Online Learning Expectations

General Guidelines to Support Online Distance Learning at MacDuffie

While every effort will be made to engage students in-person and on-campus, we recognize that there may be some delays in an international student’s ability to start the year with us or a change in conditions that warrants a move to Remote Learning. With that in mind, all individuals are asked to read and agree to the Online Expectations as detailed below.

MacDuffie’s Online Distance Learning community will be held to the same rules and guidelines of the Acceptable Use of Technology Policy and Student Handbook that all community members sign and agree to follow at the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Regardless of particular rules or acceptable behavior within a student’s home or country, individuals are expected to abide by the code of conduct established by MacDuffie as if they were present on campus. We recognize Integrity to be one of MacDuffie’s core CIRCLE values and as such, expect students to take responsibility for their learning and participate in this experience with honor and pride.

Families concerned about their internet speeds or Wi-Fi connections should communicate with their internet provider. You can run a speed test of your internet connection by clicking here.

Please note that when it comes to technology, we understand that our students living in select countries outside of the U.S. do not have the same access to the technological resources we use on campus, specifically Gmail and Google Classroom. Therefore, we will be communicating with all students primarily through Blackbaud, our current learning management system. For all video conferencing, we intend to use Zoom, which is generally more widely available.

In efforts to make our academic program accessible to students in various time zones and to accommodate families’ needs, we are universally recording classes for which all students cannot attend.  These recordings will be made available to students after the synchronous class has occurred. 

By participating in our academic program this year, you are acknowledging and agreeing to the recording of sessions as part of our Online Distance Learning program.

Key Concepts
  • Remote Learning will only be approved for students for whom travel to the school is not possible(i.e. Visa issues, travel bans, etc.). All communications regarding Remote Learning must come from a parent/guardian and be directed to Ms. Robinson
  • Students who participate in remote learning must abide by school rules and demonstrate appropriate behavior, including but not limited to dress code, language, and respectful interactions with their teacher and peers
  • Cameras must be on and students must be fully and clearly visible
    • Students who do not abide by this may be marked absent
  • Please be on time. Students should aim to be “in class” before the start of the block so they are ready to go and can be accurately marked as present
  • Students are to remain in class for the duration of the block unless otherwise instructed by the teacher
  • Students who cannot attend a live “synchronous” class must view the recorded material and submit all work in a timely manner
  • Students must review materials on Blackbaud and check and respond to emails regularly
Home Classroom Setup Expectations

Students are still “going to class”, albeit at home. Setting up a consistent routine and good habits will help them be more successful. Unlike a typical homework setting, a workspace for online learning in the home will be interactive and therefore have very different needs and limitations. 

As cameras and microphones will be on, paying attention to background noise, background visuals, etc., will be very important – in this way the kitchen table may not be optimal for all families, especially those with active kitchens or busy households. 

Similarly, creating a space that provides easy parental oversight is important but may present an additional challenge. 

With all this in mind, here are some tools for success:

How to create a “school room” at home

  • Choose a quiet space that allows opportunities for adult supervision. 
  • Be seated at a table or desk with a comfortable/quiet chair 
  • Additional space for working offline (room for a textbook and a notebook and a laptop open at the same time).
  • All books and notebooks available and close at hand.
  • Quiet – no background noise such as conversations, pets, radio,TV, etc.
  • Neutral background/backdrop (be mindful of mirrors or windows in direct sunlight … both pose potential issues.)
  • School supplies handy – colored pens or pencils, loose leaf plain and lined paper, calculator, scissors, tape or glue stick, etc.
  • Phones should be away from the work area and tabs on the computer should be school-work related.
  • Devices should be charged or plugged in to be ready at the start of class
Student Expectations

Whether you are in-person or learning remotely, you will follow the same schedule and curriculum. All classes will be taught by the same instructors, regardless of how you receive it. Classes are scheduled for 45-50minutes, typically four times a week, with the goal of meeting all lessons synchronously if possible. Assemblies, Advisories, and Class Meetings are also require mandatory attendance. You will also have a regular schedule of homework. Many students underestimate the actual time they will need to complete their coursework. We strongly suggest you establish a schedule that you can follow on a daily basis.

