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1 - Online Learning Preparation
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Our programs emphasize the specific teaching and instructional leadership skills and mindsets that have the greatest impact on student learning and character development. At Relay, we believe that becoming a great teacher or principal is much like becoming a great musician or surgeon. It takes continuous practice, feedback, and dedication. Our approach to training teachers and principals begins with a curriculum rooted in pedagogical theory and grounded in evidence of what works best in schools.


While the majority of Relay's programs are fully online for the 2024-2025 academic year, there may be one or more programs in the following states that may have an in-person component: Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Tennessee. Students must have a program-aligned instructional role within the geographic location that aligns with the campus to which they are enrolled but take will classes via online instruction.


Definitions & Platforms

  • Synchronous coursework: Live classes, via video conference, with cameras on - not webinars. These classes are similar to in-person classes and give students opportunities for discussion, collaboration, practice, and participation in model lessons.

  • Asynchronous coursework: On-demand assignments that you can complete on your own. These assignments will likely have a suggested timeline and due date and are often related to your synchronous coursework.

  • Zoom: The online video conferencing software you use for synchronous classes. This will be the location of our virtual classroom.

  • Nearpod: an online platform for interactive lesson materials. Relay uses this platform to broadcast our content and interactive learning activities/exercises to student devices in real time.

Tips for Good Online Learning Environment

  1. Make sure you have a strong internet connection. If you are having difficulty paying for your home internet connection, learn more about financial support for internet access from Consumer Reports here. You may also be interested in this “Guide For Schools & Students: Programs For Free Internet, Computers And Tech” to help your school and students gain access.

  2. Be in a space that is conducive to learning, free of distractions, both physically and digitally. Consider your phone location as this can take away from your ability to fully participate. Here are “7 Tried-and-True Secrets for a Productive Home Office” from The Muse.

  3. Join from a computer to allow for full participation. Your school may provide a laptop, but if you are in need of a computer check out this article for help.

  4. Use headphones to ensure the best audio connection.

  5. Log into class a few minutes early to pull up materials and troubleshoot any challenges.

  6. Enable your video and audio capabilities, but put yourself on mute as a default.  Be prepared to unmute as you participate.


Set up screens to split between your Zoom and Nearpod windows. Here’s a quick “how-to” on a Windows or Mac.

Successful Participation

  • Preparation, participation, and self-advocacy are key. You own your experience and can really make the best of it by preparing yourself for the session, being present and engaged in the lesson, and speaking up for yourself when you need support. Reach out to your professor to share any unique needs or context. 

  • Know your learning style. While you will generally not need anything beyond your computer (with webcam, audio/headphones, and a strong internet connection), you may prefer to take notes by hand.

  • Engagement is all-in. That is, come prepared to discuss, participate in model lessons, give and receive peer feedback, practice, and collaborate. You will fully engage just like you would in an in-person class!

      • Cold-calling is particularly helpful in the online environment to get the conversation started, and therefore used frequently. That said, it’s never a gotcha.  A professor may call on you to hear your thoughts and ideas, but will not call on you to check that you are paying attention (this is assumed, of course).  

      • Single-task. You’ve probably heard the research on multitasking before (i.e., it doesn’t work). During class, be physically all in as well as digitally all in. Technology can facilitate engagement as well as become a source of distraction. Close tabs and windows that aren’t related to class. Also, think of a way that works for you to keep yourself from being distracted by your phone (e.g., put it in another room). 

  • Asset-based Thinking: The stories we tell ourselves have power. These stories, positive or negative, impact our perceptions of ourselves and others. Use asset-based thinking and treat others in a way that will include rather than exclude them from the conversation. Each of us has a significant role to play in closing opportunity gaps for our students, and our mindsets towards ourselves and others (peers, students, communities, etc.) can positively or negatively impact that work. 

Be sure to review these technology requirements.  You may already meet these requirements or you may want to make plans to fulfill them before starting your program in the summer.


Your First Year 


Relay's programs all start with a summer session. Click here to see your options.

Prospective students should not plan other commitments during the summer session period. Classes may be held during normal workday hours, evenings, and on occasional weekends. Regardless of Relay class times, prospective students should plan for obligations for their new profession during the day as soon as the summer term begins. 


Though all Relay classes are online, we want to create an environment that reminds us we're preparing to be excellent educators. We encourage all Relay students to dress professionally, in the same clothes they would wear to go to school. (On the top, of course!)


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