General Information for New Students
Iowa Learning Online (ILO), is an Iowa Department of Education program which partners with your local school or district to provide you with online learning opportunities. ILO supports a variety of course subjects and student situations.
Your course will include a wide variety of learning events, assignments, discussion forums, video chats, projects and assessments. You will have an opportunity to meet and collaborate with other students from across the state. Some science courses provide an opportunity for students to participate in regional labs held across the state.
Online Teacher and Student Coach
ILO teachers are highly qualified and experienced teaching online. You will have many opportunities to interact with your teacher, and he or she will be your main point of contact with any questions about the content or working online.
Your school will also provide an on-site person who can help make sure you have the local support you need to be successful. We call this person a Student Coach, and it might be a teacher or other professional in your building. Refer to your local Student Coach for any problems accessing technology or materials for your course, or if you are having any other problems with your experience.
Learning at a Distance
While there are many similarities, being a student in an online course can be a very different experience than in a traditional face-to-face course. Consider the following tips to succeed as a distance learner:
- Communication is critical. Be ready to participate in class through both written and spoken word.
- Do not give up easily when faced with challenging materials and technologies. Prioritize your workload and find ways to track your tasks.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions! Don't hesitate to ask for help with either your course content or technology. Ask for clarifications when needed. Your teacher and Student Coach are there to help.
- Log on to your course every day so you don't fall behind. Make a habit of checking for assignments, reading email and contributing to discussions.
Your school will provide you with the required technology and resources for your course, but you may also choose to work on your course from home or another location. Your course will include a variety of online technologies for viewing content, completing assignments and collaborating with your teacher and other students. Participation in an ILO course requires you to have 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)
- headphones (speakers are acceptable but not preferred)
- webcam and microphone to participate in videoconferencing
- Zoom videoconferencing software (free download http://www.zoom.us)
ILO uses a system called Genius to manage student information. Students can log in to Genius at iowalearningonline.org to:
- Change your password (for both Genius and Canvas)
- Identify your Student Coach
- Find information about your course enrollments
Is this your first time accessing Genius? Follow these simple instructions to get started.
Using the Canvas Course Management System
Canvas is a Web-based set of tools ILO uses to deliver online learning. If you can use a word processing program, e-mail or Web browser, you should have no problems mastering the capabilities of Canvas. Some of the Canvas tools you might encounter in your course include:
- Quizzes & Tests
Each of the Canvas tools enable you to communicate and interact in many of the same ways you would in a traditional course. As with any type of class, the tools and techniques used will be different from course to course based on the instructor and the content. Once you start your course, you will have many opportunities to explore each feature in-depth.
Canvas provides a comprehensive collection of online guides, videos and troubleshooting tips for all users:
Watch the overview video below to get a better understanding of Canvas.
What to Expect when Your Course Starts
You will receive a separate email notice once you can access your course. You will be able to access your course up to a week before the official start of the term. In some cases, you might be added to a course after the term has begun and other students have started. Regardless, your teacher will contact you to let you know how to get started. You should also hear from your local Student Coach. The first few days of the course will focus on introducing the teacher and other students, accessing your course content and tools, and getting started with your online lessons.
ILO Course Withdrawal Policy
Students who are not successfully engaged in their course within the first four (4) weeks of the term may be withdrawn from the course. Find out more about the ILO Course Withdrawal Policy.
If you have any questions prior to the start of your course, please visit iowalearningonline.org, talk with your local Student Coach, or email us at Cale.Roe@iowa.gov. If your course has already started, direct your questions to your online teacher.