In order for students to succeed in Pamoja Education courses, they must commit to some essential agreements and fulfill some basic responsibilities. Key features of student responsibilities are featured below:
Prior to commencing the course, students are expected to have completed integrated orientation activities and to be comfortable navigating in the online environment provided by Pamoja Education.
Regular Attendance and Participation
All students should attend the course regularly each week and make substantial, thoughtful contributions to class discussions. Ideally, students should log in daily; however they are expected to log in and demonstrate substantial course activity on at least three days each week.
As for face-to-face IB classes, schools are expected to schedule a time and a place in each online IB student’s weekly timetable so that they can regularly “attend” their online class. Therefore, at the very least, students will attend their online IB course the same amount of time each week as they would for their face-to-face courses at a similar level.
Schools are asked to manage online IB student truancy according to their standard truancy policy. If Site-based Coordinators learn that a student has not been attending their course, they are asked to contact parents and remind them that this is the equivalent of being truant for one of their timetabled face-to-face classes. Site-based Coordinators are asked to take the appropriate measures as dictated by their own school truancy policies.
Pamoja Education Teachers and SBCs can monitor the frequency and duration of student log-in; however they understand that attendance is about more than simply logging into the course. Student attendance is really demonstrated by their authentic engagement with the course materials and their classmates. Teachers must be able to see evidence of student participation as they contribute to class discussions, group activities and submit assignments.
Forecasting Weekly Workloads and Organizing Time
Every Wednesday, at the start of a new week of lessons, students are expected to review their online responsibilities for the week and organize their time accordingly. Each week contains several activities, and students should complete the activities throughout the work week, accessing the course, engaging in discussion regularly, asking questions of teachers and submitting assignments before deadlines. They should not leave all activities for the last day. Students should organize themselves and schedule the necessary time both to access the course and work offline. In the case of difficulty organizing their workload, students should access support from know teachers and SBCs who will be able to help them meet their goals.
Completion of Activities / Assignments
Students are expected to fulfill the weekly course activities promptly and to the best of their ability. The majority of assignments, including online and offline work, should take approximately the same amount of time as that required for face-to-face courses at Standard and Higher Level. If students anticipate not being able to complete an assignment by the due date, they should contact the teacher before the deadline. If students are not meeting the minimum performance standards for course engagement, teachers will help them to meet those goals, and keep them posted on how they are doing. Students and SBCs should be completely familiar with the Pamoja Education Assessment Policy.
Reviewing teacher feedback
Students are expected to understand how grading and feedback works in the online course. Students receive teacher feedback on their assignments, with comments on their work and strategies for improvement. Furthermore, teacher Engagement Ratings on student engagement with the course are available to SBCs and students every four to five weeks, so that all parties know whether students are meeting standards for the completion of activities and engagement in lessons.
Collaboration in Group Activities
Students are expected to contribute to group activities in a timely and responsible manner. Classmates rely upon one another for successful completion of group activities. In short, students who do not participate in group activities hurt not only their own chances for learning and achievement in the course, but also their classmates’ chances.
Group activities can be challenging in an online course where classmates span the globe in different time-zones. However, these same factors of international diversity can make online group projects even more rewarding. Furthermore, anyone involved in business (parents, relatives, friends, etc.) will agree that one of the most important ingredients for success is responsible collaboration and/or teamwork.
One of the most important aspects of an online course is good communication. Regular communication between students, teachers and SBCs makes online courses real. Participating in an online course requires students to make comments and thoughtful contributions regularly. Students are expected to meet with their SBC to review progress each week. If students start to feel lost or behind in the course, they should not panic or keep silent; they should contact the teacher directly for help. If for some reason they are uncomfortable contacting the teacher, students should confide in their Site-based Coordinator. The full range of communication opportuntities are described in the Pamoja Education Communication Policy.
Most student-student and student-teacher communication in online courses is asynchronous, through written discussion threads, so it's very important that all community members carefully review messages before posting them, to ensure that comments are clearly stated and get the point across. Classmates may become frustrated if they can't understand what others are trying to say, and a great point can be lost through spelling mistakes or typos.
Pamoja Education students are expected to demonstrate the qualities of the IB Learner Profile in all facets of their online course studies, especially in their communication and participation with others online.
Pamoja Educations upholds the fundamental standards and expectations that the IB has set out for participants in their IB Virtual Community (IBVC) Digital Citizenship Standards. This document sets out the expectations for IB Virtually Digital Citizens in terms of the IB Learner Profile.
Furthermore, there are a few standard "netiquette" expectations to be followed in Pamoja Education online IB courses:
- Keep Your Voice Down: USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS online is the equivalent of yelling. Instead, use *asterisks* or _underscore_ around the text to be emphasized.
- Avoid Sarcasm and Subtleties: Hearing spoken words, seeing people's faces and bodies while they talk, and reading dialogue on a computer screen can convey substantially different impressions. Be aware of this when writing, and realize that it's sometimes easier to sound insensitive and hurt someone's feelings or have them miss the point when communicating through text only. To counter this, be clear and straightforward with language, and consider using "emoticons".
