Andrea Willis: Well, thank you all so much for joining me. I'm really happy you took the time out of your busy schedules to come and learn a little bit about USA Learns. And today specifically, I'll be talking about our free ESL and citizenship courses, which are all found at As Melinda mentioned, my name is Andrea Willis. I work at the Sacramento County Office of Education, and I'm the director of a little technical development team called Internet and Media Services. And I have a very rewarding job here in that I get to manage the development of some really wonderful online tools that help adult learners across the state, the nation, and actually, the world. And I love that. It's very rewarding.

So anyway, let's go ahead, and today I'm going to be giving you a tour. I'm going to be starting off with a little overview of USA Learns. And I'll give you a tour of our citizenship course and of our ESL courses. I'll share with you some highlights about the teacher side. I'll answer for you some of the questions that we get rather often from folks.

And as I'm showing this to you, I would like you to think a little bit about how might you use USA Learns at a distance because I think it's a great tool. I think it could work really well at a distance for you. And it's all free, so what's better than free, right? OK, so I believe we have a polling tool. Right, Melinda?

Melinda: Yes, we do.

Andrea Willis: And so I have a question for you. I'm curious, have you ever used USA Learns. And the choices are yes or no. Oh wow, you guys are quick. That's really fun to see those numbers coming in. A lot of nos. Fair number of yeses too. Yay, OK. Hey, very nice. We're getting there.

All right, so this will be fun. I'll get to share some information with some folks who have not used it at all. And maybe for those of you who have used it a bit, maybe I'm hoping you'll learn something new today too. All right, so do I need to close this, Melinda, or do you do that?

Melinda: I have closed it on our end.

Andrea Willis: There we go. I've just closed it on my end too. How wonderful. OK, so let me just give you a little bit of background about USA Learns. So it was originally funded by a grant that my office got with the Federal Office of Vocational and Adult Education. And basically, the purpose of the grant was to figure out if adults could learn online. And spoiler alert, after all these years of doing this, I think the answer is yes.

So USA Learns originally launched in 2008. And at the end of the grant, the federal government gave the Sacramento County Office of Education ownership of the site. And I'm so happy they did because it's really been a labor of love for us to keep it up and alive. And we've been able to upgrade it several times, and we've even had the opportunity to add several new courses. And I'm very happy to share with you that it will always be free until I'm around, and I think it always will be free.

OK, so since the site launched we've had 1.8 billion with a B web pages viewed, which is really quite a lot if you ask me. We've said 13 million website users. And when folks come to the site, they stay quite a long time. On average, they're there for about 24 minutes, which is a really long time in website, time which is kind of like dog years. Because usually, when people come to a site, they stay for just a minute or something, and they're out of here they're gone. And USA Learns has been access by every country in the world.

OK, so as you can imagine, the border states are really the top users of USA learns-- Florida, California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts are the biggies. And some of our top cities are Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, and you can see the list there Stockton, Fremont, Fresno, Oakland, and Sunnyvale. You just might see your city there. And if you don't see it there, I bet some people from your area are using it anyway.

One thing I like to share with people is that USA Learns was featured in a big report that was done by a group called Titan Partners a few years ago. It's called "Learning for Life-- The Opportunity for Technology to Transform Adult Education." And when I saw this report, I was so excited to see that little old USA Learns, which was created by the Sacramento County Office of Ed and is free, is located right in the middle of the results that show usage versus familiarity of specific products.

And USA Learns is featured here, showing that lots and lots of adult educators are using it, and lots and lots of folks are familiar with it. And we're right there next to McGraw-Hill, and Quizlet, and some other biggies. OK, and during the study, they surveyed 1,000 adult educators. And as you can guess, one thing people really liked about it was the low cost-- actually free-- aspect of the site.

OK, so let me tell you just a few basics. So there are two sides of USA Learns. One is the student side, and one is the teacher side. So at, that's where the learners go, OK? And teachers go to a slightly different URL. They go to So this is where you would go, all right? You want to make sure when you're going, that's where actually you go.

OK, another little bit of overview info is that we have four English as a second language courses. The first one is called The First English Course, as you can see here. It's our beginner course. It's considered low beginning to high beginning ESL. We've got 20 video-based units with 192 lessons and more than 600 activities.

Then we have English 1 Plus. This is our newest course. It's considered beginning high, intermediate low, as based on the voice of America's Let's Learn English videos. And with this one, I'm not sure if you've seen it, but Anna Matteo is this very fun character who moves to Washington, DC, and gets a job, and meets friends, and does all kinds of fun and silly things. We've got five units and six lessons in that course.

The next course is 2nd English Course. It's considered intermediate or low intermediate to high intermediate ESL. 20 video-based units with job and life skill lessons-- 141 lessons, more than 800 activities. OK, Practice English and Reading is considered intermediate level. It's includes real news stories and activities, and it builds vocabulary, speaking, and comprehension skills.

All right, and then we also have our USA Learns Citizenship course, which is intermediate level. And it prepares learners for all aspects of the naturalization interview. And from what folks in the field are telling me, that is what makes it so special. It covers topics such as getting legal help, steps to becoming a citizen, avoiding fraud, preparing for the N-400 application questions during the naturalization interview. Also, some great lessons on US history and government, and of course, we cover this speaking, reading, writing, and small talk, and other things too. And so far, about 200,000 learners have completed 2 million activities since this new course launched.

So let's talk a little bit more about the citizenship course while we're on the topic. This course has very high quality content and I'm very proud of it. It was developed in partnership with expert ESL and citizenship teachers. We also worked very closely with immigration attorneys at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services program specialists, both in Washington, DC and in Sacramento. All of those people were just absolutely amazing.

This course utilizes high quality resources that align with the USCIS Adult Education Citizenship Education Content Standards and Foundation Skills-- that's a mouthful-- and we used USA Learns best practices. And when I say that we used USA Learns best practices, I mean that when you've had more than 13 million people come to your website, you know where they get stuck. You know after answering many tech support questions over the years what's easy for folks and where they get confused. So we've utilized all those best practices in this new course.

So I realize some of you are probably ESL teachers by background, and some of you are citizenship teachers. So for those of you who don't have a lot of familiarity with the naturalization interview, I thought I would just take a moment to tell you in a nutshell what happens during that interview. So let's imagine for a moment that you're an immigrant to the United States, and you want to be a citizen. So you will have completed this form called the N-400 Application for Naturalization.

And it's a very long form. It's about 20 pages. And it asks very difficult questions about your background, your family, your work, your travel, illegal activities, all kinds of questions like that. And the vocabulary in that application is very challenging. I always think that maybe the IRS had something to do with creating that form, honestly. It's very complicated.

And so let's imagine it's the day of your interview. You have arrived there to the USCIS office, and you're sitting across the desk from the officer. And the officer is going to ask you various questions. So the first thing that will happen, or in some sequence, it doesn't really matter the order. You will be asked some questions about your N-400 application.

And they're basically trying to figure out are you eligible for citizenship? Are you telling the truth? Do your answers match the ones you wrote on the N-400? Are there errors in your N-400 application? Are there changes, such as a new address that they should be aware of?

They will also ask you some questions about US history and civics test, 10 questions from the list of 100 questions. I'm going to guess many of you have seen those lovely red flash cards that USCIS puts out. So we have created some online multi-media activities that teach those questions and answers.

Then there's also a reading and writing test. And folks need to be able to read one sentence out loud and write one sentence in English, and they get three chances to read and three chances to write. And when they write, they actually have to write on a tablet nowadays. It used to be a paper and pencil kind of thing, but now it's a tablet.

