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Help for At-Risk Students, Adult Learners, ELL, and Accelerated Learners

About Class.com

Mission
Class.com provides innovative educators the tools they need to reach every child. Class.com makes
learning possible anytime, anywhere by combining the best of academia and cutting-
ʺClass.com has been 
edge technology. Our mission is to deliver research-based online high school courses
invaluable in 
in a way that helps every teacher and student succeed. Our customers include high
helping establish our 
schools, school districts, state departments of education, and a variety of other
virtual high school. 
agencies that serve educators and young people.
The quality of the 
courseware and the 
History helpfulness of the 
Class.com began as part of a research project at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s staff are exceptional. 
Division of Continuing Studies. In 1996, the University, with a 75-year history of We have been able 
serving distance learners around the world, was awarded a USED grant to research
to help many 
and develop an effective Internet-based high school curriculum. The project was
students graduate 
designed to harness the power and resources of the Internet to educate at-risk and
on time and with 
reluctant learners. Cross-disciplinary teams of instructional designers, subject-matter
their class, greatly 
experts, classroom teachers, multimedia developers, and software engineers
improving our four 
developed the original courses.
high schoolsʹ NCLB 
report cards.ʺ 
In 1999, Class.com was founded to deliver these new media-rich courses to schools.
 
Still headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, but with users throughout the country, our
Margaret B. Walden 
privately held company, now a technology spin-off of the university, develops and
Instructional 
distributes high-quality online content for secondary learners.
Programs 
Coordinator 
Classrooms Without Walls Richland School 
Class.com helps make quality education available anywhere and at any time. In District #2 
school or out, face-to-face or at a distance, Class.com offers access to an exciting Columbia, SC 
new learning community where students can succeed. Class.com will expand the
universe of teachers and learners worldwide, helping to eliminate the achievement
gap, giving confidence to reluctant learners, and energizing teachers with the
opportunity for one-to-one instruction.

Students can take needed courses for credit recovery or for remediation and/or
acceleration. For learners who do not fit the traditional classroom, working one-to-
one with a teacher may be the perfect solution.

Our Internet-based courses provide a variety of options for educators. Class.com can
make a difference for administrators who must stretch limited resources to serve
many types of learners. Class.com can be the solution, helping a school restructure a
variety of programs to assure adequate yearly progress for every learner.

Our goal is to make high-quality learning accessible and affordable. We will not let
you fail the students you serve. Class.com, Inc. 
www.class.com  
888‐482‐5598 
info@class.com 
 
Class.com Philosophy
A mechanism whereby students receive remediation only in weak areas of study can certainly be
appropriate for those students who require reinforcement of academic concepts
already learned, or when a straightforward credit recovery is what’s required; the “Class.com has been 
effectiveness of such an approach is greatest when the targeted population has an active partner in 
well-defined, distinct, and our Plano ISD 
limited skill deficiencies that eSchool since its 
can result in marginal test beginning. The 
failure. However, Class.com quality of their 
believes that the most courses and the 
appropriate remediation for ongoing dialogue on 
significant skill deficiencies how we can work 
that may result in broader together to improve 
academic and test failure is our services to 
a comprehensive approach students has been a 
that provides appropriate cornerstone of our 
context, scaffolding (the success.” 
student moving from known  
This Class.com American History course includes video to unknown material), and Dr. Doug Otto 
interviews with WWII veterans. a bridge from simple recall Superintendent 
to more sophisticated Plano ISD, TX 
application and synthesis. Class.com courses are based on both cognitivist and  
constructivist theories that stress building from simple to complex, anchoring new
knowledge to old, and providing advance organizers to help students make
cognitive links to prior knowledge and real world experience.

Class.com courseware combines direct core instruction with guided practice and
exploration. The Class.com approach has evolved beyond the 1960’s pre-Internet
technology known as computer-based education or CBE, which stressed individual
drill-and-practice, and which often lacked any context. The Class.com courseware
integrates technology, appropriate media, and learning tools within the academic
content, creating a seamless learning environment designed to help students
organize their learning and realize what’s important. Students can go back and
review, move ahead to explore, and collaborate with students and teachers to
learn in a way that works best for them.
 
Class.com courseware enables learning in context, individualization within a pre- Class.com, Inc. 
designed course structure, and opportunities for students to choose activities and www.class.com 
assessments that increase engagement and retention. The Class.com approach 888‐482‐5598 
gives failing students an opportunity for test success, course success, and the info@class.com 
overall academic success that comes from true mastery and integration of learning.
Research & Results:
Designing & Evaluating Online Instruction

Background
The online courses offered by Class.com are the result of five years’ research conducted at the University
of Nebraska under the auspices of a $17.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant. The grant funded
the design and implementation of what would eventually become the first complete line of courses
designed from the ground up for online delivery.

