Below is the latest communications to the OnRamps community as it relates to COVID-19, to expanding our distance learning design and resources, and to ensuring continuity of instruction. Browse our frequently asked questions, as well, for details about our virtual offerings and course experiences, among other things. Check back often for updates to this page, and for anything else, please email us at OnRamps Support.
May 12, 2020
April 30, 2020
April 28, 2020
April 22, 2020
April 16, 2020
April 14, 2020
April 8, 2020
April 2, 2020
March 31, 2020
March 25, 2020
March 19, 2020
March 17, 2020
March 13, 2020
March 12, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions
Does invoicing occur annually or by semester?
We invoice annually, typically in early April.
How are invoices distributed?
Invoices are emailed to the identified OnRamps Main Contact at the partner district, as well as that district’s Business Contact. Additionally, Main Contacts are able to view them on the OnRamps District Portal.
Can invoices be itemized by campus now or in the future?
Yes, invoices are currently itemized by campus. If you need assistance reviewing your invoice, you may contact your OnRamps Point of Contact.
Is it possible to receive two separate invoices, one for fall and one for spring?
We are not able to split up the invoices. When applicable, the line items are separated out and show by semester and for the whole year.
Will invoices go solely to the districts next year? Also, is there a reason invoices are not billed to individual students?
We do not send invoices to campuses or individual students, only to districts. Each individual district completes payment according to their own methods. We are reviewing feedback from our district partners about their needs and the process to incorporate improvements in our annual cycle.
Virtual Summer Professional Learning
What are the dates for Summer Professional Learning?
- Returning Instructor Virtual Summer Institute: June 23-25
- OnRamps Virtual Summit: June 25 (For administrators, counselors, and Returning Instructors)
- New Instructor Virtual Summer Institute: July 14-24
- New Partner Virtual Symposium: July 23-24 (For administrators and counselors new to working with OnRamps)
Are teachers able to sign up for Summer Professional Learning Institutes now?
Instructors are able to fill out the Instructor application and register for Professional Learning Institutes if the district Main Contact has submitted the 2020-2021 Implementation Plan.
Can the district do a mass registration or does each individual attending a Summer Professional Learning Institute need to register separately?
Each individual Instructor will need to register themselves for the Summer Professional Learning Institute so that they can indicate their personal preferences and needs for learning during the Institute.
What summer professional development is available for administrators or principals?
The OnRamps Summit (June 25) offers a space for returning campus and district administrators, counselors, and faculty members to share best practices and explore evolving central themes regarding the alignment between postsecondary and secondary education alongside returning instructors.
New Partner Symposium (July 23-24) allows campus and district administrators and counselors who are new to leading and supporting OnRamps to dive deeper into the OnRamps experience and workshop strategies to support instructors and students in quality course experiences and postsecondary attainment.
Is the OnRamps Summit virtual as well?
Yes, all of our Summer Professional Learning experiences will be held virtually. This includes the OnRamps Summit and the New Partner Symposium.
Do you anticipate the dates of Summer Professional Learning Institutes changing or being postponed?
No, we do not anticipate any date changes as we have shifted all of our Summer Professional Learning experiences to a virtual format.
Does the Returning Instructor Professional Learning Institute fee include their OnRamps Summit participation for June 25?
Yes, the Instructor fees cover the full year of professional learning and development, which, if they are a returning instructor, includes their OnRamps Summit participation.
Implementation Plans and Next Steps
Where do we access the district Implementation Plan?
The district Implementation Plan was previously sent to the district designated Main Contact. The OnRamps Partnership Team, and specifically the OnRamps Point of Contact for each district, can supply the Main Contact their respective Implementation Plan for 2020-2021.
What if we need to update an already-submitted Implementation Plan?
Contact your OnRamps Point of Contact and they can provide you a link where you can make any necessary changes.
How can we reset or receive access to the OnRamps District Portal?