And the officer is also listening to see does this person speak English? And that includes small talk, which actually starts in the reception area when the applicant and the officer meet. How was the weather? Did you find somewhere to park? Those kinds of things. So that's just a little bit about the interview to set the stage.

Melinda: Andrea, we have a question. And you might be answering this in the future, but--

Andrea Willis: That's fine. Ask away.

Melinda: What's the average time that students need to complete the USA Learns citizenship?

Andrea Willis: That's a good question. I can't give you really an official answer. I think some teachers have told me that about three hours per unit. I think that would be a reasonable guesstimate.

Melinda: But it's self-paced, is it not.

Andrea Willis: It's very self-paced, yes. And it's going to depend, too, on the learner's English level, right? If their English is really great, they're going to go through it more quickly than someone who's struggling a bit more.

OK, so some praise from the experts. I don't know if Jennifer Gagliardi is with us on the line, but I always love sharing this slide. It's a really lovely quote that I got from Jennifer early on. And she said, "I'm not aware of another free resource that is this in-depth and prepares applicants for all aspects of the naturalization interview." And I just love that, so thank you, Jennifer, for that great quote. So it's time for a little tour of the learner site of USA Learns. We're going to start with the citizenship course, since we were just talking about that, and then we'll take a peek at the ESL courses.

So here I am on the home page of USA Learns. This is, in fact, where your learners would go. And if this is the first time your learner is coming here, they're going to want to click on this big red Start Now button and complete the registration form. And really, all we ask for is for same, last name, email address, and a password. I've been here about a million times, so I would click the Sign In button. And in fact, I've already done that because I didn't want you to watch me fumbling around, typing my password in wrong.

So here I am on the student My Home page. And you'll notice we've got our various courses listed here. And so I am going to show you the citizenship course. OK, so we have four units-- Steps to Becoming a US Citizen, the N-400 Interview Practice, Civics, Reading and Writing Practice, and Your Interview and New Citizenship. So let's just take a little tour-- Steps to Becoming a US Citizen.

OK, we have three lessons in this one. The first is Become a US Citizen, followed by First Steps, and then Be Prepared. So let's just take a little peek here-- Become a US Citizen. And while we're on this page, I'll show you. So see this right here and the same thing here-- we've got these columns here that show the status the completion status. I've been in here doing a lot of testing over the years.

So anytime you see a blue box like this that's filled in, that means that the student has completed that activity. And then you'll see some scores and some lines and maybe some dots over here on the right. And so, here, I got 100% on this Check Your Understanding. And this line here just means it's not a scoreable activity because we don't really give a grade. Just watching a video, So some things are not scored.

So here we are. You'll notice these blue lines. We've got the Introduction section, and Why Become a Citizen, and Am I Eligible. So let's just take a peek. So we've got this lovely welcome video. And so one thing I'll share with you before I play play this video is that it's probably not advised to play a video during a webinar because the timing might look a little off for you when you see this webinar. The video might be like a little-- might look like a weird lip sync job just because it's coming across the internet via webinar. But in real life, the videos, the lips are synced, I promise you. So here's a little welcome video. I'm going to fast forward it just a bit.

[video playback]

- Welcome to USA Learns Citizenship. My name is Jean, and I'll be your guide through this course.

[end playback]

Andrea Willis: So you'll notice, I clicked the Show Text button. And that's because when we were designing this, teachers told us that it would sure be nice if their students could follow along with the script, and so that's what you see here. And you can also hide it. Oh, I lied. It says Read Text, actually.

So we have our Learning Goals, and you'll notice lots and lots of Listen buttons. There's thousands of audio files inside of USA Learns because listening is such an important thing. And especially for the naturalization interview, and really, the whole point of what we're trying to do is prepare our learners to go and have a very important conversation an official kind of setting, right? So listening is such a key part of that. So let's just listen.

[audio playback]

- In this lesson, you will learn about the reasons to become a US citizen. You will also learn about the requirements for becoming a US citizen.

[end playback]

Andrea Willis: All right. So here we have a reading activity. And here we have a lovely video that we created about 10 Reasons to Become a Citizen. And I'll just play you a little peak of it. I'm going to fast forward-- doo, doo, doo, doo-- to the best of my ability to get us to where it's really starting.

[video playback]

- First, as a US citizen, you have the right to remain in the United States. You cannot be deported.

- Before I became a US citizen, I worried about changing immigration laws. Now, I feel confident that I can stay here for the rest of my life.

- US citizens can help more family members get legal status in the US and in a shorter time.

- After I became a citizen, my mom came to live with us from Taiwan.

[end playback]

Andrea Willis: So one thing you probably noticed there was that we put a lot of effort into the accents so that students would have an opportunity to hear different voices. Because one thing I learned from working on this project is that when the students go for their naturalization interview, a lot of times, the officer is him or herself actually from another country. So the officer might have an accent that sounds different than mine or yours. So we wanted to have some real authentic accents in here.

So here's a little Check Your Understanding activity to see if they understood that video that we just watched. So we'll do this one together. Let's see, what are some benefits of becoming a US citizen? All right, what do we think? You can vote. Yeah. You can help family members come to the US. Yeah. Your young children can more easily become US citizen. Yeah, that's true. You can travel with a US passport. OK, let's see if I got it right. I'm going to click the Check button, and yeah, I got it right.

And you'll notice down here at the bottom, I've got two stars. And that means I got it right on the first try. If I would have not answered correctly on the first try, I would have had another shot at it, but I would have only had one star. And my score would have reflected a less than full credit.

So another thing you'll notice inside USA Learns is lots and lots of vocabulary words. In this course, we call them Learn Key Words. In our in our other courses, I think we call them Learn New Words. So lots of imagery, lots of Listen buttons. These include the vocabulary word itself, a definition, and a sample sentence.

Melinda: And, Andrea--

[audio playback]


[end playback]

Andrea Willis: Yes, Melinda.

Melinda: I was trying to get to you before you hit that Listen button.

Andrea Willis: Yeah.

Melinda: Can students translate any of the info into their languages for better understanding?

Andrea Willis: That's a really great question. You know what? At this time, that is not something that we have, but it is a really great suggestion that comes in at times. But I think that they can do things like-- they might-- I haven't actually tried this myself. But what do you think, Melinda? Could they translate some things using some of the Google tools? I'm not sure, actually.

Anthony: Andrea?

Andrea Willis: Yes.

Anthony: This is Anthony.

Andrea Willis: Hey, Anthony.

Anthony: I just noticed, at the bottom of the page, if you scroll down at the bottom of the page, it says something about the citizenship videos in three other languages, Arabic, Spanish, and Tagalog.

Andrea Willis: Yeah, we have a few little like PSA kinds of videos about them, and that is true. And those can be found on our YouTube channel because we actually we had a nice little project we did with the Butte County Library. And they wanted some multilingual videos, so it was very cool. We were able to make some nice videos about preparing for your citizenship test. And we were able to do those in various language, but they're really short. They're more like PSAs.

Anthony: OK, so they're not the actual videos that students are watching. They're just that additional.

Andrea Willis: That is correct. It's like a little promo kind of thing.

Anthony: Got it. Thank you.

Andrea Willis: But thank you for asking. OK, so anyway, lots and lots of vocabulary.

Melinda: But wait, we're not done yet.

Andrea Willis: Keep asking. Go for it.

Melinda: Closed captioning on the videos, is that available.

Andrea Willis: I believe it is.

Melinda: So they're on the videos, if there's a CC button, folks, then they click on it, and they should get the closed captioning. Andrea, I believe there's a text of the video off to the side.

