Self-Paced Online Courses:
Frequently Asked Questions

Don't see your question below? Please feel free to contact us. Already registered for or attending a self-paced course? Click here to sign-in and here for directions to access the Members Area.
  • Plan your schedule accordingly, while the Phonics First Self-Paced Course is convenient, it is also an intensive self-paced online learning program that is designed to ensure you can successfully implement and deliver lessons to your learners. To complete the program within 30-days, it is recommended you complete one layer each week. You cannot complete the course in one day! Please begin your course immediately and do not wait until the last minute to try to complete it.

  • Each module varies in length and will take between 30-minutes to 1-hour to complete.

    A typical module consists of an Interactive Lesson and a follow-up assignment. Some modules also include Module Resources; these are materials that are referenced or included in the Interactive Lessons.

  • Directions for accessing the Members Area are provided in the course announcements. Please contact if you have trouble accessing the Members Area.

    You will continue to have free, unlimited access to the Members Area even after the course ends.

  • Our team of instructors works diligently to grade assignments in a timely manner. Our goal is to provide feedback within 72 hours of an assignment being submitted. If you have submitted an assignment and 72 hours have elapsed, please contact us. Likewise, if you re-submitted an assignment and it has not been scored within 72 hours, please let us know. If your assignment is missing a component, our team will leave a comment in the assignment area for you. You may resubmit the missing components for rescoring.

    The Discussion Assignments and Video Assignments are scored by Brainspring instructors. The Interactive Lessons are automatically scored within Canvas.

  • Our system is set to record the number of minutes spent in each lesson, the number of clicks and interactions within each lesson, and the number of correct answers submitted. Once a learner reaches the minimum requirement, the grade will change from incomplete (an X) to complete (a checkmark). You must complete the entire Interactive Lesson to receive credit. If an Interactive Lesson shows an incomplete, you are likely under the required viewing requirements.

    As soon as you enter an Interactive Lesson, the scoring mechanism starts. If you leave in the middle of a lesson, your lesson will show as incomplete until you return to complete it. Once you reach the minimum viewing requirement, your score will change from incomplete (an X) to complete (a checkmark).

  • Yes! You may review or complete each Interactive Lesson as many times as you would like. Doing so, however, will add significant length to your time in the course. From the Home page, navigate to and click on the lesson you would like to complete. The lesson will ask you if you would like to pick up where you left off. Click Yes to be taken to the next part of the lesson. Click No to be taken to the beginning of the lesson. Use the menu on the left-hand side to quickly navigate to a specific part of the Interactive Lesson.

    • • X = Incomplete
    • • Checkmark = Complete, full points awarded
    • • Number = Total points earned
    • • T = Text entry received, awaiting instructor feedback/score
    • • Notebook = Assignment submitted, awaiting instructor feedback/score
  • Video assignments are a vital component of the course. They allow our instructors to provide feedback specific to you to help you improve your delivery of Phonics First. Your video partner does not have to be familiar with the program and may be anyone - a child, spouse, friend, or colleague. You may even conduct your lessons via video conference and submit a recording of your session. If you are conducting your lesson via video-conferencing, we understand that your partner may not have Brainspring supplies; Substitutions (such as a hand-drawn fingertapping hand or a plate of sugar for a sand tray) are acceptable. Please be sure to use the side-by-side view so our instructors may see both you and your student when using video conferencing. In the event that you cannot find anyone to be your student, you may record yourself playing the role of both teacher and student and alternating between the two roles. However, this option allows for the least feedback from our instructors.

  • Upload speeds will vary depending on your internet provider. You may have to compress your video before submitting it. You may submit your video assignments in 2-3 smaller sections if that makes uploading easier. Many people find it helpful to plug their computers directly into the internet router for faster upload speeds.

    You may also upload your lessons to YouTube, DropBox, or any similar sharing site and submit the link in the assignment submission area. Please set your privacy or viewing settings so our instructors may view your videos. Be sure to see the Submitting Video Assignments page and the Course Announcements section for additional information.

  • Yes! You may record your video assignments in smaller pieces and submit each one individually. Your previous submissions will not be overwritten. In the student view, you will only be able to see your most recent submission, but instructors will be able to view each entry. To add additional submissions, click on the Re-Submit Assignment button.

  • You may skip the Video Assignments and continue to the next Interactive Lesson. However, in order to receive the course certificate, you must return to the Video Assignments and complete them. We highly recommend completing the Video Assignments as they appear in the course rather than waiting until the end of the course to complete them. Waiting until the end of the course often leads to frustration for the learner. It also does not allow the learner to apply the feedback from the Brainspring instructor team. So, while it is possible to skip the Video Assignments and complete them later, it is not advised.

  • You will have approximately 30 days to complete the course from the start-date of the course. Please see the course announcements for your specific course end date and a pacing guide. All courses end at 11:59pm EST (please note the time zone) on the course end date.

  • We require that participants complete ALL course assignments including the Interactive Lessons, Discussion Assignments, and Video Assignments.

    Late submissions are not accepted. Participants must also have an overall course score of 80% or higher in order to be awarded the course completion certificate. In order to receive the course certificate, both requirements must be met.

    Certificates are sent via email within 2-weeks of the course end date to those who meet the course requirements.

    To check your progress in the course, click on Grades in the course menu. If you see an X or a dash (-) you have not completed the assignment. A checkmark or numeric score indicates an assignment has been completed and scored.

  • All of our course facilitators are highly-trained Brainspring instructors. Each have years of experience teaching with Phonics First. Instructors are available to answer questions via the InBox feature and maintain by-appointment office hours.

  • Our instructors are happy to answer questions and assist you with the course. To contact them, use the Inbox feature in Canvas. You may also contact Tammi Brandon, Director of Distance Learning, at or by calling 844-680-7094 or emailing our distance learning team at Instructors maintain by-appointment office hours.