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 nonprofit?


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?

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 (average roster is 20 students) 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.

GOA Student Flex Courses

Who can take a flex course?

Flex courses are designed for students in grades 7-12. Please see course descriptions for further details. Flex courses are currently only available to students from member schools. Please view our summer course catalog for courses available to students from non-member schools.

For the privacy of our students and to protect the intellectual property of our teachers, we cannot allow adults to audit our courses without having associated students with them. Previews of the course materials are available on request. Please email hello@globalonlineacademy.org for more information.

How much does each flex course cost?

Students from member schools may enroll in flex courses at no additional cost.

When does registration close?

For scheduled flex courses, registration closes the Thursday before the course begins. For on-demand courses, registration will remain open until the end of the academic year and teachers should register their students 24 hours before they would like students to receive course invitations by email.

Is space limited in flex courses?

No, schools can enroll an unlimited number of students in flex courses.

Can I bulk enroll groups of students?

Yes! Please read this guide carefully, checking that you have maintained correct formatting for the headers and the drop-down data. Please list a maximum of one parent and one affiliated teacher per student. The system will not interpret commas in the bulk upload sheet (a “comma-separated value” (CSV) file) as a list of similar items, so please do not include them. Please contact hello@globalonlineacademy.org if you encounter difficulties.

The scheduled flex course timing does not work for my class schedule. May I access the content and use it at a time that works for me or my students?

To protect the intellectual property of our teachers and the intended collaborative and global atmosphere of our courses, we cannot provide special access to the flex course materials outside of the dates the course is intended to be open. Please explore the on-demand options if you are looking for a more flexible option.

What communications from GOA will my students and I receive after enrolling in a flex course?

GOA will communicate with students and affiliated teachers differently depending on the flex course type and registration method.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • For a scheduled flex course where a member school teacher has enrolled a group of students in bulk: students will not receive a confirmation email. GOA will send course welcome invitations to students the weekend before the course is scheduled to begin. Affiliated teachers gain course access the Friday before the course begins.

  • For a scheduled flex course where a high school student enrolled themselves individually: they immediately receive an enrollment confirmation email and GOA will send course welcome invitations to students the weekend before the course is scheduled to begin.

  • For an on-demand flex course where a member school teacher has enrolled a group of students in bulk, teachers will be sent a confirmation email with a link to the Teacher Playbook needed to facilitate the course. Students will receive course invitation emails within 24 hours.

Who are the facilitators for the scheduled flex courses? What is their role?

These courses are designed and asynchronously facilitated by experienced GOA faculty members. Throughout the course, affiliated teachers and their students will hear from facilitators through videos, emails, and other tools.

What is an affiliated teacher (AT)?

Affiliated teachers (ATs) are teachers from member schools that have registered for the flex course with their students. All ATs have the same access to discussion spaces and resources in the course.

In on-demand flex courses, affiliated teachers are responsible for facilitating the learning experience with their students using the Teacher Playbook that GOA will provide in a follow-up email after registration.

In scheduled flex courses, affiliated teachers support the GOA facilitator by encouraging student engagement and offering in-person student support if needed

What is the time commitment of an AT in an on-demand flex?

Affiliated teachers in on-demand courses are responsible for facilitating the learning with their students. GOA has professionally designed courses in its learning management system and ATs will guide their students through exploration of GOA-curated resources, in-class discussions, and participation in a GOA student toolkit (optional). GOA offers suggested pacing, but course cadence is ultimately up to the teacher.

Students and teachers will retain access to the course until the end of the academic year.

Will students be graded or receive a certificate of completion?

No. GOA and flex course facilitators do not provide grades or feedback, although many affiliated teachers choose to assess their students’ participation and engagement in our flex courses.

GOA flex courses are focused on providing students access to high-quality content, the opportunity to join a global conversation, and prompts to reflect on and apply learning in their own setting. While ATs often monitor their students’ participation using their own tools and approaches, flex courses are not designed for GOA to track or measure student engagement and therefore we cannot remark on individual student engagement.