Andrea Willis: Yeah. A lot of the videos-- I'm not sure of this specific course it does, but I know that the English courses do, I believe, have a like Show Text or Read Text button. And when you click that button, the text will pop up on the right side so you can read along with it.

Melinda: Is the course, the citizenship course or the ESL course, are they smartphone compatible?

Andrea Willis: That's an excellent question. I will say they're optimized for computers and tablets because when we originally built this, there was no such thing as internet on phones. And it's definitely something we want to do. I would love to make some improvements to make it better on phones. I think a lot of learners do use it on phones, but it's not the total optimal experience for them. So they'll have to do like some pinching and zooming and scrolling and stuff like that. But I do see in looking at our Google Analytics, a lot of people are doing it on phones.

Melinda: OK, thank you.

Andrea Willis: Any more questions? OK, so let's see. Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo. All right, I'm going to show you one of my favorite buttons. This is actually my second favorite button. In a minute, I'll show you my very favorite button. This blue button here, right now, it says Lesson Menu, I'm going to click on it. And it basically it just takes me back one level. No matter where I'm at, it'll take me back a level.

OK, so checking out First Steps-- OK, so imagine you want to become a citizen. You're going to have to complete that N-400 form that I talked about, and there is a cost involved. And you're very likely going to need some legal help. So there's a lot of emphasis in this course about we want people to figure out if they need legal help, and we want them to get the correct type of legal help because there are a lot of dishonest people out there trying to scam applicants, and we don't like that.

And we want people to be prepared, obviously. And there's lots of ways to study for the naturalization interview. And I'll just share with you a few. Of course, USA Learns, not that I'm biased or anything, but I think that's a good place to learn. And the USCIS website is also a great place to learn. And here's where you guys come in. You can take citizenship and English as a second language classes at your nearby adult school, so thank you all for what you do there. And you can learn at your library.

OK, so we have a lot of information about red flags and you may or may not be familiar with that is it's a list of questions. And if you answer yes to any of the following questions that you should get some qualified legal help. And we definitely want people to avoid fraud, so let me just show you a bit about avoiding fraud. Doesn't that guy just look like such a scammer? We don't want him to rip us off. OK, here's a little video we made about common immigration fraud. And I apologize in advance to anyone from Brooklyn for this little accent we used. OK, here we go.

[video playback]

--tell you about is called the 10 year green card scam. With this one, this scammer says something like--

- Look, if you've been in the United States for 10 years or more, you qualify to get a green card. You need to pay me money to apply.

- If someone tells you this lie, do not give them any money. They can not apply for you. Only a judge can allow you to stay in the US if you have lived here at least 10 years. It is very hard to get this approval, and it has many requirements. You cannot apply for it unless you are already in immigration court.

[end playback]

Andrea Willis: All right, so there's lots of scams out there, including the disabled child scam and the phone scam. Lots of scams, and we want our students to be aware of those. OK, now let's check out the N-400 Interview Practice, so I'll click on that link.

Teachers in the field tell me this is really the shining star of the whole course because this is what students cannot find online, as I understand it, anywhere else, especially for free. The units here are aligned with the sections of that N-400 application, and so it's information about you, and your contact information, your employment, schools and travel, family relationships, your civic responsibility, memberships and associations, illegal activities, and loyalty and the oath.

So let's just take a little peek at contact information. Why not? So every lesson starts with some learning goals and some keywords. Let's check that out. OK, so you have to put your telephone and email into that N-400 applications, so you should know the words, right? What is your daytime phone number? It's the phone number you use during the day. Evening phone number, cell phone, you get the idea.

Lots of questions about where you live and self-assessment. And at the end of each of the lessons, we have a learning log, which is basically where the learner will say so I'm supposed to select all the words that I know and the skills that I have after studying this lesson. So OK, do I know this daytime phone number? Yeah. Previous home address? Yeah. Zip code, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I know all these things.

So let's say I only answered half of them right. I will hit Done, and I'll get a message that says you learned a lot, but you should do this lesson again or some verbiage like that. So if you get less than 80%, you get the you should do it again message. And because I was so amazingly clever and I got them all right, it's going to tell me good job. I learned a lot, and I should continue to the next lesson.

So this is a section all about employment school and travel. I think the one I want to show you is the one about illegal activities. This is when teachers tell me their students really find these juicy exciting sections. Like how do you talk about some illegal activity you might have done years ago or whenever it was? So we have some learn keywords related to criminal records and crimes.

Commit a crime or offense-- have you ever committed a crime or offense? That's a question the interviewer might ask you. Have you ever been arrested? Have you been cited, detained? All these vocabulary words you need to know because the officer can ask you questions about them.

And sometimes, applicants are just tempted to say no, no, no when asked have you ever done XYZ thing. They say no. You may know this, that the officer can say, oh, really, well what does that mean? What is detained or what is genocide? And the applicant needs to be able to explain that. So here is a listening activity. OK, going to select four keywords that we hear. Here we go.

[audio playback]

- Have you ever committed, assisted in committing, or attempted to commit a crime or offense for which you were not arrested?

[end playback]

Andrea Willis: Let's see, I wasn't listening very closely. It's out of order. I need one more answer. Not arrested-- OK, yeah, yeah, fine, not arrested. Let's see, did I do it? Yay, I did it. OK, so lots of great listening activities you'll find it here. OK, here's one of these stories the teachers tell me their students love. This is Paul's story. Just a quick listen to Paul's story.

[audio playback]

- Seven years ago, Paul was stopped by the police after he had been drinking at a party. The police took him to the station, and he spent the night in jail. He had to pay about $9,000.

[end playback]

Andrea Willis: We won't listen to the whole thing, but there is a question that follows. How will Paul answer this question?

[audio playback]

- Have you ever committed, assisted in committing, or attempted to commit a crime or offense for which you were not arrested?

[end playback]

Andrea Willis: No, I haven't. Yay, I got it right. OK, one more of these, and then we'll move on. How will Paul answer this question?

[audio playback]

- Have you ever been arrested, cited, or detained by any law enforcement officer, including any immigration official or any official of the US armed forces for any reason?

[end playback]

Andrea Willis: Unfortunately, sir, yes I have. All right, so that's a little sample of that. All right.

Melinda: Andrea, we have a lot of questions coming in about the teacher side and what the teachers see. This is really great.

[interposing voices]

Melinda: I think they're--

Andrea Willis: Let's move on to teacher side, OK. Would we like a little peek at the English courses, or just do you guys to want to go straight up to the teacher site? What do you think, Melinda?

Melinda: I'm going to wait for somebody to type in the chat. Here we go. Teacher or student, folks? We got it.

Andrea Willis: What's our vote, guys?

Melinda: ESL. OK, so let's show a little bit of the ESL--

Andrea Willis: Let's do that.

Melinda: And then go to the teacher--

Andrea Willis: Awesome, let's totally do that. OK, so I'm going to go to my home, and I'm going to pick an ESL course. So let's start with this one here. This is our first English course. So you'll see a unit menu.

We have some basic instruction about words that one might use in the classroom, and numbers, and telling time, the calendar, et cetera, et cetera-- family school clothes. Let's look at Clothes. There we go. Clothes and Colors.

And let's check out-- there's a nice little piece in Language Practice that is quite nice, OK. So just looking at my notes. Conversations-- OK, so the perfect present-- so there are these really cute characters in here. And this one guy, Miguel, has a crush on a girl.

[video playback]

- Miquel, wake up. Miguel. Miguel.

- What-- oh, sorry.

- Who are you thinking about?

[end playback]

Andrea Willis: So, anyway, his character is quite adorable. And the students really look forward to tuning in and seeing what will they do next and how this little boyfriend/girlfriend situation go.

