Any technical difficulties as of right now. So we will go ahead with today's webinar and I will turn it over to Penny who get us started. Penny?

Thank you, Veronica. And welcome everyone to our session today on Distance Learning Models and Implementation. And as Veronica said, my name is Penny Pearson. And I work for the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network as a coordinator for our distance learning projects. And my colleague Neda Anasseri is also I believe online. We were having a little audio issue. So Neda, can you introduce yourself?

Hi, everyone. Neda Anasseri, Coordinator of Technology Projects.

Great. That was perfect. And just so you all know, we are both products of either distance learning and/or adult education. So my background comes from ages and ages ago, actually finishing my high school education through, quote, quote, "distance learning." And I'll let Neda tell her story quickly.

And I'm also a product of adult education, earning my high school equivalency in 2001. Being an adult student myself with barriers. And being over 18, I completed and was able to move on and get into college and then further my education.

And I'm trying to put in the chat pod here, which of course I can't apparently figure out how to cut and paste these days. But Neda was actually featured on the Elevate and Educate page. And I'm-- oh brother. I'm sorry. I'm having a problem here copying this. So hopefully-- thank you. Veronica is on top of it. So at any rate, just to let you know that we are, as I say, products of what we speak. So hopefully, we can move forward from there.

So this is what we're going to work on today. So we're going to cover these topics of the definitions and models. And then we're going to spend most of our time on program considerations for success. And then Neda is going to work on helping you set up your class correctly in TOPSpro Enterprise. And some of you may use different systems. I can't speak to those, but we might be able to find ways to help you of course. So everybody OK with that? If you'd like, you can use the chat pod just to give a yes or a Y or no. If you're familiar with Adobe, there's other ways that you can-- at the top of the screen, there's that little guy waving, and you can send me information that way by giving me a thumbs up or agree or disagree.

And also, of course, if you'd like to laugh at my jokes, you can also go up there and tell folks about that. So let's move on then. Looks like we're doing well. And we'll talk a little bit here as I said about definitions. But first, I want to tell you a little bit why this question became so important. I'm going to give you some statistics here from California and are WIOA funded agencies here. And those are supported by the WIOA Title II Grant. And we have 200 agencies in California that report under that grant. But ironically, only 39 of them reported using distance in their technology and distance learning plan. And that's a deliverable plan that they need to submit to the California Department of Education as part of receiving this grant.

106 agencies reported using a blended of some form. And 131 agencies were reported using face-to-face instruction. So just think about that a minute. Out of 200 agencies, only 39 were reporting distance and 106 were reported blending. The reason why we do that is because of this whole issue about definitions. So I'm going to ask Veronica to bring up a poll here. And this is to ask you, what do you believe is the best definition for distance? And you'll see there's six items here-- says, distance education and then a definition, and then a blended learning and then a definition. You can pick. I'd like you to pick one answer under distance and education and one answer under blended learning, what you think is your best understanding of the definition of distance or blended.

Got one vote. Two votes. So we have quite a few folks in our audience today. So please, be sure to vote for what you determine is the best defines distance. And then go down to the bottom of that poll and also give me what you believe is blended. So we're getting more votes coming in. We've got a race here on two of our answers. And we're still give just a couple minutes more. We're don't quite have everybody responding. Some of you that may be on phones-- may be a little more difficult to see this poll.

And that's fine. I understand if you're not able to vote. We won't hold it against you. We're just glad that you're here in whatever format you can be here. All right, we're getting a few more. And it looks like we're slowing down. All right, so it looks like distance-- the one that wins is, are "the majority of learning takes place where learners and teachers are separated by geography, time, or both." And blended, we've got, "the student learns in part through online learning with control over time, place, path, and/or pace."

Couple of other choices. And I'm not going to say anybody's right or wrong because these are all different forms of the definitions that float around in our environment today. And I'm going to just go over what some of the definitions are, from different agencies, different organizations. So I'll have Veronica go ahead and pull up that presentation again. Because I think I lost it. I thought it would be in the background. There we go. Thank you

So as this comes back up, when we work on the terms of blended and distance, there is this notion of pure distance. This is really one that's-- maybe most of us that have been around for a while, is where all of the educational programming is delivered entirely at a distance. And this is something where even orientations, or there's no face-to-face interaction in a brick and mortar type of environment. So that's pure distance. Some of you may have been involved in those if you were still in college and you never met your teacher or face-to-face.