Students are expected to:

  • Attend synchronous classes that meet between the hours beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 11:00 p.m, according to your local time. For our international students, every effort has been made to allow you to be present in at least two classes for each block, placing them between 8 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Granby time and we urge you to make it to those so you can have that minimum of two-days live. It is expected that students will remain in classes until they are dismissed, even if the time runs over  – either because of the schedule (ie. on Wednesdays and Fridays when classes end at 11:05 and 11:15 respectively) or particular lessons that may run long.  If you are unable to meet for class during these times, it is your responsibility to reach out to the teacher ahead of time whenever possible and have your parent contact Ms. Skibel, or follow-up soon after. 
    • All teachers will be taking daily attendance. Absences will continue to be reported to the Dean of Students and communication will be sent home if absences accumulate. If a student is sick or another obligation arises, we ask the parents to be in touch with the Dean’s Office as they normally would. We are aware that the time frames above are not convenient for all students and that flexibility and patience is necessary.
  • Review materials provided by teachers for classes that are outside of the time zone requirement. This could include watching recordings of class (if applicable), homework assignments, or other asynchronous engagement as determined by the teacher.
  • Be fully dressed​ in school-appropriate clothing. Pajamas or offensive clothing is not acceptable. 
  • Be on time. Attendance takes place at the very beginning of class. Tardies of 15 minutes or more are considered absences. 
  • Be fully present​, sitting upright with the camera pointed at your face and video camera ON. Ceiling fans are not acceptable face substitutions. Students who are not clearly visible for class may be marked absent.
  • Keep your microphone on mute while not talking​
  • Remember teachers and classmates can see you, and that these class sessions will be recorded​
  • Use chat to ask a teacher a question​

Do Not:

  • Wear clothing that is not in our casual dress code
  • Have TV or other distractions on​
  • Regularly get up from your screen and walk away
  • Try to talk over others or have side conversations​
  • Set up your computer for a video call in the middle of a busy room
  • Have side conversations or use chat for non-class related topics​
A Note on Assesssments

Students are subject to similar assignments and assessments given to students in class, but due to the nature of remote learning, may receive this material in different formats.

By entering into the agreement to learn remotely, students pledge not to seek unfair advantage due to their remote learning situation.  This includes but is not limited to:  accessing resources or assistance during a test or asking classmates for answers.

Family Expectations

Posting a “quiet hours during online class time” schedule in the house may be a good starting place. With each child, setting up clear online expectations in the household is also important. Helping students to insert active time between classes or immediately following lessons (a walk or other physical exercise) will be crucial for all students, particularly younger students.

  • While parents are not expected to monitor students learning or be present for lessons, it is important to be vigilant in supporting your child’s progress. Online learning is a different skillset and students often struggle with establishing a routine and submitting work in a timely manner . Please encourage your child to be checking lessons and assignments regularly on Blackbaud – a tool you have access to as well. 
  • Please review Progress Reports that may be sent regarding your child’s work and reach out to teachers with questions or concerns.  
  • Appearance – Students should attend class ready to learn, wide awake and appropriately dressed for school
  • Drinks and Snacks – Water and healthy snacks are fine, but class time is not mealtime. Snacks should be quiet.

While teachers will have a baseline for classroom rules and expectations, individual classes will establish course-specific expectations and standards. Those will be set by the teacher and the students. This would include everything from bathroom breaks to “netiquette”(online etiquette) to discussion protocols.

There may be tasks and assignments that require the use of technology for submission, making a video for presentation, group projects, etc.

The students will have more “unstructured time” than in the typical school environment that they used to have. They may need more guidance and help organizing their use of that time.

Technology Checklist

MacDuffie’s existing program requires that every student use a portable computer for school each day. More information on the Bring Your Own Laptop (BYOL) policy can be found here. Cell phones are not suitable learning devices. The one additional requirement for remote learning is to ensure that the device is equipped with a camera and a microphone. Alternatively, a student could use a separate camera attachment and either a separate microphone attachment or a headset/earbuds with a microphone built in. 

Material Checklist:

  • PC, Mac, or Chromebook
  • Headphones with microphone (most any phone headphones, such as AirPods and other Bluetooth headphones, include a microphone). A gaming headset will work as well.
  • Calculator
    • For Algebra 1 and higher, a TI 84 or TI 84 Plus or TI 84 Plus CE is required. Please no TI Nspires or Casios.   
  • Make sure your space is equipped to handle cords and other technology as needed
  • ZOOM access (check Zoom here). 
  • Blackbaud account, checking regularly for assignments and updates
Recording Policy

The MacDuffie School reserves the right to record or photograph any enrolled student and use those recordings and pictures for promotional and educational purposes, as stated in the enrollment contract. Parents/Guardians who do not wish their child’s likeness to be used for promotional purposes must request and complete the appropriate paperwork from the Office of Admission.

During periods of remote learning, teachers record Zoom classes to share with their remote students who are unable to attend class.The School does not generally record classes when all students are present, either in person or via Zoom, but reserves the right to do so. As a matter of course, we delete class recordings regularly as we have limited storage available to us, and recordings are not generally available after 60 days. These recordings are shared in Blackbaud. In addition to recording academic classes, we reserve the right to record all school assemblies, class meetings and other all school events.

We do not record one-on-one meetings between faculty/staff and students whether they are in person or virtual, without explicit consent from both parties.  Inadvertent recordings should be deleted as soon as reasonably possible.