At this time, only identified district personnel, such as the District Main Contact can access the OnRamps District Portal. The first step for accessing the District Portal is to create a UT EID (if you have not done so already) and then supply that EID to your OnRamps Point of Contact.
Can we request that a second Main Contact be added for our district?
Yes, current Main Contacts should reach out to their OnRamps Point of Contact with their request to add a second district Main Contact. Please note that documents such as invoices will still only go to the primary Main Contact.
Is there a timeline for virtual parent presentations?
We are currently in the process of scripting and filming On-Demand parent presentations and will notify partners when these become available. In the meantime, if you are interested in scheduling a parent night, contact your region’s OnRamps Point of Contact to schedule a presentation over Zoom.
Credit Option Updates and Implications
When can students make a decision about whether to accept or decline their credit?
The Credit-Decision Period is from Saturday, May 16 at 8:00 am CT, through Friday, May 29 at 5:00 pm CT. For the Spring 2020 semester, OnRamps has extended the Credit-Decision Period from five days to 14 days to increase time for students to make informed decisions.
The dates for this period were based on the calendars of many districts in which their academic years were scheduled to end by, or near, Memorial Day.
Does “CR” equal a numeric grade of 60 for a student?
“CR” equals a D- or above, but not necessarily a 60 as each UT Austin department has its own scale to match a numeric grade to a letter grade. At other institutions, pass credit may be a C- or above, which is why we cannot guarantee transferability of core credit fulfillment with the “CR” credit option.
Will students be able to view their letter grade for the course before the Credit-Decision Period opens?
Yes, they will be able to view their final letter grade before deciding whether to accept the letter grade, accept a CR credit, or decline credit for the course.
Will a student who declines college credit be included or counted for CCMR accountability purposes?
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) provided an FAQ on April 2, 2020, regarding State Accountability that indicated CCMR will be reported only on TEA reports such as Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR). The CCMR indicator for OnRamps, from the TEA Accountability Manual, may be achieved by “a graduate completing an OnRamps course and qualifying for at least three hours of university or college credit.” Students who earn credit, regardless of whether the student accepts or declines credit, meet this indicator.
If a student chooses CR, will we know the letter grade earned as well? Some institutions will only accept a C or higher for transfer and will only take the CR as a prerequisite if they can prove the credit was a C or higher.
If a student chooses CR, only CR will appear on their UT Austin transcript. There will not be a letter grade on the transcript. The Main Contact at the District will see the final letter grade and the credit decision in the OnRamps District Portal.
Is there an advantage for students to choose CR?
We remind students to consult any college or university they plan to attend to determine its policies about “CR” credit transfers. It may be advantageous in some limited cases depending on a student’s plans for college and major.
When OnRamps made the decision to present this credit option to students, it was guided by the aim to maintain alignment with The University of Texas at Austin’s policy change for residential students.* Additionally, the student experience was taken into account, as students were suddenly met with unforeseeable conditions in completing the course. Within the parameters of choosing to accept a CR, some students may feel this fulfills their academic goals as the course may be used as an elective or serve as another purpose. Again, we urge students to consult with any colleges or universities they may attend to determine its policies about CR credit transfers.
*For students receiving a Texas Tech University transcript, the “CR” option is also available. Students who wish to claim a Texas Tech “CR” credit for Spring 2020 must attend a mandatory webinar. Webinar dates and times are found in the Announcements section of students’ TTU OnRamps college course in Canvas.
What is the default decision for accepting credit as a letter grade?
If students do not manually choose whether to accept or decline credit for their coursework during the Credit Decision Period, the following defaults will take place:
- If a student receives a letter grade of a C- or above, then the credit will be accepted. The student will be issued a UT Austin transcript with the final letter grade.
- If a student receives a letter grade of a D+, D, or D-, then the credit will be declined. The student will not be issued a UT transcript.
- If a student receives a letter grade of an F, then they did not earn credit and will be withdrawn from the course. They will have no official academic record or transcript for the course at UT Austin.