So the National Reporting System-- NRS-- defines distance as "an activity where students and instructors are separated by geography, time, or both for the majority of the instructional period." Now I'm I put an emphasis on "majority" because that ends up playing a part in some things in the setup of your classes, and how agencies report distance. Distance learning materials-- they're all delivered in a variety of media. So that can be print. It can be audio. It can be videotapes. It can be broadcast. It can be computer software applications, web based programs or any other type of online technology.

So teachers support this through communications that can take many forms itself. It could be email, by telephone, it can be online chats, any type of way that they can connect with their learners. iNACOL defines blended learning as "a formal education program where a student learns, at least in part, through online learning with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace." Now this is at least in part supervised in a brick and mortar location away from home. And then the student chooses a learning path or a course or subject that they're connected to in some way; that helps them bring in their learning experiences from outside to inside into a brick and mortar building; or teachers can manipulate that in some ways.

So for those that are interested, there's many other models under blended. And I'm going to go over those, but where I get my information from is from Horn and Staker. And I've got some resource pages in my presentation-- that you're more than welcome to look at-- on how they define blended learning and how they look at how those blended models are implemented in a classroom. So Clayton Christensen Institute website also has a nice video on the learning accelerator that can help you understand some of those different models. They're real popular at K12 in many ways. And we haven't seen so many of them formally adopted in adult education classrooms yet.

OTAN is also a member with-- membership with the ideal consortium. And they take a little different take on blended. But they look at it as really closely aligned to the materials in a face-to-face classroom with the instructional program. And the instructors consider what's going on both in the class and what they have offering on an online instruction as part of a whole. So the teacher is very aware of what's going on both sides and being able to make adjustments in their face-to-face teaching, based on what they see as might be happening as they monitor that work that is happening outside of a brick and mortar classroom. So sometimes that can be looking at maybe altering online assignments or other observations they may have in class that require some changes.

I'm sure some of you have heard of hybrid models as well. And this is sometimes used interchangeably with the word blended. And that's fine. But it's really meant to show that it is an online curriculum product and an in-class teaching. So sometimes, it may be more of-- maybe there's an online product that's being used and the teacher's monitoring that. And maybe the students are coming in to a brick and mortar type of classroom, and the teacher is just simply checking the work that they do. But there's not a whole lot of face-to-face instruction from the teacher. But they are being monitored and supported while they come into the classroom to get additional help or something from the student. But it's not always aligned directly to what happens in the classroom. And that's again, the hybrid has got a modified-- what I would call blended. But people often call it hybrid as well.

There's also some other resources or other takes on how teachers use online curriculum. And so it could be like a supplemental model, where they're using online curriculum outside of regular class time. But it's not required. And it may not even be looked at or checked or reviewed by an instructor. This is just extra work. And I've heard some people call it, "that's just homework," and yeah, that's possible. But this is meant as supplemental materials to help the learner build their learning path. But it does not require any extra effort on the part of the instructor. They're basically there to provide it as additional information.

And Alpha Plus is an organization in the north, up in Canada. And they looked at blended learning as "an approach where educators leverage the technology and digital access for learners to create, communicate, collaborate, and apply critical thinking skills to construct knowledge in a connected world." I really like that definition because it's all-encompassing. So what's the most common of all of these? If you had to guess, what might it be?

And if you thought blended, you're correct, yes. And here's where I mentioned earlier that under blended, there's all kinds of these different models underneath blended. So this little graph is showing this blended-- if you look at those two top graphics. There's brick and mortar, which is dark blue; and then there's online learning, which is more of a greenish-yellow. And they talk about how blended learning uses this rotation model, the flex model, the a-la-carte model, and the enriched virtual model. And under the rotation model, there's all of these different types of models that can be used. So the rotation model is just basically where learners rotate on some kind of schedule, or at the teacher's behest, between different learning modalities.

They may go from a pod with computers and work on that. They may go to another table where they're actually working with crafts or building some type of science model. So they're moving and rotating around a set of modules. The flex model is meant to where a course or a subject where-- online side is really the backbone of what the student is learning. That's where they're going. Even if that online material directs them to what I'm going to call "offline activities." So maybe you could think of an adult learner that might be in some type of certificate program for Agricultural Sciences. And they may be doing all of their work online, but they're directed to go and interview people through the FHA or at the next cattle sale or something like that. They're directed to do something in the real world, but their actual learning is taking place online in terms of doing their assessments, and reading materials, et cetera. But it's a very-- it allows a student a lot of flexibility to be able to do those types of activities.

