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Frequently Asked Questions

 

General

Who is STEM Minds

We are a mission-driven social enterprise that provides in-class and virtual education programs for children ages 4-18. STEM Minds offers a collaborative and supportive atmosphere to learn and thrive. 

Our versatile programs are designed and delivered by certified teachers and technical professionals using latest technology for a world-class education.  

At STEM Minds, every student is given a safe space to voice their perspective and springboard new ideas. We instill self-esteem and open their minds to new possibilities. 

With programs in robotics, coding, film, photography, video game design, app development, AI, and more, there is truly something for everyone. 

What kind of programs are available?

There are three different program formats available at STEM Minds, including in-person programs, live virtual classes, and on-demand online courses (called STEAM Hub) designed and delivered by certified teachers and STEM professionals.  

In-person classes are held at our headquarters located in Aurora, Ontario. Our makerspace provides your child with the opportunity to experience the world of STEM with the guidance of our expert instructors.  

Our live virtual classes are available to students around the world. Lessons are provided virtually through video conferencing tools like Zoom and are led by our expert instructors. All classes are highly interactive and hands-on.  

Our online courses, known as STEAM Hub, is where children ages 8+ can access powerful STEM education on demand. Students can work through our range of 25+ courses at a pace the works for them, exploring lessons, hands-on projects, STEMulators, and more. Students project submissions are reviewed by our expert instructors.  

What is STEAM Hub?

STEAM Hub is our suite of 25+ online courses where children ages 8+ can access powerful STEM education on demand.  

We know the key to success for your child is keeping them engaged and motivated throughout their learning journey. For this reason, we have developed a fun and interactive reward system to encourage them at every stage.  

Our extensive course selection provides mastery pathways to help your child work build a variety of skills. Our three-tier subscription model allows you to choose the right starting place for your child, all while getting access to our most popular courses. 

What benefits does my child receive by using STEAM Hub?

Our wide range of courses provides students with a range of options to explore their passions, build new skills, and learn how to learn! 

With mastery pathways to help your child work their way through all of our courses and master a variety of hard and soft skills that prepare your child for success in the age of the 4th industrial revolution.  

STEAM Hub allows students to work at their own pace while still receiving feedback from our expert instructors. Our diverse range of courses means the right fit for your child is just a click away! 

What ages does STEAM Hub teach?

We have 3 tiers of subscriptions to STEAM Hub. It is important to note that our courses are categorized by skill-level—not age. This means your child can complete courses on-demand, at their own pace, and without any limitations. 

Tier 1 provides access to our free courses (including Computer Skills, Math, and Language) as well as trial access to all of our Tier 2 courses. Tier 1 is generally best for ages 8-14. 

Tier 2 provides access to our suite of 25+ introductory-level courses, with options for coding, game design, digital media and art, and more! Tier 2 is also intended for ages 8-14.  

Tier 3 will be launched in the spring of 2021 and gives access to our Advanced STEM courses, including advanced coding and topics such as computer engineering, cryptography, AI, cybersecurity, and more. Tier 3 is intended for students with some prior experience in STEM and is best for ages 12+. 

What background do the teachers have?

Our expert instructors are highly educated; our team consists of a blend of certified teachers and STEM experts so that we are combining the best of the worlds of education and STEM to ensure the best experience for every child.  

STEAM Hub Courses

Will my child be able to do the STEAM Hub courses by themselves?

STEAM Hub courses are designed so that most students are able to participate independently. Students with minimal computer skills may require additional adult support and some students may need guidance when first getting set up or to download certain tools.  

In our Tier 1 and 2 courses, there is no prior knowledge required, although some courses may be more challenging than others. For our Tier 3 courses, students should have some prior experience in STEM and strong computer skills in order to engage independently.  

How many STEAM Hub courses can my child do?

Your STEAM Hub subscription provides you with access to all of our courses; you get to decide which and how many you participate in. You can decide to just do the courses that are most interesting to you, challenge yourself to complete all of the courses in a mastery pathway, or take your learning to the highest level by completing all of our courses. The choice is yours! 

What technology does my child need to complete the STEAM Hub courses?

To complete the STEAM Hub courses your child will need access to a computer/laptop/Chromebook. Our courses use a range of third party tools, most of which are web-based but some of which may require additional downloads. Click here for more information about third party tools.   

Some courses may require an iPad/tablet or may not be compatible with these devices. See each course for individual details.  

Some courses may also require or recommend additional equipment (e.g. a camera, a robot, etc). 

Will my STEAM Hub account give me automatic access to the tools my child needs?

STEAM Hub courses use industry-standard third party tools in order to support student learning. Some tools may require the creation of an account and/or the downloading of software. This is not done for you; full instructions on how to get started with each course are in the course itself. You can click here for more information about third party tools, including links to the tool’s privacy and user policies.  

How are the courses formatted?

STEAM Hub courses are structured in a collection of between 4-12 modules. Upon opening a course, all of these modules are available to you. We strongly recommend working through the modules in order.  

The “Let’s Get Started” module will prepare students for the topics they are about to learn as well as provide information on third party tools used in the course.  

The remaining modules focus on progressive skill-building through hands-on lessons and projects.  

Each module in a STEAM Hub course follows a specific structure based on best pedagogical practices to ensure learning sticks.  