OK, so let's see here. Click the correct answer. Miguel is thinking about Jane. I believe that is her name, yay. OK, so lots of multiple-choice questions about the video that they just watched.

OK, so that's a little peek of how the level or the type of information that is in the first English course. I'm going to hit Unit Menu. Because I know you guys are excited to see the teacher-side.

So I'm going to give you a quick little peek into a couple of these other courses. Now, let's see. The next one in line is English 1 Plus.

So that's the one, as I mentioned, that is based on The Voice of America-- Let's Learn English piece. So OK, let's go to Unit 1. And we have these-- let me get this gigantic hand out of the way.

Here, in this one, you'll see we've got What Are You Doing? Are You Busy? Come Over to my Place. This is My Neighborhood. How About This? And then we have the unit review.

So just to give you a little sampling, let's check out Are You Busy? So, Ana Matteo, the main character in this story moved to Washington, DC. And she just got her first job there.

So she's trying to get-- she's trying to learn what her job is. And let me see here. Let's watch-- so Ana has been going around trying to talk to everybody. And she's worried she's been annoying them all.

[video playback]

- Hi, Ann. Are you busy?

- Hi, Ana. Yes, at 10:00 AM, I am writing. Every day, I do my morning show. Sorry.

- OK, see you later.

[end playback]

Andrea Willis: OK, So--

[video playback]

- Hi, Ann, are you busy?

- Hi, Ana. Yes, at 10:00 AM, I am writing. Every day, I do my morning show. Sorry.

- OK, see you later maybe.

- Maybe I'll see you later.

[end playback]

Andrea Willis: OK, so the question is, what does Ann do every day at 10:00 AM? I think she-- yes, she does her morning show, OK.

So there is a little peek. I won't get into too much of it. But you guys are more than welcome to check out English 1 Plus.

Melinda: And, Andrea, going through your menu there, can teachers use an email address to create an account as a teacher and use the same email address to create an account as a student?

Andrea Willis: Yeah, that's an excellent question. So you would need to-- if a teacher wants to preview USA Learns to see what it looks like as a student, they totally can do that. And that's great.

So you'd need to use one email address for your student account, and then use a very different email address for your teacher account. Because the email addresses, like your unique identifier, that's how we keep you straight and know whose stuff is whose. [laughs]

So, yeah, great question, Melinda. And that's a question we get quite often. All right, any other questions, Melinda, or shall I continue on?

Melinda: We're good.

Andrea Willis: OK, all right, so here we are. Let's take a little peek at the second English course. And I am going to click on this lovely Select a Different Unit link. Because I've been here before.

So we have some really wonderful topics such as Workers in the Workplace, Housing and Family Life, Taxes Law and Community Issues, Parenting and Workplace Roles, and Education and Information. And today we're going to take a little peek inside of Parenting and Workplace Roles.

And I want to show you one of my favorite little storylines here. It's about Women's Work Issues. And we've got this lovely character who is getting harassed by her boss, who is really a jerk. So I'm going to click on this Story Startup. Let's watch-- link called Despicable Behavior.

[video playback]

[music playing]

- These are for you.

- What?

- Would you like to have dinner with me?

- No thank you. Why are you doing this?

- Marteda, you know how I feel about you. I want us to be your friends. I want us to be good friends.

- You are strange, Cornelio. You just tried to fire me the other day. Now, you want to be friends?

- Oh, that. Let's not talk about the past.

[end playback]

Andrea Willis: All right, so you get the idea. Yeah, he tried to fire her the other day. All right, so let's do a little comprehension check.

So Marta thinks Cornelio is a wonderful human being. I think that is false. And I am correct. One more-- the worker's goal is to reach 100 orders per week. Oh, dang, I didn't watch that part of it.

Oh, let's see. Oh, I guessed right. OK, good. OK, so that's a little peek into the second English course. And I invite you to check it out more on your own later.

All right, let's get out of this one. OK, another English course we have is called Practice English and Reading. And this is the one, you might remember, I said, it's based on real news stories.

So we're going to go in there. And let's see. Nature-- let's see here.

Oh, here's my favorite one. Crabs Cause Problems. I think that is such a funny title. OK, so we've got a basic story.

So, basically, oh, yeah that guy would cause problems, wouldn't he? It's a basic story that we got from our local news station. And we took the story that we got originally, and we simplified it to easier language.

And this is where we can do some Learn New Words. Then we click the Next button. And we can learn all 10 of the words.

We have some definitions, and spelling, and some speaking opportunity. There's a comprehension game. All right, so we're not going to get into that too much. But you can definitely check it out on your own later.

OK, so I think that was a little peek at all of the courses. And while we're in here, I'm going to show you this navigation. These links on the right-- we have Messages, and Change My Password, Change My Email Address, Change My Name, And Role in My Teacher's Class. Remember that one. Because I'm going to show it to you in a minute and need help.

So, this is, again, the student side. And that's the navigation that they have on the right. OK, let's pop back to my presentation.

OK, so now we're going to talk about creating a teacher account. Because I know that's what you guys really want to hear about. So how does one do that?

So to make a teacher account, the first thing you want to do is make sure you're at the right website. So usalearns/teacher. That's really important. Make sure you're there. Because you really, really don't want to accidentally do that on the student-side. And then you'll be entirely confused.

So when you arrive here to register, you're going to click on this big red Register button. And, as you can guess, when you come in next time, you're going to click this blue Sign-in button.

OK, so this is what the registration page looks like. And I know that's really teeny, tiny text. And I don't expect you to see that. So I chopped the page up into two to make it easier to read for your webinar.

And so this is the top part of the registration form. You'll notice, you need to add your email address. And it needs to be a real email address.

Don't put a fake one in there. Because we will-- as soon as you complete the registration form, we will send an email to that address. And there's a big link in there. And in a moment, I'll show it to you. You'll need to confirm it.

So put a real email address. And it needs to be one that is not already used on a student's site. And so here's one question that people ask. So, oh, let's imagine I forgot to click that link in that email and confirm my account. And, basically, what happens is if you forget your password, you can't use the password reset feature. So, anyway, we ask that you please, please confirm your email address.

OK, this is the--

Melinda: Andrea?

Andrea Willis: Yeah.

Melinda: If teachers did register like, let's say, six months ago, and they forgot. And then they try and register again with the same email address. What would happen?

Andrea Willis: I think that if we still have you in our site-- if that email address addresses in there, it will say, oh, this email address is already in there. Use the Reset Your Password feature. And if that doesn't work, you can always email us at

Melinda: So if they do click on that Reset Your Password, they'll get an email to that email address. And then they can click the link within that message and then start to use their account again.

Andrea Willis: I think that's how it works. I personally haven't done it in a while. But I think that's the deal.

Melinda: And we've got a few-- you might want to address that issue you were talking about. Like when everyone came in the room.

Andrea Willis: Oh, yeah. I was telling Melinda.

Melinda: It's coming up.

Andrea Willis: Yeah, sorry guys. It's been interesting. The use of our site has skyrocketed. We have maybe four times more people hitting the site than we ever have. Because everyone's needing to work at home, right?

So if, by any chance, you have tried to register. And you got an email that says, this email is already taken, my apologies. We did some troubleshooting yesterday. And I think we tracked it down. And I think we fixed it. There was some weird setting on the server that the guys were able to fix.

So, hopefully, that should be fixed now. And if it happens to happen to you, please email us at And we will help you.