That a-la-carte model-- it's just basically where that student is taking instruction entirely online. And that is supposed to accompany other experiences in some ways. And that may be, again, a little bit like the flex model, where the student is just having some type of activity at a brick and mortar school or they're going to a Learning Center. And it is something that helps to support and continue their learning that they're doing online. And the enriched virtual model-- this is where they have these face-to-face learning sessions with their teacher. And then they can complete everything else at their leisure, or hopefully with good time management. All of that coursework is remote from that face-to-face teacher. But they do come in and get that check-in with a teacher of record of some kind.

So there's lots of information on all of these in terms of online and through the resources that I'm providing. And again, I'm going back to Michael Horn and the Christensen Institute. Those are great places to get more information on of this blended learning-- this separation between brick and mortar and online. Now that fully or pure distance is-- this is really where all of that educational programming is delivered at a distance. We don't see too much of that in schools these days-- in adult schools-- just because we are finding that we just don't have the persistence.

So now what this does, though, is that these models-- except for perhaps maybe the fully distanced-- are where that curriculum is completely dictated by teachers. It really does give learners a personalized learning path. They can control or have more control over how they're actually completing and participating in their educational journey. And personally, I think that is really where we should be.

So I have something I want to try. Adobe Connect is not real good about allowing us to show video. So I like this little video. It's out on a service called Vimeo. I don't know how many of you are familiar with Vimeo. Oh and Kristen, flex and enriched-- they don't have a whole huge difference. But it has to do more with, in my mind, there's more structure in the flex model, in that the structure is saying, you're going to be doing this stuff online and you're going to be going out into the real world. And it's student-directed more. So the enriched models is-- there's still a very guided online program.

And think of it maybe as online curriculum from publisher of some kind. And they have additional enrichment models that they say, go out and interview a senior. But they're very, very similar in my mind. So if there's others within the audience that has a better take on that, I encourage you to post it in the chat pod. But I'm going to ask you to take two minutes and watch this video. If I can get this posted in here. Which is always kind of interesting because I seem to be having an issue with copying and pasting these days.

So this video is out on Vimeo. And I'd like you to start-- so scrub forward at about the 2:18 point. And then watch through about 4:25. So let me post that here. So you should be able to click the link in the chat pod. Just be aware that your browser will come up on top of the Adobe Connect room. So to come back here, you're going to need to either minimize that window or switch over so you can come back to the meeting space. So again, it's about two minutes, start at two-- that says 2:28, it should be 2:18. Start at 2:18 and end it to 4:25. Let me post that again. 2:18. Stop-- 4:25. And I'm going to just pause here for a second and be quiet. And I'll review things on the chat pod to see if I missed anything.

OK, everyone about 30 seconds. Please come back in about 30 seconds.

So those of you that are coming back, please take a moment and tell me what you found most interesting, enlightening. What did you think about that bit?

Thank you, Veronica. I'm wondering if this speaks more to teachers or does it speak more to learners.

Shannon, I like that.

Thank you, Kim. I like that quote too.

And Kristen, yes. Empowering. That was reason why I chose that little block.

And Kim, yes, you're probably right. This is coming from Michael Horn and the Christensen Institute. They're very much advocates for blended.

Connie, yes. The individualization. That whole personalized learning piece is really empowering the learners. And it can be-- for some teachers, it can be very daunting, I think.

Hello Mathias. I just saw your name, welcome.

So it looks like we've got some great comments. And the main reason why I really wanted people to look at that is that-- I think that there are-- and we'll talk about this as we move along-- is that there's really good reasons why we should be doing a lot more blending. But let's get started here, because what happens is that-- when we want to do something new, sometimes the hardest thing is just get started. So that's what we're going to talk about next-- is actually the getting started pieces.

So one of our partners here at OTAN is an organization called the IDEAL Consortium. And we work with them to offer professional developments surrounding creating and implementing online and distance learning programs in adult schools as part of their deliverables under their technology and distance learning plan. And sometimes, in order for them to get started, they really need to look at this SMART goals. And I'm sure all of you have seen this somewhere. We've been doing it for a long time. And it's really a thinking process, but also it helps you to define and refine how you might want to do this plan. So it can really help you get to those great big goals by perhaps a bunch of little tiny goals. But they all-- if they conform to this SMART acronym.

