'Duplicate Section' button for easier scheduling
Some teachers teach 40 sections on Outschool a week, which can take some time to schedule!
We've added a new button that will enable you to schedule sections more efficiently. Simply put, it's a quicker way to create a new section; when you duplicate a section that starts on December 4th at 2 PM, we will suggest a time of December 11th at 2 PM (exactly one week later) for the first meeting of the newly duplicated section. This way, you could schedule out all of your Monday 3 PM sections for the next month, in just a few clicks.
January 2021 Calendar ordering
We fixed an issue that was causing class meetings near the beginning of January 2021 to show up out of order on the Agenda.
Easy Access to Learners from the Outschool Classroom
We noticed many teachers have to flip back and forth between the Classroom Page and the Learners tab to run their classes, and wanted to make it easier. We now show the list of learners in a section on the same page as your classroom posts.
If you want to send a learner a direct message, simply click on their name. This should also help with things like keeping track of attendance and who still needs to respond.
To make it easier to track your conversations, we now bold & highlight the messages that you haven't yet read. Once you view a message on the website (or if you reply to a message via email), it will be marked as read.
We now show "read receipts" on messages you send, to give you insight into whether a parent or other recipient has viewed the message.
- If the recipient of your message sees it in their email inbox, it will not show up as "read" unless they also open it in the Outschool website.
- Messages prior to this week have all been marked as read so you don't start with a noisy inbox.
Reasons in Learner Withdrawal Email
Learners might withdraw from a class (or stop an ongoing subscription) for a variety of reasons. We're happy to share that we now include the reason for that withdrawal in the email notification we send you.
Transfers and Refund Policies
We’ve fixed a loophole by which parents could request a transfer to a future section, withdraw, and still receive a refund.
Going forward, we’ll apply the timing of the refund policy (e.g. seven days until class starts, first week of class) against the start time of the earliest section the parent transferred from/into, as opposed to the final section they were transferred into. We’ve added a new note to the transfer request screen and to our help center article about refunds.
Improvements for highly engaged classrooms
We're making the Outschool classroom easier to use for those highly engaged classes with lots and lots of activity. Now, long comments and comment threads will start collapsed, making it a bit easier to navigate your classroom even if your learners like to write essays back and forth to one another!
Attachments in Parent Conversations
You can now add attachments to parent-teacher messages. Previously, you could only add attachments in learner messages or in the classroom. We hope this helps to streamline your communication with families!
You might have noticed - there's a new tab on your Teacher Dashboard!
We're excited to fully rollout the new Stats page, which gives you insight into your teaching over time, as well as a closer look at your stats on a class-by-class basis.
We hope this empowers you to make more informed decisions on which classes to schedule, and to better understand how you're doing on Outschool.
If you have questions or suggestions, please let us know via the survey linked at the bottom of the page. We are committed to helping Outschool teachers get consistent enrollments and thrive on the platform; this page is one of many steps we are taking, and your ideas are welcome!
Also please make sure to check the Glossary for precise definitions of the different terms!
We’re excited to announce a new feature that makes it easy for parents to enroll groups of learners in class together. With gift enrollments, parents now have the option to purchase enrollments for learners outside their family. 🎉
Read these Help Center articles on Gift Enrollments to learn more on how this will look to you:
Gift enrollments enable learners to take classes with their in-real-life friends, creating a more social learning experience (that kids need now more than ever)!
Companies can now offer Outschool classes as a perk for their employees. During this difficult time employers are looking for ways to alleviate the burden of juggling childcare and working from home. With this feature companies can either pay the full cost or a portion of the cost of classes for their employees. We have a lot of demand and are scaling up to activate more and more companies each week.
You can help spread the word by referring companies you know and earn $300 bonus for each successful partnership.
Sharing Favorite Class Lists
Parents and teachers can now share lists of favorite classes publicly. This is great way to promote and recommend classes to others. We are also using this actively within our promotions and partnerships. We're excited to see how our teacher and parent community use this.
Here's an example from Jeff, one the engineers that built this feature.
Classes Added to Google Online Events Search
Outschool classes are now listed on google events search. This gives your classes greater exposure to anyone using Google to search for online events.
Other Notable changes
Reduced Unnecessary Parent Messages - Removed a number of places where Parents can send unnecessary messages. In some cases this cut messages by 20-30% of messages some of our higher volume teachers were experiencing
Out of Age Range Warning - Parent facing alert when they are about to enroll learners in classes outside their age range. This has cut down out of age range enrollments by 30-50%.
Internal Incident Tracking - Better internal monitoring to track issues such as teacher plagiarism, parents adding extra learners, and other forms of negative behavior. This helps up keep the platform safe for learners and teachers.