Goals: Helping At-Risk Students With Credit Recovery


Because the Class.com curriculum was designed from the start for Internet delivery, rather than being
made up of brick-and-mortar courses that had been rehashed for the Web, our goal from the start was to
design and create effective, media-rich courseware that could be delivered 100% via the Internet: Thus,
with the exception of novels that an instructor might wish to require in some English courses, no
additional texts or workbooks are required, and no additional diskettes or CDs are necessary.1

Credit recovery is one key use for Web-based courses. The Class.com curriculum was designed to enable
schools and districts to offer concentrated Web-based courses to students who have failed (or had to
withdraw from) courses that they need for graduation. Thus, credit recovery was a major impetus behind
the design and implementation of each of the Class.com courses.

In addition, more and more schools and districts are showing positive results using Class.com courses
with accelerated learners, in before/after school programs, with adult learners, and to help students with
scheduling conflicts or special needs, including ELL and homebound students.

Research
In designing the courses, we looked to current research to help us determine “best of breed” approaches
in pedagogy, media, and human-computer interface design. Since Class.com courses were designed for
the Web from the start, we had (and maintain) an advantage over curricula originally designed for face-
to-face brick-and-mortar presentation and then adapted for the Web. This approach makes Class.com
courses extremely effective, regardless of whether they’re being used for credit recovery, virtual schools,
homebound students, or alternative education.

Beginning in 1996, educators, subject matter experts, instructional designers, and media specialists
working under the Federal grant conducted their own research and also surveyed extant work in the area
from such researchers as Doherty, Clark, Kluger, Wofford, Merrill, Druckman & Bjork, Harp & Mayer,
Loman, Lorch, and others.2

Many of those researchers, of course, concentrated on “distance learning,” but it’s obvious that best
practices in teaching often cut across delivery methodologies, just as they often cut across disciplines:
Allowing students to practice a skill to which they’ve recently been introduced, for example, is a strategy
that applies regardless of how the material is delivered and, indeed, regardless of the subject matter.

1
Some Class.com foreign language courses may reference textbooks that the instructor may wish to utilize.
2
See, among others: Lorch, R.F., Educational Psychology Review, 1, 209-234 (1989); Loman, N.L. & Mayer, R.E.,
Journal of Educational Psychology, 75, 402-412 (1983); Harp, S.F. & Mayer, R.E., Journal of Educational
Psychology, 89, 92-102 (1997); Druckman, D. & Bjork, R.A., Learning, Remembering, Believing: Enhancing
Human Performance, National Academy Press (1994); Merrill, M.D., “Component Display Theory,” in
Instructional Design Theories, C.M. Reigeluth (Ed.) (1983); Clark, R., What Works In Distance Learning,
“Strategies Based on Providing Learner Control of Instructional Navigation” (2003)
Thus, essential learning strategies in Web-delivered courseware sometimes turned out, not surprisingly,
to be identical to essential learning strategies used in a brick-and-mortar classroom. For that reason,
researchers such as Marzano – in works describing both Web-delivered courseware and traditional
classroom interactions – were extremely helpful and illuminating. We’ve found, therefore, that Marzano’s
nine essential learning strategies are just as appropriate and useful in Web-based curricula as they are in
a face-to-face classroom situation. And, as we would expect, much prior research – from Dewey to Bloom
– also applies regardless of the environment.3

Best Practices
So, what does work best in online courseware? The list is long (and its implementation complex), but we
can certainly point out a few of the most important research findings:

1. If a course is to be delivered on the Web, it should all be delivered on the Web; use of additional
materials (texts, workbooks, CDs, etc.) should be minimized.
2. Instructors are important. The notion (often popular in the 1980s) that passive CBI can be
effective on its own is naïve; teachers must be involved to guide, to facilitate, to help evaluate,
and to enhance and customize the learners’ experience. Related to this, instructors must be able
to modify, enhance, add to, or delete course content.
3. Some skills transcend subject matter; students in every course should be required to read and
write.
4. Learning must be personalized and made relevant; the question, “But why does this matter to
me?” must be answered. Thus the inclusion in Class.com courses of what we’ve labeled Real
World Connections.
5. Students must be given frequent and useful feedback and the chance to practice what they’ve
just learned.