And I'm sure we've all heard it. The specific, and it's measurable. You can actually get it done. It's attainable, it's relevant, and it's time-based. Now for any of you that are not too familiar with SMART, I'm going to go ahead and post here. We have a series of three videos that OTAN has created. And in this playlist that I'm going to post in the chat pod, there's one that is an hour long. It's a big one webinar done by one of our subject matter experts.

But there's two short ones. There's one for SMART goals for the technology and just a starting plan. And then there's SMART goals for adult education. So it's a nice way to get an overview if you're not feeling very comfortable with how you understand how SMART goal work. So it's just a way for us to help you understand that process. So let's talk about some of the considerations of how you might look at developing, implementing, or improving an online or distance learning program.

So we have to really put in some considerations here. Ideally, the whole purpose of online distance education is to provide easier access for our learners. So the technology that we use to do that should not become a barrier in and of itself. Sometimes, we don't think about that. And that's just our nature. Sometimes, when we do something all the time, we use these devices all the time. We don't necessarily understand that they could still be a barrier for our learners. So once you move forward with looking at these different models. We'll go through and look at the process. And then you as an agency will make the materials decisions, the technology used decisions.

But the planning should look at five areas. And this is part of what we get from our partnership with the IDEAL Consortium, for implementing a good distance or blended learning program. And the five areas are-- recruitment; screening for appropriate learners-- that's a big one; orientation for those learners; teaching at a distance; and then assessment of those distance learners. So programs need to develop their own series of questions on how they address those five areas-- recruitment, screening, orientation, teaching at a distance, and assessment. And then once that is all in place, then they've got a way to be able to determine, do we have the available resources? Can we really get the information we need on our learners? Can we see exactly what our learners need? And can we meet those needs for them?

So we're really going to look at these considerations for implementation of a program. Now I'm not going to tell you that going a blended model, you should all use the X rotation model. No, that's your decision. You have to decide how that may work for you and your agency. So let's start with looking at this first one of recruitment. So some of you are willing to share. Just quickly in the chat pod-- how do you get students into a distance learning class? Now I'm going to ask these questions while that's taking place.

So when you look at recruiting students, do you identify who do you want to serve? What program area? What learners? What skills do they need in order to be successful in what you develop? What resources are available? What characteristics improve learners chances of success? Where are your learners? Where are you going to find them if you're going to go out recruiting? Are they in the local coffee shops? Are they at your K-12 schools? Are they in the libraries? Or are they at the Job Corps centers? What do you know of is happening in your community where you can look for those opportunities to find and reach out to potential students?

Maybe you can consider things like local media. Maybe you could do public service announcements on local radio stations. Maybe television interviews for community television programs. Do you have social media? Can you reach out via social media? Do you as an agency have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter account? Do your teachers have Facebook pages? Do they interact with their learners on a Facebook page? Those are all things to consider about how are you going to identify and recruit those learners.

So I see Connie's note here. They're referred by the teacher of the GED orientation. Based on their CASAS scores. That's a great way to at least have a place to look for learners. So now when you start looking for them, you need to have a screening process. And this is something that-- we don't always do this. Because we're so happy to get students. Let's just put them into a program. But we really want to set up our learners for success. And we really need to be willing to cull the herd. Make sure that they have what they need to be successful.

Sometimes, we've seen agencies that-- they're so impacted that, we'll make a wait list and put everybody in an online course. That doesn't always work because they don't take these other questions into account. So they've got to really think about, are these learners really ready? Do they have the academic readiness that they need for the content that you want? Because first of all, if you send them into a course like that and they don't have these skills, what happens? They walk away. They don't come back. Or it's really hard to get them back.

They need to have the necessary skills. Those soft skills or the habits of mind. They've got to be persistent. They've got to have some time management. They've got to be willing to do some goal setting. And if you don't see that-- and a lot of teachers are very generous with learners, oh my gosh, she walked to the front door. She's got it. She's ready to go. But there may be these other elements that don't help the student, or they need some more help to get there. Technology skills is one of them.

