Who We Are

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the mission of GOA?

The mission of GOA is to reimagine learning to empower students and educators to thrive in a globally networked society.

  • We deepen learning through courses that equip students with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to be successful in high school, college, career, and life.
  • We coach teachers to think differently about how they design student learning experiences.
  • We work with educational leaders to ensure they have the strategies and tools to lead innovation and change.

Is GOA accredited?

Is GOA nonprofit?


Professional Learning

I am an educator. How do I get started with GOA professional learning?

You can join an educator course or an educator program. You can have GOA facilitate an online workshop for your school. Your school can become a GOA member.

I’m thinking about signing up for a GOA educator course. Are there any technical prerequisites or requirements?

Participants will need a working computer, access to the internet, and a functional webcam. Unless specified in the course description, there are no prerequisites for GOA Educator courses.

How much do GOA online courses for educators cost?

Educator courses are free for educators from member schools. For non-members, please see the specific course page for pricing.

Can I work at my own pace and time in an online course?

All GOA online courses are asynchronous, meaning you can do work at your own pace and time during the time frame that the course is open. Occasionally we offer optional synchronous video chats with facilitators and coaches during a course. Again, these are always optional and recorded if you cannot make it. Most typically our online professional learning courses are asynchronous.

How much time should I expect to spend in an online course?

This is really up to you. We say the expectation is anywhere from three to five hours a week. This can be in one chunk, or you may spend time a few days a week in the course. Courses are also open on the weekends if that’s more convenient for you. The amount of time is really up to you and what you want to get out of the experience.

Who participates in GOA’s online courses?

Educators from GOA member schools and beyond. We have education leaders including Heads of School and department heads and educators from secondary, middle, and elementary schools that take our courses. We have people in our courses who work at independent schools as well as public and charter schools.

Will I be able to access the course material after the courses end?

We keep our professional learning online courses open for up to two weeks after the course ends, so you will have time to peruse resources even after the course is over. We do not leave courses open indefinitely because the hallmark of our online courses is the relationships between participants and the coaches. We will communicate the course close date with you the ahead of time.

I’m taking an online course with my school team. Can we collaborate on the course?

Yes. We encourage collaboration in all of our professional learning courses. Relationships and collaboration are hallmarks of our online learning experience.

How will I know when I have access to an online course I registered for?

You will receive an email with your Canvas login information and invitation to join the course. If you do not receive this and are registered for the course, please email: hello@globalonlineacademy.org.

How long are GOA online professional learning courses?

Currently our online courses are one week long.

What will I learn in an online course that might benefit me and my school?

We believe in the power of networks to transform learning. GOA educator courses allow you to engage with colleagues from other schools to push your thinking or share inspiration and ideas that can impact the way you teach and lead. We mix the practical with the theoretical. You will explore playlists of resources, engage in dialogue with peers, share your own experience, ask questions, and create something with your new knowledge.

How do I register for an online course for educators?

You can register for educator courses here.

What should I expect as a participant in an online course?

Our courses are designed to be hands-on and highly interactive. Participants are expected to log into their course frequently and commit approximately 30 minutes per day for a total of 3-6 hrs of work each week. Whether it’s a discussion, work on a shared project, or reading for the course, clear timeframes for the completion of coursework will be provided by the instructor. Just as with a traditional learning environment, participants are expected to communicate and collaborate with peers both synchronously (at a set time, using video conferencing), and asynchronously (at different times, using online discussion tools).

Who designs and facilitates GOA professional learning online courses?

Our educator courses are designed and facilitated by education leaders and teachers with practical experience and expertise in the subject area.

What is your cancelation policy for a GOA educator course or program?

If you are registered for an educator course or program and cannot participate, you may cancel, or drop, the course or program at least two weeks prior to the start date in order to receive reimbursement.

We are sometimes able to accommodate a switch to another course offering with at least two weeks notice.

Why should I take a GOA online course?

Our professional learning courses allow teachers to expand their professional knowledge, develop new ways of thinking about their practice to match the modern world, and prepare students for a global future. Specifically, participants will enhance their current practice and have the flexibility to learn at a time that works for their individual schedules.

Does GOA offer participation certificates, college credit, or Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?

We do offer participation certificates. To obtain one, you must complete the course in its entirety; you cannot generate a certificate until the day after the course is completed. On your honor, you may generate your own certificate here. You will need your unique id, which was sent in your enrollment confirmation and welcome email (participants from courses before May 2020 may need to request their unique id by emailing Hello@globalonlineacademy.org with a certificate request that includes your email address, class name, and the date of the course). Some people generate certificates and are able to turn it into their schools as proof of completion and/or clock hours/CEUs. It really depends on the school and individual.

We do not offer college credit for weeklong courses, only the certificate mentioned above. For longer courses and programs, we can offer CEUs through OSPI in Washington state.

Student Program Membership

Can any school become a GOA Student Program Member?

GOA is a consortium of leading independent schools. Admission is determined by the Expansion Committee of the Board of Trustees. In a spirit of equity and inclusion, the Expansion Committee, in reviewing all requests to join, will consider the location of the school, the school’s academic profile, and the commitment of the school to including online education in its curriculum. Inquire about membership.

How many Student Program Members are there?

The GOA Student Program currently consists of over 80 member schools. A full list of our founding and member schools can be found here.

What are some of the considerations of membership?

GOA Student Program Members:

  • Are accredited by a regional independent school association or international equivalent
  • Are enthusiastically supported by their head of school and administrative team to be members of Global Online Academy
  • Are academically competitive
  • Contribute to the geographical diversity of Global Online Academy
  • Show a spirit of innovation, and can demonstrate a willingness to be creative and try new things within their institution
  • Create and support a diverse student body, and have a desire to enhance the public purpose of independent school education
  • Live a mission that supports the mission of Global Online Academy
  • Nominate faculty members to develop and teach courses for the academy, and share a willingness to provide curricular resources with the academy and its member teachers
  • Grant credit to students who take GOA courses
  • Financially support their membership to the academy annually and fund additional costs associated with membership
  • Support the technological and academic needs of their students

What are the benefits of membership?