Rich Media: Instructors’ vs. Students’ Views


While the presence of rich, interactive media is not often cited by instructors as being all that important
to the success of online courses,
the students see it differently.

Instructors, understandably, tend


to be more concerned with the
administrative and functional as-
pects of courses and their delivery
mechanisms than with the idea of
rich media. They’re much more
interested in navigability, tracking,
and customizability than in what
they perceive as “flash” and
“sizzle.” 4 From the instructor’s
perspective, this makes perfect
sense: All the bells, whistles, and
virtual frog-dissection labs in the
world mean little if the courses An algebra animation helps explain the concept of negative slope.

3
See Marzano, et. al., What Works in Classroom Instruction, Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning
(2000); U.S. Dept. of Education, What Works: Research About Teaching and Learning, U.S. Govt. Printing Office
(1987); and Bloom, B., Human Characteristics and School Learning (1976, McGraw-Hill)
4
See, among other studies, Standards for K-12 Distributed Learning in British Columbia, BC Ministry of Education
(June, 2007) and Quality On The Line: Benchmarks for Success in Internet-Based Distance Education, The Institute
For Higher Education Policy (April, 2000)
themselves are shoddy, the implementation flawed, delivery unreliable, or the assessment inconsistent or
nonexistent.

But students love rich media. Having gown up in a world of personal computers, plasma television,
satellite radio, and instant Internet access, they expect that online courses will exhibit what they consider
normal “production values.” That is, today’s students assume that information delivered via the Web –
even information in the form of a high school course – will include sound, visuals, movies, and a level of
interactivity similar to that to which they’ve already been exposed. In order to learn, students must be
engaged, and engaging students means, among other things, the inclusion of media.

Class.com courses are professionally designed by teams of teachers, subject matter experts, media
specialists, and instructional designers, all working together to provide teachers with the tools they need
and students with the enjoyable experience they desire. Portions of that experience derive from the
inclusion, when appropriate, of media-rich displays and activities such as the “virtual microscope” used in
our Biology 1A course:

The virtual microscope lab from a Class.com biology course.

A portion of a reactant animation from a Class.com chemistry course.


How Effective?
In the end, results are what matter. In an age in which accountability and standards have become the
bywords by which educational institutions are judged, any pedagogical approach must be able to justify
itself by pointing to positive real-world results. If students don’t learn, then all the flash and sizzle and
research in the world means nothing.

VSOL Math Exam

In Virginia, 1000 students who failed the VSOL math exam on the first attempt then took Class.com’s
Algebra and Geometry courses. When they retook the VSOL exam, their pass rate was 97%. (Some
improvement was no doubt due simply to increased familiarity with the exam [generally known as the
“practice effect”], which can amount to several percentage points, but which wouldn’t normally lead to a
97% pass rate.)5

Virginia math exam results.

Credit Recovery in Algebra Repeaters

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, 63% of 156 students who had previously failed retook the
course and passed with a C or better after taking a Class.com course; only 34% passed with a C or better
using more traditional methods. The failure rate with Class.com courses was 17%, compared to 47%
with traditional courses.

Credit recovery results in Los Angeles Unified School District.

5
See Koretz, D., Mitchell, K., Barron, S. & Keith, S., Perceived Effects of the Maryland School Performance
Assessment Program (1996); Bird, Papadopoulou, et. al., “Test–Retest Reliability, Practice Effects And Reliable
Change Indices For The Recognition Memory Test,” British Journal of Clinical Psychology (2003); and Oliver, R.
& Williams, R.L., “Direct and Indirect Effects of Completion Versus Accuracy Contingencies on Practice-Exam and
Actual-Exam Performance,” Journal of Behavioral Education, Vol. 14, No. 2, (June 2005)
Kansas Summer School Completion Rates