Terms of Service
The 2 most notable changes are:
We've shortened the retention time of class recordings, from two years to six months. A shorter retention time better protects the privacy of you and your students, while still providing sufficient time to review the class.
We've updated the Teacher Obligations in our Terms of Service, to include our expectations of Outschool teachers on social media, including Outschool-affiliated online forums. Outschool expects teachers to take part in creating a welcoming community for all, on and off the Outschool platform. This is a simple reminder to please be respectful to each other!You can see an overview of our Social Media Policy in the Support Center.
Bug Fixes - Teacher Dashboard
Teachers were encountering this issue when loading the teacher dashboard in some circumstances:
We've identified the issue and rolled out a fix.
Bug Fixes - Stopping Ongoing Classes
There was an issue pressing this "Stop" button, if you wanted to end an ongoing class after the end of the week:
This button will work properly now. If you click the button (and confirm in the popup), your ongoing class will end at the end of this week. If any parents had already paid for the following week (e.g. if they enrolled today, this week's class had already taken place, and they paid for next week's class), they will be refunded, but parents will not be refunded for this week's class or classes.
New Learner Verification System
As you know, Outschool Teachers are required to ensure that each participant in a class is, in fact, a child (ages 3-18). Though this is usually done by asking learners to turn their video on, we recognize that not all learners have video capabilities, or do not want to enable video for a number of reasons.
As an Outschool teacher you must confirm that all learners are indeed children through one of these 3 mechanisms:
- The learner’s video is enabled throughout the class
- The learner connects with you via video at the beginning of class, to allow you to verify the learner’s identity (the learner can then disable video after checking in)
- A “verified” badge appears next to the learner’s name in your class roster. If a learner has a verified badge, they are cleared to have their video off during class and have been verified by a member of our team:
There may be situations when you cannot confirm the learner’s identity via one of these methods. If this occurs, please:
- Gently explain our policy and let them know you’ll follow up after class
- Remove them from class
- Notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After class, please contact the parent to explain the policy (if relevant), and present one or some of the following options: (1) transfer the learner to another section so she can make up the missed session with video enabled; (2) provide access to the class recording after the learner has gotten the verified badge; or (3) withdraw the learner.
If you run into any issues with parents over this process, we’ve got your back. Direct them to us for a refund (we’ll take it out of our pocket, not yours) and let us know if you receive a negative review as a result of this policy; we’ll investigate and remove the review as appropriate.
If you have any questions about a specific situation, please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
Heads Up: Emails if You are Late or Miss Class
As the Outschool community grows, we want to make sure that learners continue to have consistently high quality classes. Among other things, that means classes should start on time as scheduled.
Going forward, we’ll be sending email notifications when teachers are over 3 minutes late or miss a class. We have three goals with this change: increase the overall rate of classes that start on time, decrease the rate of classes that are missed, and to make expectations clear to new teachers.
We know that sometimes teachers change the schedule of a class by messaging parents, but without updating the scheduled meetings. We ask that if you want to change the schedule, you do make changes to the scheduled meetings–that way the official meeting times will be clear for families (and for Outschool, if we ever need to track down what happened)!
Introducing: The Brand New Teacher Dashboard!
We're beyond excited to introduce the Outschool Teacher Dashboard, which serves as your home for the timely information on your Outschool account.
This includes a spotlight on your next 3 live classes, last 2 conversations, and some new metrics (explained here) that can shed some light on your teaching to date.
Clearer Messaging When Learners Sign Up for Classes at Night
Outschool teachers and learners are located all around the globe. 🌍
Not everyone realizes that, though! We've heard that parents sometimes misread the timing of a class, and might sign up for a 2 A.M. class thinking it's in the middle of the afternoon.
We've now added a warning ⚠️ symbol when users are enrolling in classes at night, based on their time zone. You can see in the screenshots that we indicate when a class is at night, and that the teacher might live in a different time zone.
Find the conversation thread you're looking for more easily by searching for the name of a parent, or the class they were messaging about.
Teacher Training Center
Are you new to Outschool? Or, are you a veteran but always on the hunt for opportunities to grow? Visit pd.outschool.com for a centralized and still-growing collection of training materials, videos, and live sessions with experienced teachers.
You can now adjust the price of a private section without impacting the price of other sections of that class!
Set up a private party for a learner by allowing their parent to cover the cost of the class for all learners. See this article for more detailed instructions.
Streamlined Transfer Requests
Parents now must select a specific, available section of your class when requesting a transfer - and we communiciate that request to you in your time zone! No more back and forth each time to confirm.
Have Suggestions or Feedback?
We are staffing up our product and engineering team so we can make more improvements. Stay tuned for more updates. In the mean time send us your suggestions and feedback so we know how best to improve Outschool.