How will the district and high school Instructors know if students have accepted credit?
District Main Contacts and high school Instructors can monitor students’ credit decisions in the OnRamps Portal throughout the Credit Decision Period. The District Main Contact and high school Instructor will see students’ decisions to accept or decline credit as well as what will appear on students’ transcript (letter grade or CR), if students accept credit.
What is passing for an OnRamps college distance course?
Depending on the course, a passing grade is a D or D-. Each course has its own grading scale aligned to the academic department at The University of Texas at Austin. Please check the syllabus for each course to see the passing grade.
Can you clarify process/policies of the high school grade? Are local policies related to board-approved changes from school closures applicable to OnRamps high school grades?
As OnRamps operates as a dual enrollment model where two separate grades are awarded—one from the high school instructor and one from the college instructor—the high school grade is subject to the high school instructor’s autonomy and any guidelines or policies from the campus or district.
Many ISDs are transitioning to Pass/Fail grades to report for the end of this school year. Aside from the Pass Credit option for college credit, are there any other changes to expect relative to grading practices with OnRamps?
We feel confident in the revised syllabi we are presenting in early April as the final revisions we will be making for this school year, regardless of any additional closures or shelter-in place orders.
Can we receive the updated course syllabi for all courses?
Yes, these may be distributed to you by contacting your OnRamps main point of contact.
Direct Communication and Support
Where can high school instructors receive support, perhaps for implementing the new pacing of courses?
Our high school instructors, much like our students, can utilize our OnRamps Support system to receive resources and be routed to the proper contacts for their specific needs or concerns.
Call or Text: 512-265-2515
Do Instructors know where the OnRamps college credit supports are located?
Yes, Instructors use Instructor HQ in Canvas routinely, and they are reminded and provided links in weekly newsletters. Additionally, the OnRamps Enrollment Team is hosting webinars from now April 28-May 13 for Instructors to review detailed information regarding credit selection, transferability of credits, ordering transcripts, and monitoring students’ decisions and grades.
What are the dates for College Credit Decision webinars for Instructors?
- Tuesday, April 28
- Wednesday, April 29
- Thursday, April 30
- Friday, May 1
- Monday, May 4
- Tuesday, May 5
- Wednesday, May 6
- Thursday, May 7
- Friday, May 8
- Monday, May 11
- Tuesday, May 12
- Wednesday, May 13
How is TSI exemption information shared with OnRamps Instructors and Students?
TSI exemption information varies among institutions and is dependent on where students plan to attend after high school.
Common General Questions
Which OnRamps Point of Contact serves my region?
- Kyle Beasley serves ESC 2, 3, 4, 13
- Megan Bullock serves ESC 5, 6, 12, 13
- Kaci Cook serves ESC 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
- Kyle Seipp serves ESC 14, 15, 18
- Yvonne Loya serves ESC 1, 19, 20
- Stephanie Hart serves ESC 16, 17
What is the difference between online and distance learning?
Online learning is done through an online platform. Distance learning is learning achieved either solely using an online platform, using low technology such as workbooks and packets, or a combination of the two.
How is OnRamps responding to district cancelations and closures?
OnRamps course staff is addressing pacing and course revisions for the equivalents of 10, 15, and 20 days of missed instruction due to full cancelations and/or extensions of Spring Break. We will provide guidance and plans for enhanced support on a weekly basis with amended deadlines coming in the next two weeks.
How will college assessments be administered?
Each course will adhere to the standards of their University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) department in developing an alternative assessment plan by April 3. This may include changes to the format or timing of a college assessment.
How will labs be conducted if students cannot complete them in-person?
OnRamps courses with labs are modifying the experiences through collaboration with their faculty leads. This may mean shifting to simulations or alternative experiences that preserve the learning outcomes for the original lab experience.
How will final exams be administered? Will there be an extension?
OnRamps anticipates staying within the same relative time frame of administration and delivery of final exams. Assessment administration expectations may be altered. Clearly defined guidelines will be provided for each course no later than April 6.