OK, so this is the second half of that registration form. You'll notice, Country and Agency Type. And you're going to pull down to select Adult School Most Likely. You're going to type in your agency name here and come up with a password that's at least six letters or numbers with no spaces, and then type it exactly the same way again in the Confirm Password box. And then you're going to hit Register.

OK, so then really fast, within 10 minutes or so, I think it's about 10 minutes is what it's set at now. And I want to change it to longer. But, today, it's within 10 minutes. You need to go check that email account that you used when you registered. And you will see an email from us with a big ol' long link in it.

And we just ask that you please, please, click the link. And that will make your account all official. So please do that.

And your students will have to do the same thing when they register. They'll get an email. So that's why it's important that the students basically do the same process too.

OK, so let's imagine I've registered, I'm in, and now it's time to make my first class. Ooh, this is so exciting.

OK, so there's only really-- it's going to be pretty clear. There's one big button here that says, Start a New Class. And you're going to want to click on it.

And then you're going to-- a little form will pop up. And you're going to type in the title of your class. It might be English 101 or whatever you call it. And then there's a pull-down here in this Based on Course field.

There's a pull-down menu. You'll click it. And you'll see the names of all our courses. Let's say you want to make a beginning English class for your students. So you're going to pick first English course, or maybe it's going to be Citizenship course, whatever.

And then type a little description in this description field. And put a Start Date. And then I ask don't put anything in the end date. Because on that date, your class will end. And no one will be able to log in. I actually would like to get rid of the end date. But, for now, it's there.

And then click the Create My Class button. And then, boom. You've got a class. OK, so this is what my page looks like when I log in with my awesome fake students.

So let's imagine that you're the student, and I'm the teacher for a moment, OK? So I want to invite you to my first English course. And I have a class key for each of my courses.

So, I would give you, the student, this code here. It's an eight-- it's like numbers and letters-- digit class key. So you give that to your students.

OK, now let's imagine for a minute now. Woo-hoo, now I'm a student here. OK, my teacher gave me the class key. What should I do with it? Oh, I know. I'm going to click on this link here that says Enroll in My Teacher's Class. So, boom.

OK, so I'm still a student. Here's that key my teacher gave me. I'm going to put it right here. I'm going to hit enroll. And, boom, now we are magically connected.

So now you, as the teacher, can see your students' activities and monitor their progress. OK, so I wanted to show you that registration piece inside this presentation instead of trying to do that all live. Because it was going to be more clunky.

So let's check out the teacher-side. OK, so here I am on the Home page. Again, if it's my first time here, I click the Register button. I fill out the form. If I'm returning, I hit Sign In. I have already.

Let's see, where's my teacher? I already logged-in. I lied. Did I? Nope, it's timed me out. Hang on. You get to watch me log in. See if I can get in. Hopefully, I can. Because that'll be super embarrassing if I can't. Yeah, I got in.

OK, so here I am. I have all these fake students. Because I'm not really a teacher. I'm a project-manager kind of person.

So let's just take a little tour of what is here on the teacher-side for you, OK? So we already talked about the Start a New Class button. That's super easy. No problem.

Let's look at one of my classes where I have some students. So in this class, Andrea's Demo Class, I have two amazing students.

So let me click on that. OK, so here I can do various things. I can view the class roster. I can make a new message. There is the ability for me to post a message on my students' Home page either individually or as a group.

There's Student Activity by Class. I can share the class key, which I talked about a bit ago. And I can edit class details. So let's just peek at these. So View Class Roster.

OK, so here we go. Oh, I've got Fred Flintstone in my class and Andrea Willis in my class. There's their email addresses. Those are the enrollment dates.

I can see Andrea's last access date. Fred is really slacking. He has never accessed it at all. I'm going to have to have a chat with him. And both are active.

And I can change that. Let's say I decide, Fred, you're out of here. OK, so now he is not active. [laughs]

So let's see. So that's the class roster. And then there's the class key. There's various ways that you can share that with your students, for example, you could write it on a whiteboard, or you could display this on your projector. But since you guys don't even have your students in your classes right now, that makes it-- you don't need that option.

You can email instructions to students. That might be your best bet right now. OK, so student email, student email, send the email-- boom. OK, looks good here.

Edit Details-- I can edit my class details. Let's say I want to change the name of my class. I can do that here. Ooh, there's my amazing description that I wrote a while ago. So that's how I edit.

And let's say I want to delete a class. Wait a minute. Before you delete it, be really, really, really sure that you want to delete it. Because once you delete it, you'll really delete it.

And student activity by class-- so let's say we want to pull a report. And this is really cool. You'll like this. I'm not actually going to do it right now to save time. But I can put a start date and an end date. And I hit Generate Report. And then I will see a nice report that shows my students' activities by class.

Anthony: Andrea?

Andrea Willis: Yeah.

Anthony: This is Anthony.

Andrea Willis: Hey, Anthony.

Anthony: So on that report, what format is the report coming in? Is it an Excel spreadsheet? Is it a PDF?

Andrea Willis: I think it might be Excel, honestly. Let's see. Because I haven't done it in a while. It's such a bad, fake course I have. Because I don't even really-- my students' haven't really done much.

Let's see. Let's see what happens, Anthony. I haven't done this in a long time. OK, so here is what shows up on-screen. And I can download as a CSV file.

And I think I have heard about people copying this part of it. Because I think, actually, you would have more students. This is so fake. It's a bad example, right?

I've heard of people copying this table and putting it into Excel to do more with it if they wanted to.

Anthony: OK, and if people don't know, or they're not familiar with CSV, basically, it looks very familiar or very similar to an Excel spreadsheet. It's not exactly an Excel form. But it's very close. The data will look like what it typically looks like in an Excel spreadsheet.

Andrea Willis: Thank you, Anthony. That was helpful.

Anthony: Thank you, Andrea.

Andrea Willis: Yeah, OK, so that is that. Let's see what else we have here that might be amazing to show you. OK, so here, up in the navigation bar, we have some instructions. So some tips for teachers on how to create a class, how to manage classes and students, technical requirements, frequently asked questions, some basic info like that.

And this Resources page is very nice. We've got an overview of USA Learns. We've got Curriculum Scope and Sequence the teachers really like including the Key Vocabulary, Grammar, and Language Functions.

And we've got this placement quiz. I'll tell you, my team was working really hard on this to get this updated before today. Because the tech was using Flash. And we had to get rid of Flash. Because Flash is going away.

But we had this little placement quiz that you can have your students take to help determine which course they should go in. And so there's about I did it yesterday testing it. There are about 25 questions. If they do well, there's about 25 questions. If they really struggle, I think we stop them at 10.

And then it generates a recommendation of which course they should go in. And this placement quiz-- we need to do some updating to it. Because we built it before the English 1 Plus course existed.

So, anyway, so it'll basically say, oh, you should take the first English course, or you should take the second English course. And if you think, oh, that-- maybe it says you should take first English course. You think, oh.

I think my students' have a little more English than that. Then you might want to give a try with the English 1 Plus. Let's see. We have some really lovely video scripts for the second English course that you can download.

And teachers are always so amazingly creative with making activities out of those types of things. So that's why we made those scripts available for you.

This is info about the Citizenship course, which we talked about-- a little info about our apps and a link to the student site if you need to use that.

Melinda: Andrea, we have a request to please show us the Work To Do feature.

Andrea Willis: Work To Do.

Melinda: In the-- yeah, up at the top there on your screen.

Andrea Willis: Oh, disregard this section. You're seeing this. Because I'm a super powerful admin user.

Melinda: She's a super admin. So you don't get that.

Andrea Willis: Yours would look like that.

