About ILO

Iowa Learning Online (ILO), is an Iowa Department of Education program which partners with local schools to expand student distance learning opportunities. In addition to providing a central, credible source for online coursework, ILO benefits students and schools in other ways. It helps address increasing teacher shortages, particularly in hard-to-fill regions or subject areas. ILO makes it easy to provide a wider variety of courses available for Iowa public, accredited nonpublic, and dually-enrolled homeschooled students, allowing local schools to provide courses or advanced subjects that otherwise would not be available. Students are enrolled in ILO courses through their local school school or district.

The State Board of Education serves as the policy board for high school courses offered through ILO. ILO is identified in the Code of Iowa as the Iowa Department of Education's model online learning program (Senate file 2284, section 17). ILO works with Iowa school districts to provide teachers and curriculum for online high school courses.

Guiding Principles

ILO follows four principles:

  1. Iowa Learning Online is a supplemental online program that partners with local school districts, and cannot replace them. Local districts continue to award their students the credits earned upon successful completion of Iowa Learning Online courses.
  2. Iowa Learning Online serves a variety of educational needs and a broad range of learners. It is open to meeting the needs of all high school students.
  3. Iowa Learning Online collaborates to provide quality learning opportunities for students anywhere in the state.
  4. Iowa Learning Online values continuous improvement toward innovative, quality learner opportunities utilizing emerging technologies.

General Information & Policies


Courses offered by ILO are developed and/or licensed based on their adherence to best practices in online instruction and content-area practices. ILO courses are aligned with the Iowa Core, Universal Constructs, Iowa's 21st Century Skills, and the iNACOL National Standards of Quality for Online Courses. All course selections follow a rigorous evaluation process by ILO's team of educators, content area experts, instructional designers, and educational technologists.

View ILO's catalog of current course offerings.

Class Size

Class sizes vary by course, however, the number of students is kept reasonably low to allow all students in a course to collaborate. ILO class sizes are similar to the experience one would expect from an average face to face class.

The Student Experience

ILO's award-winning courses foster a learner community approach, where students meet and collaborate with the other Iowa students. While each course is unique, all include a wide variety of learning events, assignments, discussion forums, video chats, projects, and formative and summative assessments. Students must be offered the opportunity and space to work on their courses at school, but may continue to work on their courses from home or another location. Although ILO classes are organized around a traditional semester term, the online format allows greater flexibility in the time and place of learning. All students registered in an ILO class need to be supported by a local school employee, called Site Coordinator (coach).

Course Schedule

Courses are semester based, following a traditional school year schedule with a Fall, Spring, and a limited Summer term.


ILO is available to all Iowa accredited public school districts, non-public schools,and dually-enrolled home school students. A student's local district makes the choice to partner with ILO and how many ILO classes a student can take.

ILO currently does not offer enrollments for a specific teacher or customized student sectioning.

Are ILO courses available to middle school students? ILO courses are designed for high school students receiving high school credit. However, middle school enrollments will be allowed at the discretion of the local school district. How credit will be transcripted is a local decision.

Waiting List

When enrolling a student you may receive a notice that your student has been placed on the waiting list for that course. When a course reaches capacity, students are automatically placed on a waiting list in the order in which the enrollments are received. Should a seat become available, your student will automatically be moved from the waiting list to be actively enrolled in the course and will receive a confirmation email. The waiting list transfers close when the term enrollment period closes.

If you have questions about enrollment or the waiting list process, please contact the ILO Registrar at registrar@iowalearningonline.org, 515-725-2075.


Due to an Iowa legislative appropriation in support of the scale-up of Iowa Learning Online, enrollment fees were waived for all Iowa public and accredited non-public students through the Summer 2016 term. A $250 per student, per semester course enrollment charge was implemented beginning with the Fall 2016 semester. Beginning Fall 2017, the enrollment fee will be $260. If a student withdraws from a course within the first four-weeks of a term, there will be no charge to the district/school. Billing will occur after this ILO withdrawal date each semester.

Certain courses require specific supporting materials (e.g. textbooks, software) that the local school must provide. These required materials are outlined in the course descriptions.

Public schools may not pass on the costs of ILO courses to parents/guardians during the fall and spring semesters; but may do so during the summer term (Iowa Code, Section 282.6). Non-public schools may pass on the costs of ILO courses during the fall and spring semesters and also during the summer term.

Required Materials & Technology

Participation in ILO course requires students to have the following:

  • student email account
  • reliable bandwidth and Internet access (school technology staff may have to ensure Firewalls permit access to certain websites/services).
  • current version of modern Web browser (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari 6, Internet Explorer 9 or above)
  • headphones (speakers are acceptable but not preferred)
  • webcam and microphone to participate in videoconferencing
  • Zoom videoconferencing software (free download http://www.zoom.us)

Additional required supplies vary from course to course. See Course Descriptions or the syllabus for specific additional materials for each course. YouTube video access may need to be arranged for various courses. Each local school district is responsible for obtaining the textbook or other required materials for the students they enroll in an ILO course. Schools will determine whether to purchase physical or digital editions of textbooks for their students.

View additional information on required materials and technology for ILO courses.


All ILO teachers are highly qualified and fully licensed in the State of Iowa with an appropriate endorsement level for the content area being taught. ILO teachers are required to demonstrate competency or complete specific coursework in online instruction, and are provided with ongoing professional learning experiences to enhance their practice.