There's a great quote from one of our partners on this whole idea of screening. And I'm going to read it directly. They're from Minnesota. "Before we develop an implemented screening methods for our potential distance learners, we would enroll almost any learner who came to us. We quickly realized that we had to change how and in whom we invested one-to-one distance learning staff time, because we had a 60% attrition rate. We had to aim for quality over quantity, and readiness over willingness." I love that quote. "After implementation screening measures-- or implementing screening measures over the course of one school year, we lowered our attrition rate to about 25% to 30% within a given month. We're now able to use more precious DL staff time to focus on communication, support, and persistence within our active distance learners, and less time trying to communicate with less inactive learners." So there's really good reasons why you want to screen your learners before you put them into a distance learning program.

So there may be ways you can do that. I talked about technology skills and I talked about access to a computer and to the internet. In California alone, we do a survey that shows that something like 96%-- I believe that's close to our correct stat-- of our learners have access in one form or another. Sometimes it's through their phone. Sometimes as by going to a neighbor's house. Sometimes it's going to the library. But they have access. But they may not have the technology skills. So then that's where the teachers can come in. And now we can start helping them by getting them into a basic computer course. Or maybe we can simply give them a little test that says, are you ready for this?

And by using the Northstar Digital Literacy assessment-- I don't know if anybody's seen that, but it's a great little resource to simply test to see whether or not a learner is ready to work on a computer and be comfortable working online. And I just posted it in the chat pod. If you haven't seen it before, this is an open resource. Meaning anybody can go in and take an assessment. It is available to become a member of Northstar. And you would have the ability to see how your learners are doing by taking these different tests. But I'll allot you two explore that on your own.

And Neda, thank you. You just posted our 18-19 survey results. You can see this is an aggregate of all of the state's learners that were surveyed about their technology use. And it's pretty eye opening. And for many teachers, it's sometimes a bit of a surprise, I'll say. So we've talked about recruitment. We've talked about screening. We need to make sure that these things stay within your SMART goals. It's often within program planning, we lose sight in the interim of our long-term goals. So that's why having these SMART goals defined can help you keep on track.

So let me check here if I missed any questions. Thank you, Neda for posting that. So the next is the orientation. And I'm sure all of us have orientations in different forms. And everybody's a little different. But the orientation is the ideal time to set the expectations for distance or blended. So it really has to have it all laid out-- about what is expected from the student, what the student should expect from the teacher, what is the time commitment, what is it that you need to spell out specifically about the course requirements. So there are some agencies that will use some type of contract. They'll lay this out. So they'll have a way to say to the learner, maybe at a later point, is here's what we expect from you, this is what you should expect from us.

So in order to make sure that we both do what we're supposed to be doing, let's do some type of learning contract or goal setting exercise; that we lay it out on paper. And this will help them-- the learners-- to really identify what that goal is. And they get this learning contract where they've made a commitment. And this helps teachers or program coordinators or other staff. They can use that document. It's something we call third party referencing. It's a way to say, Sally, you had done this agreement. And it says right here on your contract that these were the things that we agreed to. So what's holding us up? What can we do to help you reach your goals?

So we deflect any negativism, so to speak. The issue is what we wrote on the paper. And this is what we said we would do. So how can we fix it? So this really helps in this whole process of what these points are-- you're really being able to build a relationship. You're defining and clarifying those expectations. You have an opportunity to figure out what are their access and abilities with using technology. And you're starting that process of feedback and communication between the teacher and the learner.

So now any questions so far? Thank you, Neda I see you said thank you. So when we talk about-- we've got recruitment and we've got looking at those strategies of how do we make sure that everybody is ready. We've got some orientation. Now we actually get into the instruction. One of the things that happens that I hear quite often is, yes, I'm going to teach online. And there's a misconception around online, or distance, or blended teaching models-- is that somehow they're easier or less expensive than more traditional brick and mortar instructional settings. That's just not true. Teachers are vital. We've heard it sometimes where, yeah, I can hire a teacher at half the time-- but still give them a load of 50 learners and expecting somehow that that's magically going to all take care of itself. It's just not entirely true.

Teachers are the backbone of any of these models. They need to be present. They need to be there. If they're not, what happens is your learners are going to vote with their feet. They're going to leave. So for many teachers, online teaching is really a different environment. They can feel very disconnected and isolated from their learners because they rely on that energy and enthusiasm that's in the classroom. And it could be really hard to duplicate that in an online environment without a lot of practice and support. So no matter what is going on in terms of using a distance, blended, or online type of component, your teachers are still very, very much important. They're very integral to making this work.