Melinda: But if a student returns a writing assignment--

Andrea Willis: Yeah, let's check this out. So let's say your student does a writing assignment. Because some of these courses have writing assignments. There's a little thing. I think you would probably see a number or something here to indicate that you have some writing.

Melinda: There's a yellow box.

Andrea Willis: There we go. It's been a while since I've used this as me the fake teacher. So graded writing assignments-- so let's see here. I don't think I have any that need to be done. No grading assignments for me now.

But if my amazing students would have submitted some work, I would be able to see that here. I would click on it. And I would be able to provide a score.

OK, and then Messages-- let's see here. Below is a list of the messages that I have sent in the past 90 days. "To modify an existing message or change its display status, click the message title." And you can add a new message by going to your My Home Page, select the class you want to message, and create a new message.

So it's not-- one of the things people ask us is if there is like a total communication feature to communicate with your students. And I will say, it's a tiny communication feature that we have. If you want to have major conversations back and forth with your students-- probably email or another way is probably going to be a better bet. OK.

Melinda: And, Andrea, can students see the graded writing assignment?

Andrea Willis: Yes, they can.

Melinda: So once you've graded it, they can see it?

Andrea Willis: Yeah, on their Home page, they'll see a little message that pops up. So they will know that it's been graded, yes.

Melinda: And we have a question.

Andrea Willis: Yeah.

Melinda: If students open an account-- and I'm going to add to the question that was submitted. So if students' open an account because they want to learn English. And they didn't know about the site before the teacher does. And then that teacher creates a class.

When the teacher invites the student to the class, will the teacher see all of the students' scores?

Andrea Willis: I think that their prior work goes with them, yes.

Melinda: Yeah.

Andrea Willis: I believe that's how it works.

Melinda: So students can have an independent class, or they can be attached to a teacher.

Andrea Willis: Yeah, and when a teacher-- let's say, the teacher-- they're done with the teacher's class, the student still keeps all that info. They still keep their score history and their activity history.

Anthony: And, Andrea, can I just add, I'm not sure that you addressed it when you first talked about the origins of USA Learns. But USA Learns essentially was for the student originally. And there was a teacher connection to students' work.

And that's one of the upgrades that you all have done, right? You're trying to really make it more like a distance learning environment where the students are working. And then the teachers have access to the student works. So this is-- it's still a work in progress, right?

Andrea Willis: Right, and I say that. Because it's a funny project. Because it has a huge user-base. But we have no funding. [laughs]

So it's a labor of love. And we're always trying to find grants and things to add new features and enhancements. Because there's a lot of-- we have a long wish list of things we would love to do. And it's interesting doing that on a free project with no funding. [laughs]

All right, so that was a little demo of the teacher-side. I'm going to pop back to my PowerPoint here. OK, so I want to recap with you all.

We get a lot of tech support questions from folks. Because I think, sometimes, the sequence of events-- the order in which teachers are supposed to do things gets a little confusing. So I included this slide to recap.

OK, so the first thing as a teacher you'd want to do is register as a teacher at, OK. Then you'll quickly get an email from us. You want to go check your email, click on that big long link to confirm your account. And thank you, thank you, thank you for doing that.

Then you're going to log into the Teachers site. Then you'll create a class like I showed you. Then if you're ready, you can distribute your class key to the students. But keep in mind, they should already have USA Learns accounts. Because that's another point of confusion. And then you monitor your student's progress as they complete the work.

Melinda: Andrea, could we go back to the site so that you can see. I think this is in the report. But the question came up, how can teachers see how much time that student has spent on blah, blah, blah.

Andrea Willis: Yeah, let's see here. Which one is it? OK, let's see. Maybe it's this one. No.

Anthony: Andrea, that's it. Because--

Andrea Willis: Is this it?

Melinda: Class Roster.

Andrea Willis: Class Roster, sorry. I'm not really a teacher.

Melinda: Fred Flintstone.

Andrea Willis: [laughs] I'm not really a teacher. I don't do this very often. Hang on. Let me go. This one actually did something. Student Grade Book-- here we go. There we go. I forgot to show this part. I'm glad you reminded me.

OK, so here we are in the Student Grade Book. And we're looking at one student's activity in here. So you can see by unit. This student tried 21 times. She is so dedicated.

This is the last time she accessed it. And she spent a total of 22 minutes and 17 seconds.

Melinda: And why isn't there a score?

Andrea Willis: Yeah, because I think this one's a video. And we don't give a score for watching a video. And Learning Goals is just reading. And we don't give a score for reading.

But, this one down here is a multiple-choice comprehension test or activity. And this person got 100% on it.

So that's why you see some lines. All right, so let me go back. There may be some other things I forgot to show you. I think I got that. I think I got that. I think where I didn't show enough detail was on the detail of time spent.

So I'm glad you asked me about that, Melinda. Was there anything else in here that I should show you guys before I go back onto some frequently asked questions we get from teachers and that kind of thing?

Melinda: I think, the teachers are almost understanding. [laughs]

Andrea Willis: OK, good.

Melinda: That students need to have an email address.

Andrea Willis: They do.

Melinda: And, folks, way back in the day, I used to do support for USA Learns.

Andrea Willis: She was amazing.

Melinda: Well, it was OK. [laughs]

Andrea Willis: [laughs] It was OK.

Melinda: Well, back in the day, we didn't require students to have email addresses. And it caused a lot of problems. Just so many that I can't even begin to tell you.

So in order to mitigate the problems including the security issues that we have started-- that we have to implement now, they need to have an email address. If they have a smartphone, they do have an email address. They might not know what it is, but they have one.

And if they don't have one, we're going to be having some webinars coming up on how students can create real simple How to Create an Email Address for a student whether their using email or Yahoo or whatever. Just click, click, click. So you will record the video. And then you'll have that--

Andrea Willis: Can you give it to me? I'll put it on the site. [laughs]

Melinda: Sure.

Andrea Willis: Seriously.

Melinda: Seriously, yes.

Andrea Willis: I know. I'm serious. I want it.

Melinda: So but they need to have an email address.

Andrea Willis: Yep, thank you. Thank you, it's very true.

Melinda: I think I've addressed about five questions there.

Andrea Willis: Thank you. Yeah, I know. It's a super common question we get. And I totally understand, it's not easy when a student shows up in your class, they don't speak English very well, maybe their technical skills are not very good. And there you are saying, make an email address. And there is a lot to it. It sounds easy for me sitting here in my chair. But, I know, for you, in your chair, it can be difficult.

OK, so here we are on a slide about-- it's a little recap for students. These are their steps for getting started with USA Learns. So as Melinda mentioned, number 1, they should have a real email address that they can check within 10 minutes of registering.

And then the student would go to And they would click that big, red Start Now button to register. After they register, they go and they check their email. They go to their email account. And they find the email from us.

And they click that big ole long link in it. Then they log into And there-- yay, they'll be on their My Home Page. And they can start learning.

If you've already given them a class key, they can enter that in there on the right like I showed you. And, ta-da, they can start studying their lessons. So that's the student sequence of events that can be a little tricky sometimes.

OK, so a few questions that come in frequently. Do my students need an email address to register? And we've talked about that a few times, yes. And we totally get it. We know it's challenging.

In chatting with various teachers in the field, when I've asked them, my goodness. What should I tell people when they call asking about this, or when they email us? They say, well, it really is a necessary-- it's a necessary digital literacy skill. I mean, when applicants go to apply, for example, to be a US citizen you've got to have an email address So I know it's hard, but it would be lovely if they can all have one

OK, another one. Do my students need to confirm their account too? And the answer is yes. And we've talked about that.