Local School Responsibilities

The school is expected to provide the student with access to a computer during the school day with Internet connectivity and videoconferencing capabilities. Specific technology and/or material requirements for individual courses are described in the online course catalog. In general, students are expected to have access to the same level of services they currently receive such as school counseling services, library/media center access, special accommodations, and textbooks for the course if necessary.

School Administrator

Each school participating in an ILO course is required to have a single point of contact for official registration, grade reporting, and support services. A School Administrator is typically a guidance counselor or principal.

Coach (Site Coordinator)

  • The Coach (site coordinator) is a school employee who may be certified or non-certified such as a school counselor, a teacher, an administrator or other support staff*.
  • The student's progress in the ILO Student Information System is closely monitored by the coach, so there are no surprises and students can quickly be identified if they need more assistance.
  • Also, coaches serve as a test proctor* for the student and password protector to ensure the integrity of assessments
  • Coaches keep ILO informed about any personal or technical issues that may impact a student's ability to successfully participate. The district is responsible for continuing to provide services for students with special needs.

*For dually-enrolled home school students, the Coach (site coordinator) will work closely with the student's home school instructor (i.e. parent) to ensure that needed support is provided. It should be noted that all tests and quizzes must be directly proctored by the Coach (site coordinator) not the parent.

Using ILO as an Offer and Teach Provider

In certain circumstances, an Iowa school or school district can request a substitution to use ILO online courses to meet offer and teach requirements. Reasons for submitting an Iowa Learning Online (ILO) Substitution Application can include: school or district cannot locate qualified personnel to offer and teach on site; lack of highly qualified applicants despite exhaustive talent search; sudden, unexpected vacancy; and mid-contractual period vacancy. Contact Gwen Nagel gwen.nagel@iowa.gov or call 515-419-3275 as a first step to request that an ILO online course temporarily fulfill an offer and teach requirement. The Iowa Learning Online (ILO) Substitution Application is available on the Iowa Department of Education CASA system.

Large Enrollments

Schools not requiring offer and teach services yet wishing to enroll fifteen or more students in a single Iowa Learning Online course segment will need to fill out a brief partnership planning agreement. This partnership agreement helps both your school and Iowa Learning Online plan appropriately. Prior to completing this form please contact Cale Roe cale.roe@iowa.gov to discuss your school's unique needs.


The ILO teacher determines each student's course achievement percentage and recommends grade using the ILO grading scale. The percentage and recommended grade are then communicated to each student's resident district. The resident district determines the final grade, based on their local district's grading practices, and the resident district awards course credit. The student's transcript shows course credit as being awarded by the resident district. ILO does not award course credits or diplomas.

Course Withdrawal Policy

School Initiated Drop or Withdrawal

Students have a four (4) week grace period for each semester . The last day of this grace period is the ILO withdrawal date. The ILO grace period allows students to demonstrate course acclimation through continuing consistent engagement. Evidence of continuing consistent engagement includes, but is not limited to, multiple course logins per week, assignment submissions, communications logs, etc.

One week prior to the ILO withdrawal date, if a student's grade is below 60% and student has not demonstrated continuing consistent engagement, ILO will notify schools directly.

Individual school district policy may permit students to drop ILO classes for other reasons. In those cases, notification of student withdrawal/drop must be communicated by the student's coach or school administrator through the Genius registration system. Withdrawal /drop notification cannot be made by the parent or student.

When this is done within the first four (4) weeks of a semester course, the student will be withdrawn without penalty and ILO will recommend and record the grade as "Withdrawn." When this is done within the first four (4) weeks of a semester course, the student will be withdrawn without penalty and ILO will recommend and record the grade as "Withdrawn." When this is done after the first four (4) week ILO grace period the ILO will record a score of zero for all assessed items which were not completed. The course percentage is then calculated after those are added and will be recorded and recommended to the student's school. Exceptions to this policy will be at the discretion of the ILO Director.

World Language Placement Recommendations

The Iowa Learning Online world language curriculum is comprised of a sequence of semester-length segments (ten segments for Spanish and French, six for German, and four segments of Chinese and Latin). Because of the variability in the way language instruction is administered in schools across the state of Iowa, ILO provides a system for identifying student readiness for a particular segment through detailed course information and readiness assessments within the first week of the course. View recommendations for world language course placement.


Are Advanced Placement or AP courses offered through ILO?
At this time, ILO does not provide Advanced Placement courses. Online Advanced Placement courses are available through the Iowa Online AP Academy at the Belin-Blank Center, The University of Iowa. See http://www.iowaapacademy.org for more details.

What about HiSET (high school equivalency diploma test)?
At this time, HiSET is not a component of ILO.

I am entering the recommended ILO grade onto my local schools transcript. How do I complete the data entry fields for an ILO course in the transcript portion of my student information system?
The local school is still the institution provider. There is a field, Course Origination, where your school identifies the course as an ILO Online course, (6), Iowa Learning Online. There is another field called Delivery Method. This is a validation rule where you must choose internet/online as the delivery method. No ILO teacher folder numbers are required as the Iowa Department of Education has already ensured the teachers are appropriately licensed. For more information, contact Rachel Kruse at the IDOE, 515-281-4153.