Historically, summer school completion rates (partly due to the very nature of the “Class.com worked 
students whom it tends to attract and toward whom it is directed) are not as high with our school to 
as one might like; it’s not unusual to see completion rates in the 80% range or make the entire high 
less.6 Yet, students and teachers using Class.com courses in a recent University of school curriculum 
Kansas study reported a 95% summer school completion rate. available to our 
students. Adult 
students tend to “stop 
out” of school when 
family, jobs, or life get 
in the way. With 
Class.com, we have 
seen student 
persistence increase, as 
well as the quality of 
student work. We 
were initially 
Summer school completion rates in Kansas.
concerned that we 
would lose students 
who had no computer 
experience, or who 
Engaging At-Risk Students
thought the courses 
Many students achieve at a very high level in traditional educational environments.
were too difficult. The 
But students who struggle working within those traditional educational models
need alternatives. Dropout prevention and recovery programs, alternative schools, opposite has occurred. 
and special needs programs provide focused and student-centric interventions to In our second year 
improve student achievement. Class.com offers differentiated and individualized using Class.com 
alternatives to schools and districts seeking to improve student retention and courses, we have 
increase graduation rates. increased the number 
of computers in our 
Opportunity at a Distance lab, as well as the 
In the end, teaching is teaching: Given a solid curriculum, good instructional number of hours we 
design, and knowledgeable and caring instructors, students can and do learn, are open.” 
regardless of (and occasionally in spite of) the mode of delivery. What Web-
delivered courses provide is the ability to offer that curriculum – and that all- Evelyn Lenton, 
important interaction with the instructor – over a distance and at a time convenient Diploma Program 
to both learners and instructors. As it happens, the transactional distance over Coordinator, Antelope 
which this sort of learning occurs, while it means laboring under certain constraints, Valley Union H.S. 
also provides for the delivery of exciting, innovative, media-rich courses, often to District, Lancaster, CA 
students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to take those courses.
 

Class.com, Inc. 
www.class.com  
888‐482‐5598 
info@class.com 
 

6
For example, a recent face-to-face summer school session in the Lincoln, NE public schools had a completion rate
of 81%, while a recent session at a school in Frankfort, IN resulted in a 79% completion rate.
Class.com Course List

Mathematics Language Arts Business & Technology

Algebra 1A – Expanded! Beginning Composition Business Communication


Algebra 1B – Expanded! English 9A Business and Personal Protocol
Algebra 2A – Expanded! English 9B Business and Consumer Math
Algebra 2B – Expanded! English 10A Introduction to Technology –
Essential Math 1A English 10B Expanded!
Essential Math 1B English 11A (Am. Literature) Personal Economics and Finance
Geometry 1A – Expanded! English 11B (Am. Literature)
Geometry 1B – Expanded! English 12A (Adv Composition)
Pre-Algebra 1A English 12B (World Literature) Social Studies
Pre-Algebra 1B CAHSEE English - New!
Precalculus 1A
American History 1A – Expanded!
Precalculus 1B Language Learning American History 1B – Expanded!
Math Models with Applications
American Government
CAHSEE Math 1A Spanish 1A Anthropology
CAHSEE Math 1B Spanish 1B Civics
Spanish 2A Macroeconomics
Science Spanish 2B Psychology
Conversational English: World Civilizations 1A
Biology 1A Everyday English World Civilizations 1B
Biology 1B – Expanded! Conversational English: World Geography 1A - New!
Chemistry 1A Explore Your World World Geography 1B –New!
Chemistry 1B
Health Science 1A
Health Science 1B Personal Growth Developmental Education
Life Science-Oceanography
Physical Science 1A Career Planning Math Skills Review
Physical Science 1B Study Skills Pre-Algebra 1A
Physics 1A
Pre-Algebra 1B
Physics 1B
Algebra 1A
Integrated Physics &
Algebra 1B
Chemistry 1A
Essential Math 1A
Integrated Physics &
Essential Math 1B
Chemistry 1B
Study Skills
Beginning Composition
Reading Comprehension
Technical Specifications
Minimum System Requirements

Operating System Windows 2000 or higher


And Browser with either Internet Explorer 6.x or higher
Or Firefox 2.x or higher

Macintosh OSX
with Apple Safari or
Firefox 2.x or higher

Plug-ins Java 1.4


Shockwave
Flash 7.0.19 or higher
(Some versions prior to 9.x may not work properly)
QuickTime 7.0 or higher
(If possible, please use latest versions of all plug-ins)
Browsealoud (optional for screen reading)

Connectivity Direct Internet connection;


56kbps modem (High Speed 256K+ recommended)

Memory 128 MB Ram (512MB recommended)

Display 800 x 600 required (1024 x 768 recommended)

Peripherals Keyboard, mouse, sound card and speakers

Accessories Microphone (headset recommended)


for language courses

Supported Learning Management Systems (LMS)

Blackboard ASP and Self Hosted site options (7.x or 8.x)

Moodle ASP Hosted Site (1.9)

Angel Learning SP and Self Hosted site options (7.2+)


Class.com
330 South 13th St.
Lincoln, NE 68508
402-441-3050
888-482-5598
www.class.com