Who should I contact if I need help?

The GOA team is happy to help! If you can’t find the answer to your question in the FAQ section, reach out to us at hello@globalonlineacademy.org

What is the time commitment for most flex courses?

In general, students are expected to spend 45-60 minutes a day (or 4-5 hours total) in a scheduled flex course. On-demand flex courses are designed for 3-4 hours of total engagement, but the daily time commitments can be customized to the affiliated teacher’s goals and needs.

Affiliated teacher prep will vary depending on the goals, but most ATs will spend 0-60 minutes prepping for scheduled flex courses and 1-2 hours prepping for on-demand flex courses.

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.

GOA Summer Courses for Students

Why should I take an online course this summer?

GOA courses are designed to be passion-driven learning experiences. We want students to learn deeply about a topic they care about in an environment that's flexible, supportive, and interactive. Taking an online course allows you to learn on your own schedule, building GOA course time around other summer experiences.

Are GOA summer courses offered for credit?

GOA is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. We will deliver an official transcript to students from non-member schools who complete the course. Students from member schools might be eligible for credit from their schools for summer GOA courses: they should check with their GOA site director.

What is the time commitment of taking a GOA summer course?

These 7-week courses are intensive. Most of them cover a semester's worth of material and expect a 10-12 hour per week commitment from students. Geometry and Spanish 1 are designed to replace yearlong high school courses, so students should expect to dedicate 15-20 hours per week to these courses. While GOA courses are mostly asynchronous and thus allow for flexibility in schedule, students should plan on logging in to their GOA course multiple times a week to check in, participate in discussions, and share their work. Teachers offer opportunities to connect synchronously via video call on a weekly basis.

At what time of day will the course take place?

Our courses are designed to accommodate students from many different time zones. Our teachers leverage online learning tools, such as Canvas, Twist, Flipgrid, and Padlet, to foster relationships in the course asynchronously. Students can expect at least one video call a week with their teachers or classmates, but there will not be moments in the course when the entire section gathers on a video call. We encourage students to advocate for themselves and communicate to their teachers and peers about schedules and time zones, especially during occasional small group projects. Students should be able to log in to Canvas regularly, but they will not be expected to log in at specific times of day.

Does my GOA course require textbooks or other materials?

All GOA courses require a computer or tablet with a reliable, consistent internet connection. Courses will take place in GOA's learning management system, Canvas, and once the course begins, teachers will let students know which specific free web-tools will be used in the course. Information for courses requiring or recommending additional textbooks will be communicated to students before courses begin.

What are the important dates for the summer term?

Friday, April 30: Students who enroll by April 30 will get a seat in a class. While enrollment remains open until June 21, students who enroll after April 30 may encounter waitlists for some courses.
Monday, June 7:
Course homepages published for students and emails with course access information sent.
Monday, June 14: Courses Open with 2-day Orientation (includes synchronous teacher/student video call).
Thursday, June 17: Last day to DROP without financial penalty.
Monday, June 21: Last day to ADD/DROP. Drop entails 50% refund of enrollment fee.
Friday, July 30: Summer term ends
Friday, August 9: Grade reports distributed

Who teaches GOA summer courses?

Most GOA teachers are also teachers at one of our Member Schools. They are experienced online and in-person educators who have been trained by GOA and are deeply skilled in teaching and supporting students.

How are students graded in a GOA summer course?

GOA uses the Canvas Learning Management system, which maintains an open gradebook, meaning students have real-time access to their work and feedback. GOA will deliver a learning report with a grade to students and families twice during the course. When faculty at summer students' home schools request a copy of these records, we also share the information with them.

How much does a GOA summer course cost?

Most GOA summer courses cost $750 per enrollment for students from member schools and $1,000 per enrollment for students from non-member schools. Spanish Language Through Culture I and Geometry are more intensive than our other summer courses and cost $1,000 for students from member schools and $1,200 for students from non-member schools. GOA offers a 50% course refund for all drops that happen by June 22.

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.

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