So this means that teachers have to figure out a way to have that involved instruction. So they not only assign content and then monitor and learn or work, but they need to provide that feedback and encouragement through any of these types of online tools. So maybe that's through email. Maybe that's through the software that you're using-- there's some type of communication features that can be used. So when learners receive that type of support, and they feel like they're connected to a teacher in an online environment in some way. Because now it's is one-to-one. It's not one-to-thirty.

And so I would just really encourage the support of teachers to have that involved instruction. So it can be structured in a way that says, you know what, I'm going to have virtual office hours twice a week for one hour from such and such and such and such. And it can be in-person. Or it can be virtually if it's a pure online program. You could do it virtually either via the telephone. Heavens, who thought of that? Or through Skype. Or maybe there's a resource within your own programs that you're using. You might have chat features. You could use some type of conferencing system like what we're using today. It could be through Adobe Connect, or Zoom, or Webex, or GoToMeeting, BigBlueButton.

And all of these generally offer some type of free version that you could check out. But this allows the teacher to immediately connect with learners. And be able to keep them involved. And also helps them to build that instructional option. And yes, Neda, I saw that Jodi asked about Burlington as a hybrid. And I did post an answer-- that they have blended models that are available. And they even package them in that way. So I did answer that. And then, Jodi that's a good question-- when do you counsel students not to enroll? And I think, generally what I see more often than not is that it's not so much telling them that don't roll in distance learning, it's like, I think you need to improve X before you'll be successful. And that's a way of saying-- I know it sounds soft and mushy, but sometimes we have to be soft and mushy with learners to say, I know this is probably something that you really, really want to do. But I am concerned that your computer skills aren't that good. You need a little more support in technology first. So why not take our basic computer class for three hours or so?

And then the placement piece is how do you decide where that takes place. Are you going to screen everybody before you even bring them into an orientation? You certainly want to do it at those first two points. Before you get them in instruction. Because then your teachers are like, uh oh, this person should not be here.

Yeah, Kim, I'm not familiar with that reading model that you're talking about. But yeah, you do have ways to identify when somebody isn't ready. So if that fits, then that works well. How should you use grade level in screening students? That's a tough one for me, Larry. Because in adult education, we don't always see grade levels in the K12. We're looking at some of our preliminary process testing. Where are they? Those tests are very indicative of if they're ready for more academics. But they may not be ready for some of these other things. They may not have a good mindset. Or they may not have the resources they need in order to be successful. Because they don't have transportation. Or they don't have child care. Some of those things have a great impact on whether or not a student is really ready to be able to do distance or blended. So I think that that's-- for adults, it's really much more about some of those preliminary testing. And then looking at the other areas where we can see, do you have what you need in order to be successful?

So I hope that gives you a little better idea of how we can do it within-- using adults, or teaching adults. So now we've got this instruction going on. And we've got these great teachers that are involved. And they're really engaged with their learners. And you've got some great one-on-one interactions. You might have peer-to-peer interactions with your learners online. Maybe you put them in forums together. Maybe you have them working in groups. And the teacher is a facilitator, and a guide, and a cheerleader, and all those things.

But you still got to know whether or not they've done a good job. So there has to be some type of assessment. So we know how important this is as face-to-face. But it's also important in distance and blended. So we use assessment in many different ways. For placement-- that we just spoke about before. We need to put them where they need to be. And we have to look at the instructional sequence of how they go or where they go, and to measure how well a program of instruction is working. If they have been in a class for 6, 9, 18 weeks, we should see something. Because we've designed a course that's meant to move a learner from point A to point B. So we've used those standardized tests-- right, TABE, CASAS, BEST Plus-- to gauge how those learners progress.

And then we can do that not only with those standardized tests, but we also have ways of doing that within classrooms. Classrooms use all kinds of formative and summative methods. They can assess students' performance for their homework, their class assignments, discussions with students, projects. How they behave in classes. Are they asking questions? Teachers look at student body language. They look at unit quizzes that they have and the tests that they have. And teachers don't always have that benefit of that physical component. But they still assess students' progress through those online pieces of what's in the curriculum. They take tests. They do projects. But they may need some other tools and technologies to help the teacher, than what a teacher has in a classroom.

They may use different technologies. So an online teacher can use, of course, the curriculum to review online work. They're going to provide that feedback. They're going to have online quizzes or other assessments that's typically looked at by the system, and can grade it, and give a teacher a very quick dashboard view of how learners are progressing through their materials. They could have other assessment types of activities, including they can do digital portfolios. They can look at the data from their actual programs too, not only with the assessment. But maybe there's other things that's being tracked like time on task, or their actual grades, or where are they with their actual progress from module to module to module.

