30 Nov 2020

Online Learning Protocols – November 2020

Online Learning Protocols

This document provides expectations and guidelines on online learning in the event of school closure for students.  It is based on feedback from students, parents and teachers, and is designed to balance the opportunity for continuity of learning with the ability of students to engage meaningfully with independent study. 

Where and When 

  • Teachers should document the learning for each lesson on Google Classroom Stream.  Ensure learning instructions are available by 8:15 for the day ahead, so that students can see all expectations for that day.  This may simply inform students to attend the Zoom / or provide more details of the learning, depending on the type of lesson taught that day.
  • Lessons should take place according to the school timetable, thus activities / lesson interactions only take place on the day that the particular subject takes place. 
  • During self-study time, teachers should be available to support students as appropriate.  This may include arranging individual / small group sessions to support learning or providing feedback on assessments / IAs.  Teachers may also use this time to engage in collaborative sessions with other colleagues.  


  • Lessons should be taught either through Zoom or pre-set work.  As a guideline, staff should actively engage with their class through Zoom at least every other lesson.
  • Zoom may be used to deliver a variety of teaching activities and the length of time teachers are active in the Zoom will depend on the nature of the lesson.  
  • Lesson content is equivalent to what you would expect the vast majority of students in your class could reasonably complete within the lesson time with potentially limited support.  
  • Whilst sensible changes to syllabus order may take place to better accommodate online learning, it is required that online learning is seen as an effective medium for delivering the syllabus; therefore new content/ skills must be taught. 
  • If you are referring to resources/books that students may not have access to, attach the relevant material
  • Every 2-3 missed lessons consider providing an opportunity for students to “catch-up.”  State on Google Classroom Stream that there is no additional work for that day’s lesson.  
  • Written instructions on Google Classroom Stream should aim to be simple and short.  Try to avoid lengthy paragraphs or step-by-step activities.  If lengthier instructions are required, use Zoom to provide face-to-face instructions, and / or attach as a word document, so that students can open separately
  • Ensure you are providing regular opportunities (e.g every 2-3 lessons) to provide the opportunity for work to be submitted / shared / discussed to provide formative feedback to your students.  
  • Limit lengthy preamble in instructions in relation to the current situation as this can become very repetitive for students and can make it harder to find the actual lesson instructions.

Taking Attendance 

  • Student attendance for each lesson must be completed through SMART, as it would for a normal lesson whenever you are seeing students on Zoom.  
  • If you have a designated ‘catch-up’ lesson, please use the ‘cancel lesson’ function on SMART to disable the register for that session.  
  • It is also strongly recommended that through your own tracking documents, you monitor engagement with the lessons through completion and submission of work.   
  • If you have concerns over the attendance / engagement of students in your class, in the first instance you should pass this information to your HOD/HOF in addition to recording using the notes option on SMART.  Further follow up with the tutor / HOY will take place when a trend across subjects is noted.  

Additional guidelines for Zoom

  • It is an expectation for both students and teachers to have their camera on during lessons and mics on request when engaged in dialogue.  This is to assist in building and maintaining rapport with classes, as well as, gauging the pace of delivery and levels of understanding.  Teachers are requested to enforce this with all students to provide consistent expectations.   
  • Staff are expected to be available to their students during their timetabled lessons, even if that lesson has been nominated as pre-set work or a catch-up lesson.  This may be that they are signed into Zoom and available or are actively checking and responding to emails etc. All communication must be through official school channels
  • At no point should teachers (or students) record Zoom sessions without full permission of all members involved. 
  • Online learning should be seen as an extension of the school classroom.  This includes appropriate dress for learning and respectful interactions. 

Types of Activities 

Below are some guidelines of the types of activities students should be receiving through their online learning.  

  • Interaction and feedback e.g. online quizzes / departmental platforms such as MyiMaths
  • Collaboration using tools such as google docs / padlet / breakout rooms
  • Open ended tasks to naturally allow for differentiation through outcome
  • Choice tasks where students can choose the quantity e.g. MUST / SHOULD / COULD activities 
  • Project-type longer activities, providing students with more opportunity to work at their own pace over a series of lessons
  • Flipped learning activities to promote independent learning and maximise lesson time to discuss and debate rather than instruct.

These are suggested to ensure students are:

  • Receiving a variety of different tasks
  • Receiving opportunities to move away from the computer
  • Receiving a sense of choice over how they approach the set work
  • Feeling empowered to access course work at an appropriate level

Student expectations: 

  • Follow your timetable for each day
  • Check your Google Classroom Stream for up-to-date instructions from your teachers about when / where / how your learning will take place that day.  Your teachers will post instructions for the learning that day no later than 8:15  
  • Plan how you will use self-study time.  This is an opportunity for you to work independently, engage with teacher directed tasks, and wellbeing activities.  Your teacher may also arrange to meet with you during this time to help support your learning and / or provide personalised feedback
  • You will have a mixture of learning activities, including the opportunity to engage with your teachers through Zoom, collaborate with other students, as well as teacher-directed, independent learning. 
  • When using Zoom, remember that this is an extension of the classroom and you should conduct yourself as you would in a classroom.  This includes:
    • Be on time for lessons
    • Be dressed appropriately for learning
    • Remain attentive during lessons and respond to questions and discussions as required
    • Interact patiently and respectfully with your teachers and peers
    • Provide feedback to teachers about your experiences and any relevant suggestions, including seeking further help when needed.
  • Additionally when using Zoom, it is a requirement that you have your camera on throughout the lesson.  Mics must be turned on when requested to engage with dialogue 
  • At no point should you record Zoom sessions without full permission of all members involved 
  • Your teacher will always be available during your normal timetabled lesson to provide feedback either through Zoom or email  
  • Try to attempt all learning provided by your teacher, however, you should not spend more than 1 hour on each set lesson
  • Contact your teacher if you do not have the correct resources to complete the work (e.g. copy of the textbook)
  • Contact your teacher if you do not understand the work. If you are not able to complete a piece of work, make sure you contact your teacher so that she/he is aware  
  • Within the timeframe of your lessons, teachers will build in flexible opportunities for you to discuss the work with them and gain support in your understanding
  • If you are unable to participate in the lesson, please email your teacher to make them aware 

Most importantly; do not worry!  Online Learning in these circumstances is designed to enable your learning to continue, but your teachers will understand that it is often much harder to do work in this manner, rather than in class. The quantity of work supplied will be different between year levels, older students will have a greater expectation in regards to independent study.  Either way your teacher will be available during normal school hours to help. 

Parent Expectations

  • Support your child to find a suitable area to work within your home environment and provide required materials / equipment, including a working camera and a microphone for Zoom as well as WiFi connectivity 
  • Have an open dialogue with your child about their online learning.  Ask them open questions to engage them in discussing their learning with you.  This will help you to ensure your child is:
    • engaging appropriately with lessons
    • not engaging in inappropriate tasks during lesson time such as video gaming  
    • completing lesson tasks 
    • seeking further support when required
  • If your child is struggling with aspects of a subject, in the first instance, encourage your child to reach out and contact their teacher to make them aware and ask for advice      
  • Particularly for younger students, where possible, try to ensure students are supervised to assist with maintaining engagement in their online lessons  
  • Assist your child in planning and scheduling how they will use independent study time.  Help them to balance their time between subjects and use the time to seek further assistance if necessary  
  • Encourage physical recreational activities outside of lesson times (as appropriate with current social distancing regulations) to assist in providing important balance to your child’s day.  Consider creating some recreational goals and skill acquisitions with your child to help motivate them during this time