OK, here's a frequently asked question. How can I, a teacher, preview the courses as a student? OK, so you can create a student account at The only tricky thing is, you need to use a different email address than your teacher account, OK.

Anthony: Andrea.

Andrea Willis: Yes.

Anthony: Sorry, just one of the questions on the Q&A and maybe this-- so what exactly happens if you miss that 10-minute window for-- then what do you have to either as a teacher or student?

Andrea Willis: That's a great question. So, basically, what happens is if you forget your password, you won't be able to use the Reset Your Password feature. So you have to email us at

And it's a pain for you. And it might take us a day or so to get to you. So it's just better if you can just do it and then you can independently you know reset your password because half the people forget it. [laughs]

Anthony: And that would go for teachers-- oh, sorry. for students as well-- for everyone.

Andrea Willis: Exactly, for everyone. It's for everyone. Thank you, that's a great question. OK, so one thing you'll notice when you're inside USA Learns that there are some ads in there.

And I held off for years and years on putting any ads in there. Because it was kind of-- it just wasn't something I really wanted to do.

But it came to a point where I had a choice. I was going to have to shut down USA Learns. Because we could not afford to keep doing it for free. Because there are a lot of real costs-- server hosting, programmers, tech support people, a new course development.

So, anyway, that's why the ads. And we try really hard to keep them unobtrusive. We don't want them to be obnoxious-- in your face.

I would bet you've probably been to some web sites-- some educational websites where you're looking at it. And you can't tell if the thing you're looking at is an ad, or if it's supposed to be learning content.

So we try really hard to keep it out of the way down at the bottom or on the far-right. But those ads are what let us keep this site alive. So thank you for your patience with the ads.

OK, what devices can students use? And, as I mentioned earlier, the site is optimized for computers and tablets. If you have a rich uncle, or you know somebody who wants to give us a grant, we're definitely looking for some funding to make the site more mobile-friendly and do a bunch of other upgrades also.

Oh, so this is some bad news I wanted to share with you guys. So you might be familiar with our USA Learns English apps, which they're lovely. They don't actually connect to the website in any way.

But, as you've probably heard, Flash is really, really going away here probably by the end of the calendar year. And so when Flash is no longer supported, we're going to have to, at least for a while, until I have some means of redoing those, those apps will be retired. And I'm not happy about that news. But I wanted to share that with you while I had you here.

Let's see. What resources are there to help teachers get started? And we actually looked at this page a bit ago. It's that Resources page for teachers.

Where we've got the Scope and Sequence and the link to the Assessment and all that stuff. How many courses can I make? Well, you can make as many as you want. And we hope you enjoy them.

Melinda: But don't-- I'm sorry, I remember this when we went back a long time ago.

Andrea Willis: Don't make a million of them.

Melinda: There you go.

Andrea Willis: You're not going to use them. It's like when you go to the buffet. Only take as much as you can actually eat. [laughs]

Melinda: Exactly. [laughs]

Andrea Willis: Don't leave any on your plate, please.

Anthony: Andrea.

Andrea Willis: Yes.

Anthony: But I think some people do have technical questions. So there's still a little bit of confusion. So students-- if I'm one student, I theoretically could enroll in your level 1, level 1 plus, level 3. I could enroll in all courses, right?

Andrea Willis: Yes.

Anthony: I'm not limited to just one course, for example.

Andrea Willis: That's true. But I think you can only be in like one first English course. I don't think you can. If one teacher already has you in their first English course, you can't be in multiple teachers' same course, basically.

Anthony: OK.

Andrea Willis: So that's one little nuance.

Anthony: Right, I mean, if the student independently on their own on the student-side, they could enroll in all the courses, right? They could be doing 1, 1 plus, 2, 3, Citizenship all at the same time.

Andrea Willis: Yeah, there's no limit.

Anthony: I don't think there's any human being that could actually do that.

Andrea Willis: [laughs] I know.

Anthony: But they could.

Andrea Willis: Yeah, theoretically they could, absolutely.

Anthony: OK, thank you.

Andrea Willis: Thank you, yeah.

Melinda: Teachers-- when they-- I'm sorry, we keep interrupting.

Andrea Willis: I'm glad you are. Because I want to answer everyone's questions. And I don't know what they are. [laughs]

Melinda: When a teacher creates an account, they can create as many classes as they want. They're using that same email address. So don't think that you have to have a different email address for every class that you create.

Andrea Willis: That is true.

Melinda: You can have five classes based on the first English course. You can have eight classes based on the Citizenship course. As long as you have more than one student in each class. [laughs]

Andrea Willis: There you go.

Melinda: So we've got some other questions here.

Andrea Willis: Go ahead.

Melinda: The placement tests-- there is a placement test that Andrea showed. It's very simple. And, actually, the teachers have more knowledge of their students.

Andrea Willis: Absolutely.

Melinda: So use it with a grain of salt.

Andrea Willis: That's right, you know them better than we do.

Melinda: When I log in as a teacher, can I see the Activity menu?

Andrea Willis: When you log in as a teacher, you cannot see the Activity menu. That is when you're going to want to go to, which is the Learner site.

And you're going to want to make yourself a student account. So that you can see what your students would ultimately see. And that is when you're going to need a different email address than your teacher email address.

Melinda: Right, so be two different people.

Andrea Willis: Yeah, be two different people.

Melinda: A student and a teacher. Can you pick and choose what activities you can do in USA Learns Citizenship?

Andrea Willis: We don't really have mechanisms in place for the teacher to say, oh, I want my students to do this one and this one and this one, but not this one. It would be more a communication thing between you and your students. And you would tell them which ones you want them to do.

Melinda: OK, and do you have certificates of completion to download? I already know the answer. But you go ahead.

Andrea Willis: Yes, yes, actually, I'm so glad someone asked that. We do not. And it's definitely something we have thought long and hard about.

Because it sounds really great in concept. And then, when it comes down to it, our advisors thought that we should not do that. Because students-- if they printed something, they would think it was all official. Like, yay, I just got a college diploma or something.

And it's really not that official. But I do tell people, if the student wants, the students could go in and print their unit menu page, which shows complete, complete, complete.

You remember all those blue boxes they showed you and their scores? If somebody wanted something, they could print that. It's not as official as some kind of certificate, though. All right, any more questions bubbling there, or shall I?

Melinda: We have somebody referencing the PETW Moodle that OTAN houses. I'm just going to address that real quick.

Andrea Willis: Please do.

Melinda: Putting English to Work-- some of the videos are in USA Learns. And the Putting English to Work videos that are on the Moodle are different.

There are activities on the Moodle. Karen Lang is the one that had the question. And she says that USA Learns seems easier for students to use. I would agree. [laughs]

But I also know that students are familiar with Moodle. And they think that that's easy to so. Try one, and if you're not getting the results you need or want then try the other one.

Andrea Willis: Exactly.

Melinda: So find what fits you and your students.

Andrea Willis: Yep, that's good advice, Melinda.

Anthony: And I will-- can I just add?

Andrea Willis: Please, yeah.

Anthony: Moodle as a learning management system also gives you the ability to customize the Moodle course. So if you did want to add like other materials in addition to what's already there. And it's already-- it's pretty rich as it is.

But if you wanted to add some more activities or whatever, you have the ability to do that at Moodle. But in the USA Learns, Andrea, you basically-- what you see is what you get, right?

Andrea Willis: That's right. That's right. All right.

Melinda: Can teachers create their own certificates of completion without violating any USA Learns guidelines?

Andrea Willis: Sure, have at it.

Melinda: There you go.

Andrea Willis: I guess we would put some disclaimer between us. This certificate is not endorsed by the US Learns and Sacramento County Office of Education. [laughs]

You could if you want to. But it wouldn't be very official or anything.