What is the plan for Summer Professional Learning Institutes (PLI) and OnRamps Summit?
In the interest of safeguarding the health and well-being of our community, we have made the decision to transition our Summer Professional Learning Institutes for new and returning instructors as well as the OnRamps Summit to a virtual format. We will be planning the virtual learning experience for our instructors in more detail in the coming weeks with the aim of facilitating online during the previously published dates:
- June 23-24: Returning Instructor PLI
- June 25: OnRamps Summit
- July 14-24: New Instructor PLI
I have students that require accommodations. How will these be provided if my school begins to use online instruction?
OnRamps is committed to ensuring all OnRamps classes continue to be accessible to students with approved accommodations. For example, students with extended time will still receive that accommodation through the Canvas LMS for appropriate college assignments. If you have course-specific concerns, please reach out through OnRamps Support.
New Pacing Based on Instructional Days Missed
Will main district contact/administrators get notifications of curricular changes/due dates as well as the course instructors?
Yes, both the OnRamps partner points of contact, and Interim Managing Director Dr. Jennifer Porter will continue to provide updates by email. OnRamps course staff will continue to provide direct information to high school instructors through weekly newsletters and virtual conferences. Our teams are in constant communication, so information shared is accurate and identical across the board.
Do “missed instructional days” include Spring Break?
Since Spring Break was previously scheduled, we do not count the days reflected on the original approved academic calendar for Spring Break as part of missed instructional days. We are not counting any previously scheduled closures.
If our district has closed, and everyone is at home and we are having distance learning for all classes - through the Texas Education Agency process, would this be considered as having missed no days?
Yes, if the district has implemented a distance learning plan for all students, then OnRamps considers this as having missed zero days.
If my district does not allow us to take grades during a closure or cancellation, would we fall into the 15-day category?
Missed instructional days include days when:
- the district is closed or cancelled due to COVID-19.
- no formal distance learning plan is in place.
If students are receiving instruction, regardless of their work being graded, then this would not count as a missed instructional day according to recent Texas Education Agency guidelines.
In line with what was suggested to start out with the introduction to distance learning, and going through how and what we already know: would it be possible, that even though we only had 5 days with non-instructional time, for us to use the 10-days-missed plan to account for that transition time as well?
We recommend that high school instructors begin the distance learning experience with an opportunity for students to orient and learn their new expectations for a day or two. High school instructors may select which guidance to follow according to the district distance learning plans to meet their students' needs.
I noticed that both 15 and 20 days missed have the same modifications. How was this decided and what should an instructor do to get the same information to students with five less days?
We shared an example during our March 19 virtual partner meeting of a course that allowed for this type of flexibility. This will not hold true for all courses, which is why each course will have an individualized course syllabus update.
Have students been expected to continue with their OnRamps course?
Although we always encourage students to go back and review content while on breaks, we have not maintained college due date requirements for students during district cancellations. Each course will have adjusted college course due dates provided in the revised college syllabus published on April 3.
Assignment Modifications, Academic Integrity and Exams
What was the projected date for assessment plan?
A new assessment plan along with instructions for how students will complete the remaining assessments in their course will be distributed directly to students and instructors by April 6.
How do we deal with assignments like tests that have to be proctored? How will we maintain academic integrity?
We are looking into our options and will communicate those out by our April 6 deadline.
How will exams be administered for students that do not have online access?
We are currently planning for online assessments for the distance college course. We continue to monitor the evolving situation in our state and will update information related to assessment and access. In the meantime, a survey was distributed to OnRamps District Partner "Main Contacts” on Wednesday, March 25, to gather information about distance learning plans and technology access to support our ongoing planning.
Will there be a written portion of the exams? If so, how will those be graded/uploaded to UT?
We are working with UT Austin faculty leads to modify our assessment practices to ensure equity, access, and maintain fidelity to college departmental expectations. Detailed information will be distributed no later than April 6.