GOA Student Program members give their students full access to our catalog of online courses for middle and high school students. Teachers from GOA members have the opportunity to design and teach GOA courses as well as take online Educator Courses for free.

The GOA Student Experience

Who can take a GOA course?

GOA semester and yearlong courses are designed for high school students and are open to students from our member schools. All GOA students must be 13 years of age or older at the time of enrollment. Summer courses are open to all students. Semester 1, Semester 2, and Yearlong courses are available only to students from GOA Student Program member schools.

Should I take a GOA course?

GOA courses are designed to require the same commitment and engagement as any single class at your school. We've created this brief slideshow with an overview of what's expected of GOA students as well as questions to ask yourself as you consider taking a GOA course.

Are GOA courses NCAA-approved?

Yes: 28 of our 43 courses in 2018-2019 are NCAA-approved (here is a list of those courses). In addition, the notation “NCAA-approved” appears in the descriptions of approved courses in our course catalog.

Are GOA courses approved by the University of California?

Yes: most of our courses in 2018-2019 are UC-approved (here is a list of those courses). The notation “UC-approved” appears in the descriptions of approved courses in our course catalog.

NOTE: Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, UC will implement a new policy regarding supplemental online courses. It will be the determination of the student's school whether or not to approve GOA courses for its A-G course list. GOA will no longer maintain its own list. Please contact your school counselor for more information.

Does GOA grant diplomas?

GOA does not grant diplomas.

Who teaches GOA classes?

All GOA classes are designed and taught by teachers from Student Program Member Schools. All teachers at our member schools are eligible to teach a GOA class.

Are teachers and courses evaluated?

GOA courses are observed and evaluated by our staff to ensure they meet the standards of our exemplary schools. All GOA teachers receive 60 hours of professional development prior to teaching a course and are paired with an instructional coach for ongoing mentoring and support.

Do students and teachers connect on a 1:1 basis?

Our courses are small (no more than 20 students per section) so that teachers can engage with their students on a regular basis. In addition to scheduled 1:1 meetings with their students, every teacher has regular office hours when they are available to video chat or talk. Just as with a teacher on campus, students can also schedule individual meetings to discuss something or ask a question.

Students make connections and form relationships with classmates through partner work, group projects, and discussion forums. Students can ask a peer for support, input, or just strike up a conversation via a live video chat feature or through instant messaging.

Do students take GOA classes on top of a full schedule?

No. These classes are taught by teachers who approach the design of their course the same as any other class they teach. In most cases, a full load of courses is seven classes, including art and physical education. GOA classes should not be added as an eighth class, or as a sixth academic class.

How do GOA courses compare with courses at my school?

GOA courses are primarily asynchronous, meaning that students do not need to attend pre-determined class meetings times. Instead, teachers design and publish coursework and calendars, and students can, within that framework, work on their own schedules. All student work is submitted and assessed in our Learning Management System. In addition, students communicate frequently with teachers and peers via tools like email, chat, and video call. Students can expect to connect synchronously with teachers and classmates via video on a weekly or biweekly basis.

Are GOA courses as rigorous as courses at my home school?

Over 90% of GOA students report that the intellectual challenge of their GOA course is comparable or exceeds that of courses they take in-person on their school’s campus.

How does crediting and assessment work in a GOA course?

All Student Program Members award school credit for GOA courses. GOA teachers assess student work in our Learning Management System in an open gradebook, meaning students, schools, and teachers can get real-time updates on performance. In addition, GOA sends a narrative grade report to students, families, and schools at the midterm and end of each semester.

How long is a GOA semester?

The majority of our courses are one semester – 15 weeks — long. We also offer a handful of yearlong classes.

How many students are in each class?

Sections of our courses are limited to 20 students.

How should colleges interpret a GOA course as part of a student's academic program?

Colleges should view students who take GOA courses as curious, driven, and responsible. Students learning with GOA are excited to share their voice on a global stage, and pursue topics that will fuel their passion and help prepare them for success in higher education.

GOA curriculum is created and curated by our member school teachers, who are proven exemplary educators in their school communities. Teachers model creative thinking, research, and discussion skills by curating interesting and relevant content, designing interactive and hands-on learning experiences, and collaborating with students to make meaning together. Read what Stanford University’s Dean of Admissions has to say about GOA.

Is there a cost to students to take a GOA course?

GOA courses do carry an enrollment fee. It is up to the member school whether that fee is covered by the school or the student. Summer courses, which are open to all students, carry an enrollment fee for both member and non-member school students.

What kind of engagement will a teacher and student have?

Students report a high level of engagement with their GOA teachers, including 1:1 conversations. Interactions are both asynchronous and synchronous: students can expect to communicate with teachers via tools like email, chat, and video call.

What level of commitment is required to succeed in a GOA course?

GOA courses are designed to be as challenging and as interactive as courses at a home school. In a typical week, students commit five to seven hours to a GOA course and log in five to seven times to interact with their teacher and peers. Teachers publish a calendar and coursework, ensuring that there are multiple touchpoints for students to show their learning and connect with others. Learn more about the GOA experience.

Who decides which GOA courses are offered?

Our aim is to have a cohesive, well-balanced course catalog that supplements the core academic offerings of our member schools and serves our mission to connect students to globally relevant topics they care about. Both teachers and member schools are invited to propose new courses, but offerings are decided by GOA.

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