Online teachers can look at creating some type of accumulating project. They can look at-- are they interacting with other students? Are they provided with group work, or discussion boards, or forums, progress checklists? So remember in those orientations, they were asked to set a goal. Are they aligning to that goal? Are they getting there? Are they completing that? So there's also those same tools I mentioned before-- being able to talk to learners one-on-one through those online conferencing tools like Zoom and GoToMeeting. This really allows the teacher to be seen, to be present with those learners, and interact in this synchronous environment where they're actually talking to each other. It's not the same as a brick and mortar classroom, but it's close.

So all of these assessments, and projects, and these portfolios, and all these bits and pieces-- that's what helps us teachers and administrators alike to determine that success or the path of their distance education program. How are learners doing in this? What's missing? And sometimes, it's easy to identify and, other times, it's not. I've seen it where people are like, this is great. This semester, everybody did wonderful. And the next semester, everybody's walking out and they can't figure out why.

So now you've done all of this work. You've done, how do you recruit your learners? And how do you orient them? And how do you make sure they're all ready? And how do you look at the instructional models itself? And how do you implement them? And what is that going to look like in whatever environment you choose? And then how are you going to look at-- how do the students progress? What kind of progress did they make? When all of that is done, you need to go back and actually review how things went.

You always have to make that a circular process-- never ending, in my opinion. You've got to evaluate, what was your challenges? What were your successes? And it doesn't matter what online curriculum you use, administrators and teachers need to be able to work together to review those program goals-- that SMART goal that you created back there. And looking at how well each of these processes-- and it doesn't have to be just these that I've said, but what is it that you put into place to help you grow your program? Did it work? Did it help you grow? As you look at these prior decisions and you look at those SMART goals, and that other data that you have-- because we all know it's all data driven.

So how should that program be modified? They're really important for growth, for success, for change. And so when you have your goals being very SMART, then you have all of those pieces to come together, and the data to come together, to make informed decisions. Maybe it's-- you need more teacher training. Online teaching isn't easy. Technology skills can be lacking in some teachers who are very, very enthusiastic, and they think they have the great technology skills, but they're not quite there yet.

Does a curriculum need to be changed? Does it need to be modified? Does it need to be reordered? Are too many learners leaving your distance programs? And if they are, why? What can you do to help determine why this is and then make the needed adjustments. So you get all these. You look at all of this. I'm sure you do it every day. But we're trying to apply it now to being able to grow and have a successful online and distance learning program.

And I'm running out of time. I just looked at the clock. So some research shows that the blended model is usually significantly better at learning gains. Most of it attributes that-- it's because learners spend more time engaging with the materials. That's because the availability of those materials are beyond the classroom walls. It allows the learners to chart their own course and access those materials when it best suits their needs. I have teachers telling me that some of their learners, they don't start working on their schoolwork until 11:00 o'clock/ midnight at night. And they don't quit until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning.

That's pretty persistent to me. And they're supporting children and they have two jobs and all of that. But all of this can happen only when you have the support of the teacher. It's just-- you can't just throw a student into an online or blended program and determine that they're going to be successful. They need these pieces in place because that teacher is still very much critical. And it's really vital in an online and blended environment. They have to make those connections with the learner. And believe me, you may go through several teachers that think they're really good at doing online, but they don't have that one piece that helps them to connect with the learners.

As you saw in the video before, teachers are very satisfied with this model. They really like seeing their learners being successful. And they meet their goals in a shorter period of time. So it's a super win-win-win. It's a win for the teachers, win for the learner, it's a win for the program. So being able to report all this can be tricky. And in California, as I mentioned earlier with some of those stats, that's even more of a problem. And we're trying to fix that in different ways.

But I'm going to now turn over. I guess that's really a bad state, but I am going to pass the virtual baton over to my colleague, Neda Anasseri. Because she has some great insight of helping agencies define and identify courses. So Neda, you should have the navigation at the bottom of the presentation; that will walk you through the rest of the slides. And I'll leave it to you.

