As clock-hour schools, one area we all struggle with in online education is tracking hours. How do we manage and document student hours when we are not with them? There have been a lot of questions regarding this on the Milady Instructor Facebook Group as well as other social media groups in the last few weeks.
First and foremost, you must track hours that will keep you in compliance with both your state regulations and your accreditation guidelines.
I want to share some of the options I have heard of for tracking student hours, both theory and practical.
This one is a bit simpler, because Milady MindTap will track student hours for you. There are a couple of things to keep in mind.
To get documentation of those hours, you must request to receive a weekly Accreditation Report from Milady. To request that report, you can use the link below and fill out the form here.
Accreditation Reports will take two weeks or more to set up, but all completed hours from the date of student registration will be included. Be sure to complete the form correctly by providing the email of the educator who created the course and the course key number(s).
One question that often comes up is “If I put a YouTube link inside of MindTap, will those hours show up on the accreditation report?” The answer is yes! As long as your student is spending their time in the Learning Path, they will obtain hours. To learn how to add a YouTube video in the Learning Path watch the tutorial here.
Let’s talk about options outside of Milady’s MindTap.
To track hours outside of MindTap requires a little more effort on your part. If you are providing a lecture to your students live, you can simply document they were in attendance by visually seeing them during your videoconference call. Much like they come to theory, you know they are there. Simply document what time they arrived and what time they leave. We recommend that you record your virtual classrooms/meetings, as the recording will have a date and time stamp. By saving these recordings, you will have access at a later date if needed.
I did have a few schools mention that they use QR codes to track students’ attendance. A QR code can be added to be beginning and ending of your class, and then you will receive a report on who attended. Honestly, I don’t know anything about this method, but there are several YouTube videos that will teach you how to create and use QR codes. Here is one that might get you started. Watch here.
Now let’s talk about practical hours. This is where things get a bit more challenging. Within MindTap, students have access to a Practical Procedure Tracker. It’s a place for students to track completed procedures and upload a picture for you to grade. The Practical Procedure Tracker is like the documents you use in your school to track the total number of practical procedures. It will NOT track hours. To learn how to use the Practical Procedure Tracker and Procedure Tracker Gradebook watch the tutorial here.
To track the hours for the completed procedure. Here are a few ideas.
Again, I want to reiterate that you must follow both your state and accreditation requirements for documenting hours.
You can have your students videotape themselves performing the practical task, then have the students send the video to you through digital storage options like Google Drive or Dropbox.
Within MindTap, you can create a Bongo Individual Project Video Assignment and place the assignment in the Learning Path for students to access. Students can record themselves performing the practical task. As long as students are recording themselves through the Learning Path, inside the Bongo Assignment, hours will be calculated. To learn how to create Individual Project Video Assignments using Bongo watch the tutorial here.
The challenge you have with uploading practical videos is that most of our procedures can end up being over an hour long, making it difficult to upload the video. To compensate for this, you might suggest that students record multiple shorter videos to show you the entire procedure. I’m not sure this is the best solution, because you will now be getting a lot of separate videos from multiple students.
Another option would be to do the procedure live with the students. Using a videoconference call such as Zoom, you can watch the student perform the technical skill and document hours. This would be challenging if you have a large class, because you might not be able to see all students on your screen at the same time. This option would work for classes smaller than 20.
One other idea to document practical hours is to simply assign hours to each practical skill based on industry standards. For example, if you ask a student to do a roller set and comb-out, you could assign a half hour for the sectioning and the roller set and a half hour for the comb-out. The student would send you pictures, including pictures of before, sectioning, roller set, and the final comb-out. When you see the images and can document the student did all the steps, you would give them a one-hour credit. Remember, they can upload images to you through the Practical Tracker inside MindTap.
These are just a few ideas on methods you can use to document hours in your school. Again, one more time, make sure you are in compliance with both your state and your accrediting agency. Many states are not allowing practical hours at all for remote learning. My best advice is however you choose to document hours—first, be consistent in how you are doing it, and second, document it. Document, document, document!