Is there a proctor software that is recommended?
We are looking into options for proctor software that proves to be equitable for all students (i.e. do not require a device with a camera, which some students may not have access to), but will implement a solution that remains true to our mission of ensuring equity and access for students.
On Monday, I need to provide my classes with assignments. What do I do regarding providing information for my administrator? In addition, is there anything I need to specifically share with my students regarding online learning?
Once you begin implementing your distance learning plan, we recommend that high school instructors take the first few days to review any logistical information (much like the OnRamps Orientation we do at the beginning of the year). Then, we recommend that you ask students to begin retrieving information learned before school closures or spring break occurred.
I had a test scheduled for next week, what are the next steps for this situation?
If your students have a scheduled due date, please contact the OnRamps course staff member for the course for guidance on rescheduling and alternate due dates.
I am waiting on grades for some of the students. Are Instructor Assistants (TAs) still grading? When should I expect those grades uploaded?
Our OnRamps grading team is busy at work, just like our full OnRamps team. There may be some slight delays as we accommodate for team member schedules in these highly unusual circumstances, but grading will be completed and returned to students. For specific questions, please reach out to course staff or OnRamps Support.
Zoom: Utilization and Tips
Can instructors use Zoom with students who are not OnRamps students?
Yes, OnRamps instructors can use Zoom with all students.
Can we get instructions on how to use Zoom and some of its features?
Yes, we will continue to provide reference to Zoom instructional manuals and materials as well as be available to you and your staff to troubleshoot.
If our instructors need help with navigating Zoom, is there someone they can get with for help?
Distance Learning Technology and Tools
Is there a preinstalled mechanism within the instructor Canvas platform that allows instructors to message students directly?
Yes, this is through emails that are sent through Canvas. During Student Orientation, OnRamps students are shown that this is where faculty will be communicating with them.
Could the campus or district administrative teams have access to the instructors’ class for support?
Campus and district administrators are encouraged to virtually visit an OnRamps classroom at any time with the Zoom link, or by using the standards in place per district policy, just as they would be in the physical classroom. Due to the proprietary nature of the content and course materials developed, administrators cannot be added to a specific course. We do, as well, encourage our instructors to share their experiences with fellow teachers and/or the broader community in the interest of learning and collaboration—especially as it relates to holding “office hours” or secondary learning sessions.
Distance Learning Tools
- Instructors may use the UT Zoom link to log into their your UT Zoom accounts when accessing Zoom outside of Canvas. You may also share these Student Zoom Instructions to your students to provide them with additional guidance.
- Install the Zoom Desktop Client to manage meetings. Instructions for this can be found here.
- Once a meeting is scheduled, create a Canvas announcement to email the Zoom meeting invitation to students enrolled in the course.
- Zoom questions should be directed to Zoom’s 24x7 support. Questions about UT’s account configurations should be directed to OnRamps Support.
Hosting Secure Meetings
There have been isolated incidents of unwanted guests joining Zoom calls to disrupt meetings. Below are suggestions for maintaining the security and integrity of your Zoom meetings with students.
- Don’t publicly share your meeting information or URL
- Require a password to enter your meetings
- Know how to remove participants
- Know how to mute participants
- Know how to turn off participants' video
- Disable “Join before host” or enable “waiting room.” The waiting room has already been globally enabled for all UT accounts.
- Enable “co-host” to help moderate
- Disable “File Transfer” so no one shares a digital virus
- Disable “Allow removed participant to rejoin”
- Disable private chat, which may prevent students from disrupting or bullying one another
- Zoom General Support Topics
- Managing Participants and Meeting Roles
- Waiting Room
- Sharing Your Screen
- In-Meeting Chat
- Managing Breakout Rooms
- Recording Meetings
- Audio Transcripts
- Closed Captioning
Acccess OnRamps Canvas via onramps.instructure.com or by clicking the "Canvas Login" link at the top of this web page.