- Use Emoticons or Smileys: These symbols are more than just cute; they are actually quite effective in supplying primitive "facial expressions" to supplement words.
- Be Positive: It's good to express opinions in discussions, but don't make disagreements personal. Keep interactions with others friendly, especially when getting to know each other.
- Think Before Posting: Assume that any comment that sounds abrasive wasn't proofed for tone, and wasn't meant to offend -- if you are upset, wait a little and reflect before posting a too-hasty reply that you might regret later. If unsure, ask for clarification of the author's intent.
- Be responsible: Remember that posted comments are recorded and saved.
Students are expected to fully understand and honour the Pamoja Education Academic Honesty Standards that are covered at the start of the course. Furthermore, they should understand the IB definitions of academic malpractice and the formal consequences of malpractice in Pamoja Education courses. For further details they should refer to the Pamoja Education Academic Honesty Policy. Students have access to the Academic Honesty Standards within each course and are invited to ask questions about the policy for clarification with their teacher.
Student and teacher safety is essential in the Pamoja Education community. Our commitment to a safe learning community includes ensuring the privacy of student data, as well as the safety of student contact with other members of the Pamoja Education Community.
- Pamoja Education are registered as Data Collectors with the United Kingdom Information Commissioner’s Office’s Data Protection Register and our responsibilities towards collecting, storing and processing data comply with the Data Protection Act of 1988.
- Access to the Pamoja Education Learning Management System is restricted to members of the Pamoja Education community of Administrators, Teachers, Students and Site-based Coordinators.
- All Pamoja Education personnel with access to the Pamoja Education Learning Management System are subject to criminal records checks.
- Privacy permissions and safety controls enable our users to collaborate and share their information with only select users under specific conditions. Student users can interact safely with their SBC, teachers, classmates and group members, while teachers and SBCs may interact with one another as well as with their colleagues.
- All formal communication between teachers and students occurs within the Pamoja Education Learning Management System and is archived for future reference and safety purposes.
- “Report abuse” systems are in place to ensure that any member of the community can easily and quickly report inappropriate behaviour. See the SOP - Reporting Inappropriate Behaviour. All users are encouraged to keep the Pamoja Education community a safe place; students should report abuse immediately to their teacher if they encounter harassment, unwelcome contact or view inappropriate content.
- Select Pamoja Education administrators have access privileges to monitor activity in the courses. Pamoja Education will always respect the confidentiality of our users when reporting any suspected abuse and will quickly respond and act upon all reported incidents.
- Pamoja Education upholds standards of use as documented in the and in the IB Virtual Community (IBVC) Digital Citizenship Standards.
For a safe community we offer the following basic recommendations from the IB:
- Be aware: No matter where you are accessing the Virtual Community, check to make sure that no one you do not know is sitting near you trying to view your screen and personal information without your consent. Do not store your user name and password on portable devices such as mobile phones, as these can easily be lost or stolen. Change your password if you think anyone has knowledge of it.
- Think: Before uploading or posting anything. Only post information that you would be happy for your friends, teachers and members of your groups to view.
- Report abuse: If you experience bullying, harassment, hate speech or view inappropriate content of any kind in the Pamoja Education Community (or know someone who encounters this), report it to your online teacher or SBC immediately. Please help to keep the site a safe and enjoyable place for all users. We will deal quickly with all reports and respect the privacy of our students. (Adapted from IB Virtual Community (IBVC) Digital Citizenship Standards)
Keeping Pace with the Pamoja Education Academic Calendar
Students are expected to fulfill their commitment to their course of study according to the Pamoja Education academic calendar. They should inform their teacher immediately if they are at risk of falling behind. Students should be committed to logging into their courses, contributing to discussions in a timely fashion, and submitting assignments on a regular basis. Although school breaks and extracurricular commitments may periodically create disruptions and cause some students to fall behind, students should foresee these challenges and contact their teacher ahead of time to ensure that they can keep pace in the course.
Pamoja Education expects that every student who enrolls in online IB Diploma courses does so with the intention of working to the best of their ability toward successful completion of the full two-year course for IB credit. Pamoja Education online teachers are committed to teaching, assessing and supporting all students to this end. We ask that Site Based Coordinators and Diploma Coordinators refrain from enrolling students who are not committed to completing the course.
- For many of students, online IB courses are their only means to put together a six-subject Diploma “package” due to constraints of their school’s subject offerings. Students who are provisional participants, or who intend to drop the course prior to completion may be taking the place of a student for whom the course is a necessity rather than an option.
- The success of our online community of learning relies largely upon our students’ commitment to collaborating with their classmates – especially as they contribute to group discussions, activities and assessments. In our experience, those students who are not fully committed to the course put their own academic achievement at risk, and may also restrict the achievements of their online classmates in collaborative work.
Students who underperform consistently are monitored and supported by the Pamoja Education academic community. For further details please refer to the Pamoja Education Engagement Policy and SOP on Academic Review.