Frequently Asked Questions
In addition to the FAQ compiled by WestEd, here are additional questions that have been asked by CUSD course participants regarding the Formative Assessment Insights course.
The course syllabus mentions a "1500 word paper reflection" ... is this a course requirement?
Only those seeking course credit from a university need to write a paper.
Do I have the option to move through the course at a faster pace than the suggested timeline?
No. All participants must move through the course at the pace of the timeline.
What is the homework for the course?
The homework for the course may involve reading, but will mainly focus on implementation in the classroom. Participants will be asked to implement what they are learning with their students, as well as participate in online discussions with colleagues.
Will my comments be published as the property of WestEd without teacher permission?
No, teacher comments will only be published in WestEd materials with permission from the teacher.
Is there any special software I need to participate in the course?
As long as you have access to a computer with Internet access and an up-to-date web browser like Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome, you will be able to participate in the course, though you may also need to update some browser plug-ins like Adobe Flash. There are also mobile apps that will allow you to participate in many course activities using your smartphone (you can also read more details on which web browsers are supported for the online learning environment used in this course).
Is there any special software I need to have to attend the web events?
The web events are generally attended using an up-to-date web browser like Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome. Sometimes additional plug-ins may be needed, so it is best to prepare ahead of time to make sure your device is able to access the web events. It is strongly recommended that course participants participate in a "test" event to make sure they are able to successfully join a web event. If they are not able to successfully connect to the test event, participants may wish to review the technical requirements and address them as needed (a CSR will need to be submitted for CUSD computers that do not meet the requirements).
Users may get to the following screen and then get "stuck" when trying to attend a web event:
If this occurs, please try the view more options link highlighted above to see if other options may work on your device. If all options fail, you will need to update your browser (or other software) to meet the technical requirements for the web events, or submit a CSR. If you are able to connect to the web event but do not have audio, you may use your phone to call in for the audio (the number is toll free).
Will my computer need to have a camera and/or microphone to participate in the web events?
No, cameras and microphones will not be required.
Are there any other technical requirements for participating in the course?
Participants will need to have a working Google account to share files via Google Drive. This account may also be used to communicate via Gmail, which can be accessed at your work computer before and after school, as well as from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm (you may also choose to communicate via Gmail at home if that is more convenient).
What is the format of the web events? Will they be interactive?
Due to the size of the class (around 3,000 participants), webinars will be transmitted in a one way fashion with a limited chat option for participants.
How long will each web event be? When will they be scheduled?
The web events are scheduled to be one hour long, and are scheduled from 3:30 - 4:30 pm on:
- Tuesday, September 29, 2015
- Wednesday, November 18, 2015
- Tuesday, February 16, 2016
My teaching/coaching schedule conflicts with the web event schedule. Will the web events be available on demand if I am not able to participate live?
All webinars will be recorded and archived on the website, so teachers who cannot attend them in real-time can watch them at a later date.
Module 1 takes place over fall intersession. Can I work on the course if I am out of town?
As long as you have access to a computer with Internet access, you will be able to participate in the course. There are even mobile apps that will allow you to participate in many course activities using your smartphone (you can also read more details on which web browsers are supported for the online learning environment used in this course).
Please note that Module 1 is scheduled from September 21 through October 18, while fall intersession is scheduled from September 28 through October 9, so there is time available to work on the course before and after intersession.
Can you clarify how formative assessment related to Marzano's learning goals?
While Robert Marzano speaks to learning goals, the focus of formative assessments is on learning targets.
Can I work with colleagues at my own site, in my own department, etc.?
Course participants will be required to join a team (6-8 teachers per team) to share experiences as well as give and receive feedback on their respective formative assessment implementations. Groups of educators enrolling in the course may join a team together; individuals without a team will be assigned. Other voluntary or self-created groups will be possible for sharing and networking. Example groups include grade level, subject area, school-wide, district-wide, regional or state groups.
How much will my salary increase by taking the course? When will the increase take effect?
Certified teachers will get $240 added to their base salary upon successful completion of the course. This credit will be added to your base salary for the 2017-2018 school year. Because the class ends after the December 31, 2015 deadline for a 2016-2017 base salary increase, the increase will occur the following year.