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 your Brainspring e-learning course is convenient, it is also an intensive self-paced online learning program designed to ensure you can successfully implement and deliver lessons to your learners. To complete the Phonics First® Level I, Phonics First® Primary, or Structures® course within 30 days, it is recommended you follow the pacing guide you received in your Welcome Letter. These courses cannot be completed in a single day. Refresher courses, workshops, and webinars may be completed in 2-6 hours, depending on the course.

    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 Quiz. Video assignments and Discussion assignments are also included in some courses.

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

    If you have participated in Phonics First® Level I, Phonics First® Primary, or Structures®, you will continue to have free, unlimited access to the Members Area even after the course ends.

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

    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 a video or discussion assignment and 72 hours have elapsed, please contact us. Likewise, if you resubmitted 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.

    Please note: Brainspring is a Michigan-based company. While our instructors may provide feedback at differing hours, emails and phone calls are answered Monday through Friday from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm EST.

  • A checkmark on the Home page indicates that an assignment has been opened and the associated quiz has been unlocked. This does not indicate that the assignment is complete, only that the quiz has been unlocked.

    A checkmark on the Grades page indicates that the assignment is complete. If there is not a checkmark on the Grades page, your assignment is incomplete.

  • You must open the Interactive Lesson and view each menu item to complete the lesson successfully. If your Interactive Lesson shows as a dash or X, you are under the required viewing minutes, have not opened all of the menu items, or have otherwise not fulfilled the lesson requirements.

  • If an Interactive Lesson shows as an X or a dash (-) on the Grades page, you have not met the minimum viewing requirement.

    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 resume or restart. Select resume and either complete the module from where you last were or click through each menu item to make sure you have completed each part of the lesson. You must meet the minimum viewing requirement for the lesson to be marked complete.

  • 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 resume or restart. Selecting resume will allow you to revisit any item on the menu that you have already viewed or pick up where you left off. Selecting restart will take you to the beginning of the module and re-lock the menu.


  • ● - = Unattempted or minimum viewing requirement not met
    ● 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. You MUST play both roles if using this option. Please note that this option allows for the least feedback from our instructors.

  • There are several ways to upload your video. Please see the Ready to Submit your Video page for more detailed information.

  • 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. If your internet connection is unstable, we do not recommend recording directly in Canvas because your video will not be saved if your internet service is disrupted.

    Please do not wait until the last few days of the course to begin uploading video assignments.

  • 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 may only be able to see your most recent submission, but your 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 11:59 pm EST (please note the time zone) on the course end date.

  • For courses that began prior to April 1, 2021 only: We require that participants complete ALL course assignments, including the Interactive Lessons, Discussion Assignments, Quizzes, and Video Assignments.

    Late submissions are not accepted. All video assignments must be fully complete as partial submissions will not count towards the course certificate. 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. Please check your spam folder, as the certificate may be routed there.

    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.

  • NEW - For courses beginning April 1, 2021, or later ONLY: We require that participants complete ALL course assignments, including the Interactive Lessons, Discussion Assignments, Quizzes, and Video Assignments.

    Please note that late submissions are not accepted, and you will not be able to access the course or its contents after 11:59 pm EST on the day your course ends.

    Certificates are sent via email within 2-weeks of the course end date to those who meet the course requirements. Please check your spam folder as they are sometimes routed there.

    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.

  • NEW - For courses beginning April 1, 2021, or later ONLY: A Certificate of Completion indicates that you have completed all of the course requirements.

    A Participation Certificate indicates that you enrolled in the course and completed some of the course work but that you did not successfully finish the full course. A Participation Certificate will indicate the percentage of the course you did complete.

  • For Phonics First® Level 1, Phonics First® Primary, and Structures®:


    ● The Interactive Lessons are 32% of the course
    ● The Quizzes are 33% of the course
    ● The Discussions are 35% of the course

    For Refresher courses and workshops, please see the FAQ page within your course for specifics.

  • All of our course facilitators are highly-trained Brainspring instructors. Each has 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 tammi.brandon@brainspring.com or by calling 844-680-7094 or emailing our distance learning team at elearning@brainspring.com. Instructors maintain by-appointment office hours.

  • You may apply for graduate credits after your course is completed. Information regarding the graduate credit option is available here. Questions may be directed to ProfessionalDevelopment@brainspring.com Graduate credit is only available to those who complete Phonics First® Level I, Phonics First® Primary, or Structures®.

  • The following applies ONLY to Mississippi educators who complete the Phonics First® Level I or Structures® Level I self-paced course or a Refresher course: In order to receive the Mississippi CEUs, you must finish the entire course and receive a certificate of completion. The certificate of completion must then be uploaded into the application when applying for CEUs. The cost is $15 plus a $2 handling fee ($17 total) and is paid directly to the North Mississippi Education Consortium when applying.

  • Yes, absolutely! We have sample videos and digital resources in the Brainspring Members Area. We encourage all Brainspring trained educators to use the program virtually just like you would use it in an in-person classroom.

  • We invite you to join our Brainspring Trained Educators page on Facebook. Our team of instructors monitor that page and respond to questions.