information that you need for supplies for the course. Some teachers will require that students use their webcam and microphone during class sessions; please make sure that these are available for use and in good working order.

Try and plan ahead as much as possible, especially if you want/need to save money! You should first try and see if you can locate a used copy of the textbook, or borrow one from a friend. In any case, we feel it is best that your child has the course’s textbook(s) and requested supplies prior to the first day of class. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your course’s instructor.

Tips & Preparation

About two weeks before class begins, you will receive via email with specific direction on how to log into Canvas, our LMS (Learning Management System). Your child(ren) will all have their own Canvas account.

Parents will also be able to sign into Canvas to check on their children. All the information they will need will be up and running by mid-August.

It is suggested you and your child explores Canvas (our LMS) together once we release the information.

We also strongly suggest that you visit the Jigsaw System Requirements page prior to your first session, in order to test and ensure that your computer’s software is up to date.

Classes meet live and online using our virtual online platform, Jigsaw. Links to each of the student’s class sessions will be posted in the modules section of their course’s Canvas (our LMS/Learning Management System) page.

Your computer should operate with Windows 8 or higher, as our classroom will not operate on a previous version. A full set of Jigsaw’s system requirements, along with a “Test Your Computer” utility, can be found on their Knowledge Base.

Teachers can interact with students during class using a chat feature as well as dialoguing with students. Away from class, Canvas (our LMS/Learning Management System) allows your student to take quizzes, tests, submit papers or other work, and discuss in small groups with the teacher or with other students.

The teacher will assign grades, and you may view the grade-book at any time by logging into Canvas using your parent credentials. You will receive this information approximately two weeks before classes begin. In addition, at the end of the semester or year, you may print out the grade-book. The teacher will post and/or send a final grade to you (via PDF) at the end of the course.

Links to view the class recordings are posted in Canvas, our LMS (Learning Management System), usually no longer than 24 hours after the live session has ended.

Each student will be provided with an amount of work equivalent to the other four days of the “work week.” The amount of time each day will vary, based on either the student and/or class level. However, it is reasonable to assume that anywhere between 30 minutes and 1.5 hours will be required to complete each homework assignment.

The assignments for the upcoming week are posted prior to class on a weekly page in Canvas (our LMS). You can gauge what each teacher will expect by reading each course’s syllabus; these can be downloaded from the Courses section of our website.

Each instructor will handle this individually; however, you can typically expect turn over to be about one week for assignments unless the instructor notifies the students. The evaluated work will be released to the student on CANVAS (LMS). Students will receive a notification when they have graded work. Teachers will offer written comments, an audio commentary, a video commentary or a combination of any of these.

Our OTA parents should provide general oversight of the student’s work. Ensuring that their student attends class, has all the proper materials, and is progressing with their work, will be greatly appreciated.

Teachers will handle the grading of quizzes, tests, and other projects. If parents ever have any questions, they should immediately email the instructor.

It is also extremely helpful if parents provide the textbook (if needed), print out any PDF files, and provide supplies along with a quiet environment for the child to participate in class.

Each instructor is responsible for setting their individual late work policies and for due dates. If a student must miss work due to illness or death in the family, please notify them as soon as possible. If the student will miss class (due to vacation or other school opportunities) please notify the teacher well in advance.

OTA’s instructors (our teachers) provide online instruction, feedback, grading, and testing for the course. They will treat your student with respect and in an encouraging manner. All instructors will provide contact information in Canvas, and are available for brief meetings by appointment (either in the virtual classroom, or via video conference) with enough notice.

Our instructors are not private tutors. Although we want all students to succeed, please understand that it is up to each individual teacher as to how much extra time they provide for a student. Communication is the key.

For the ultimate experience, yes – your child should already have mastered basic keyboarding skills.  While every teacher runs their virtual classroom differently, many will use the “CHAT” feature for student-to-teacher communication. This allows students to attend and participate, no matter the level of background noise in their present location.

You will also find that some teachers may use their classroom’s “PUSH TO TALK” (microphone) feature.  This is determined by the teacher and is usually driven by the number of students in attendance for each class session. That said, this may not work smoothly due to each individual attendee’s available internet bandwidth.   The typical case is that teachers, in courses will 10 or less students per session, will test student microphones during either the first or second session to see if “PUSH TO TALK” works well for them.

Other Questions

If you are interested in joining the consortium at Open Tent Academy as an instructor, we’d love to hear from you!

Please contact us at recruiting@opententacademy.com!

Make sure to attach your CV with your teaching history, homeschooling experience, and what subject(s) you are interested in teaching. We are always looking for amazing teachers!