All right perfect. Thank you, Penny. So I just wanted to-- also, I'm going to submit something in the chat right now on the federal requirements and the NRS technical assistance guide. And I submitted the link. Check out pages 23 and 24 to really look at some of those requirements on what WIOA Title II and the NRS are really asking of us with distance and blended learning. But now we'll go into a little bit of TOPSpro. So if you're familiar with TOPSpro, if you're using Costa Systems and you're using TOPSpro Enterprise for your data and accountability. And the important piece of all this is when you are running a distance and blended learning, you should be letting the state know that you are in fact doing that, so that your federal tables reflect that way.

So it's extremely important when you're logging in this information, whether it be you or anybody at your agency or some of your data clerks, it's very, very important that you go back and ask them, what is the class instance? So there is a class definition and a class instance. And if you're delivering a distance learning or blended learning course, then it should be logged into your TOPS Enterprise database. So by going into your class instance, and really identifying in that course what program it is, what transition focuses does it have, the focus area, that's where you're doing your EL civics.

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--bring your attention to that instructional settings piece. The instructional settings piece is definitely telling you whether or not it's distance only or classroom plus a distance component. And so that's exactly where you're going to create a specific course code for your course that you're delivering via blended or distance. And then in the instructional settings, it's extremely important that you identify whether it's classroom and distance-- a.k.a. Blended-- or it's distance learning. So remember, that's extremely vital. So that your reports reflect exactly what you're doing, and the State of California can see those reports, so we know exactly what we're doing with distance and blending.

But then also, when you get down to intensity, it really narrows it down even more. So you have classroom and distance learning settings. And how many days a week do you actually see your students' faces? And how many hours a week do you see your students' faces? And then also in intensity wants to know the estimated total hours that you're actually delivering at via distance. So how long are they spending online? And then you log in that information in your Tops Enterprise database with the amount of time, including the days that you're doing it.

So remember, all this work that you're doing with distance and blended learning. And I know there are agencies out there that have been doing this for a long time. But sometimes what we're struggling with right now is that we can't find that data. We don't know who's doing what because it's not logged into the systems correctly. So just as a friendly reminder, we are asking you to really look at your class instances and see are they coded correctly? Are they tagged correctly as distance and blended learning?

So that's my bit. Also, if you're curious and you want to look at some of your federal tables, we have federal tables 4C, it's a measurable skill gains by entry level for participants and distance learning. So every agency has access to their Table 4C, in addition to their table-- I think it's your 5A, which identifies performance for participants in distance education. So I strongly encourage you to look at that. And of course, your federal tables are located in your Tops Enterprise platform.

And let's see what I have next. Penny, you can hop back on unless I have some questions here regarding how you enter that information. My students' hours are based on the work that they do. And it's not regular to put into the estimated toll hours. So Connie, so the total number-- so I would suggest, it sounds like it might be a blended course. And if you identify the classroom and the days that they're in the classroom. I think that the best part here to do this is how to really look at the duration of the course and how much of that time is really done in the classroom. And if there isn't anything done in the classroom, then immediately we figure it's over 51%, then it is a distance course.

And just so you know-- I know we're running out of time, but I do have a couple of slides. I'll come back to the slides so you have our contact information. But I have listed a lot of my resources here on a couple of slides. So you can see where I got this information. And then I also have a listing of where I got the images because I am a Creative Commons person. So you are free to take this presentation and use it as you see fit. And it is available to download as Neda said already-- at the bottom of the screen.

So I'm going to go back to that little contact page. You are welcome to contact us. Both of our email addresses are there on the screen, and our telephone number here at OTAN. So we can certainly help you if you need it. And I thank all of you for coming. And Neda, I thank you for joining because she's so great at all of the data pieces here, of ensuring that agencies are reporting what they're actually doing. And it's really nice to have someone who has that background. So thank you.

Thank you, Penny.

And if any other questions-- and Veronica, we can let you pause back in if you like. And we're happy to stick around for a few minutes if folks have other conversation pieces they'd like to pursue.

Thank you, Penny. And thank you, Neda, for today's webinar. And thank you all very much for joining us this afternoon. We hope that you got a lot out of it, and your questions were answered. And that you're looking towards implementing or enhancing your distance learning programs within your respective agencies. If there are no questions, I will begin to close out this webinar. And an evaluation will appear on your screen. When the evaluation does appear, please be sure to fill it out and let Penny and Neda know what you thought about today's webinar, as well as if there are any other professional development topics and/or technical assistance that you are in need of. Whether it has to do with distance blended learning or any other topics outside of that. Again, thank you all very much for your time, your participation, and I hope you all have a great weekend. Thank you. Thank you all.