Melinda: Well, would it be OK for them to use the logo or not? Probably not.

Andrea Willis: Probably not. I mean, I would like to say yes. But if the attorney were sitting here, she'd probably say no.

Anthony: Andrea.

Andrea Willis: Yeah.

Anthony: Sorry, there was another question. It hasn't made its way over to Q&A. It was in a chat.

Andrea Willis: OK.

Anthony: So someone said that the Citizenship course cannot be accessed by phone or a mobile device. Is that true or not true?

Andrea Willis: I don't know. I'm not sure that it's true entirely. I do know, as I keep saying, the site is not optimized. None of the courses are optimized for phones.

I'm not aware of the Citizenship course specifically being any different than the others. I do know the students need to pinch and scroll and stuff.

And I have heard too that some of the time-tracking may not work perfectly on phones. But I'm not sure. I'm not aware of the Citizenship course being really any different than any of the other ones.

But it's definitely somewhere where-- that's my main goal in life is to find to get a grant or something to get it more optimized for phones. Because I know a lot of our learners only have phones.

Anthony: And, Andrea, so actually, Jamie asked a question. I'm not sure if you addressed it or not. And I think I finally understand what the question is.

Andrea Willis: Oh, OK, what is it?

Anthony: OK, so let's say, for example, a student finishes one of the courses. Let's say that they start-- or they start and finish the level 1 course.

Andrea Willis: OK.

Anthony: OK, so, theoretically, they are ready for 1B or 2.

Andrea Willis: Mm-hmm.

Anthony: But is there some kind of procedure that gets them into the next course because they finished the previous course?

Andrea Willis: Yeah, I'm trying to remember. It's been a while since I've gone to that very last activity in a course to see. It might automatically take you to the next course that's in sequence, or it might take you to My Home Page, which has a list of all the courses. And so it might be a good opportunity.

Melinda: It does both.

Andrea Willis: I think so, yeah.

Melinda: At the end, they're prompted to go to the next course.

Andrea Willis: I think that's true. I think that's true. So it might be worth having some communication to your students. Hey, if you're getting toward the end of first English course, the next one you want to do is English 1 plus, or if you're ending with English 1 plus, go to second English course.

I think it does automatically take you to the next one. But it would be good for them to know what they should be in.

Anthony: OK, so let's say a student is enrolled in Anthony's teacher-- or sorry, Anthony's English 1 course-- or level 1 course, sorry.

But as a teacher, I don't have a 1 plus or a 2 set up yet. So then what happens to the student? Because there isn't really a course for them to go to.

Andrea Willis: Yeah, that's a great question. So I think what you'd do is, you would need to-- on the teacher-side, you would need to go make your-- let's say it's English 1 plus, or whatever course, right? The second one in order.

So, you as a teacher, would make that. Then you would give your student that class key. And a student would need to plop your class key into their My Home Page. So you would be connected for that course too.

Because you don't just magically stay connected through the whole sequence. Ooh, that's a great question. No one ever asked me that before.

Anthony: Well, we can thank Jamie for that question.

Andrea Willis: Thank you, Jamie. That was an awesome question. I never, never would have thought of that, thank you.

Anthony: So, Andrea, another question about-- so, for example, let's say so Fatima was asking. She has a Google Classroom set up.

Andrea Willis: OK.

Anthony: So what would be the-- what would be your recommendation in terms of linking these two, or is there any way for USA Learns to integrate with anything else that's out there?

Andrea Willis: Ooh, that's a really great question. The answer is no. [laughs] It would be a matter of linking to our Home page and then having students log in there.

But I will tell you one thing that's also on my very long wish list, is the ability for teachers to link students to certain pages. But it's a very long wish list.

Anthony: OK, and, Andrea, FYI, so another comment about that Citizenship course.

Andrea Willis: Mm-hmm.

Anthony: So Sherry was saying, Citizenship course can be used by phone, however, some of the speaking activities don't work.

Andrea Willis: Yeah, I'm not terribly surprised. The other thing I noticed was on some of the writing activities-- this is so quirky. You know how different devices behave differently, right?

I noticed on the writing activities where they're-- let's say, you listen to the word-- the phrase. And it says, the United States. And you're supposed to type that, or no, maybe it has to be something with an apostrophe, whatever.

The apostrophe, for whatever reason, the phone does not perceive it-- doesn't communicate, doesn't play nicely with USA Learns. Anytime it wants to type an apostrophe, go figure, right?

Yeah, so the phone-- it's not optimized for phones, yeah. OK, any, any more questions coming in, guys?

Melinda: We're running out of time, so.

Andrea Willis: OK, good. I'm almost done. So this is going to work out great. I have my timer set. According to my timer, I have 57 seconds left.

Let's see. We've already talked about how to communicate with your-- actually, let me turn this off. Because it's going to start. Cancel my timer.

OK, so we talked about this already. What class should my students take? That's where you would use that placement quiz we talked about.

Who can I contact if I need help? is the place to email. And, please, please include as many details as you can so we can help you.

If you say, my student can't log in. OK, well, that's not enough information for us to try to figure out what's up with your student, right? So include your student's email address, their name, whatever you can.

Anytime you can take a screenshot-- take a picture of the problem. Send us that. That will help us so much and enable us to help you faster.

So this is a question for you all to ponder. You don't have to type anything into the chat or anything unless you want to. But I'm hoping that after you've seen my presentation, I'm hoping you have been pondering how might you use this at a distance with your students.

Melinda: And, Andrea, I'm going to ask you to go back to the site. Because I think there's one area that some folks missed that they were asking about.

Andrea Willis: OK, would you like the teacher's side or the--

Melinda: Yes the teacher's side.

Andrea Willis: Let's do that.

Melinda: Resources--

Andrea Willis: OK.

Melinda: So there's a bunch of information here on the Resources side. And this is where the placement test is. But if you scroll back up and go to Instructions, that is so cool.

Andrea Willis: Oh, good.

Melinda: On the instructions, you have How to Create a Class and How to Manage Classes.

Andrea Willis: That's right.

Melinda: There were some questions in the chat about how can we show this to our ESL teachers? How can we show them everything? Take them here.

Andrea Willis: That's a great idea.

Melinda: And there's some really good little tutorials that will help the teacher.

Andrea Willis: Good, that's great. Good tip.

Melinda: I think some folks miss that.

Andrea Willis: Good. OK, well, good. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. And I think I'm almost done. Hang on. Let's see how close to done I am. Oh, just some exciting scoop.

My team is in the process now of creating another new course. We're going to call it Access America. And it will help immigrants integrate into US society. We'll cover Civic, Linguistic, Economic, and Local Integration.

And we're building it with content partnership with USCIS. And I think we're almost done. Jones, now's your chance.


Andrea Willis: Yes, If you want help, that is the place to go. And I have two people that are keeping a very close eye on it.

Melinda: Don't email Andrea. Email help.

Andrea Willis: Hide this one. Imagine you don't see this one unless you want to drop me a note, and say, hi, and that was a great presentation. But don't email me for tech support. I'm not the best person to help the details. [laughs]

Anthony: Andrea

Andrea Willis: Yes.

Anthony: On that Axis America course you're working at, the question was about what level-- what English level?

Andrea Willis: I believe intermediate.

Anthony: OK, so similar to the Citizenship course that's already there.

Andrea Willis: Yeah, and if my ESL teacher/writer friend was here, she could tell us in more detail what level. But I think about the level of the-- maybe even a little lower than the Citizenship course, I would think. But right in that zone.