Each module begins with learning goals that help students understand what they are working towards in a module. This is then followed by a lesson (available in video and text format to support a range of learners) that guides students through the skill(s) they are building. 

Once participants have completed the lesson for a module, they are then presented with a quiz to check their understanding of what they have just learned. All STEAM Hub quizzes are automatically graded to provide students with instant feedback and notify them of important concepts they may need to review before proceeding.   

When a student is ready to move on, they are then provided with a hands-on project to apply the skills they have learned. Rubrics are provided for each project to guide students on what is expected of them. If a student chooses to submit the assignment, our instructors will review and provide feedback within 5 business days.  

After a participant has submitted their project, they are prompted with a discussion post to reflect on their learning thus far. These posts also allow students to collaborate in a virtual environment, where they can discuss and reply to their peers.   

A badge is included at the end of each module to motivate students and help them track their learning.  

Some modules may include a STEMulator, which is a virtual game-based simulator designed to help students build and reinforce key skills (see more below). 

A final project is included at the end of each course for students to demonstrate their overall learning.  

Additionally, our Global Goals Challenges are available for students to extend their learning beyond the course itself (see more below). 

How long are the courses?

Each course contains approximately 20 – 30 hours of learning content. Each module within a course will take roughly 1-1.5 hours to complete, although each child works at their own pace.   

What are STEMulators™?

In each course, students will find typically 1-2 STEMulators™. These STEMulators™ are game-based simulators that allow students to apply their learning in real-world contexts and provide valuable assessment information. Each STEMulator™ is intended to take 5-10 minutes to complete and are backed by an algorithm that anonymously measure student engagement and learning outcomes. 

What are the Global Goals Challenges?

The Global Goals Challenges were created as a way for students to continue their learning and apply their newly built skills and ideas to real-world problems. Based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 5 challenges are available in each course for students to connect their learning to the world around them. The point of each challenge is for students to use the skills they have learned to create projects and ideas to make the world a better place. These challenges are entirely optional.  

How does STEAM Hub connect to the curriculum?

All STEAM Hub courses are entirely based on pedagogical best practices and connect to a range of international curriculum standards, including: 

  • Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) standards 
  • International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE standards) 
  • Ontario and British Columbia provincial standards 
  • Common Core standards 
  • And more! 

STEAM Hub courses are developed by certified teachers and we have implemented an extensive course design process to ensure that educational expectations and rigorous standards are embedded withing the courses.  

What does "project-based learning" mean?

We believe that the best way to learn in the world of STEM is by getting hands on! 

“Project-based learning” is an approach to learning that is founded in skill building and the application and development of those skills through hands-on projects. For example, rather than just learning the fundamental principles of code and being asked to regurgitate that information, students are asked to apply their skills to create a playable game.  

By taking a project-based learning approach, students learning outcomes are improved and students are supported in making connections between what they learn and the world around them.

What kinds of assessments and evaluations are in the courses? Will my child receive feedback?

Assessment and evaluation is a core component of STEAM Hub courses. 

Every module includes check-in quizzes for students to ensure that students have grasped core concepts. These quizzes are auto-graded, so feedback is immediate. 

In each course, there are a range of hands-on projects for students to complete. All projects include detailed rubrics to support students in understanding expectations. Students have the option to submit their projects to our instructors for feedback in the course. Our instructors will review all submitted projects within 5 business days and provide feedback. 

What does my child receive after completing a course?

We have implemented a full system of mastery pathways and microcredentials to track and reward student learning.  

For every completed module in a single course, your child will receive a badge. Each badge indicates a different level of mastery of individual skills. At the end of the course, they will earn the course certificate.  

Students who complete a mastery pathway (e.g. all of the courses in the coding stream), will earn a digital trophy to demonstrate their expertise in a specific area 

Students who complete all mastery pathways will earn the digital STEM Superhero championship belt to reward their commitment to fearless learning. 

These badges and rewards are available in digital format; we are currently developing a full microcredential framework to support students in building their portfolio and receive official recognition for their accomplishments.

Technical Issues with Canvas

How do I change my username?

To change your username you must follow these steps:  

Press “Account” in your left-hand menu  

Select “Settings”  

In the settings page, click “edit settings” on the right hand side.   

You should then be able to edit the Full Name, Display Name, and Sortable Name. Press the red “update settings” button to save. 

How do I reset/change my password?

To reset your password click the “Forget Password?” link on the sign-in page for the STEAM Hub to receive an email with password reset instructions. 

To change your password you must follow these steps:  

Press “Account” in your left-hand menu  

Select “Settings”  

In the settings page, click “edit settings” on the right hand side.   

You can then check the “change password” box to change your password. You will first need to enter your old password, then enter your new password. Once you click “save settings”, you will be automatically logged out and asked to log back in with your new password.

Can I add an additional email?

To add an additional email (and change the default email on your account to receive notifications) you must follow these steps: 

Press “Account” in your left-hand menu  

Select “Settings” 

In the upper right-hand corner of your screen there is an area that says “Ways to Contact”. Press the  “+email address” button. 

Type in the desired email address. A confirmation email will be sent to you. Please click the confirm link in that email. 

If you would like to change this new email to be the default for the account, go back into your account settings. Hover over the new email you added and press the star that appears. This will change the default email that is associated with your account. Please note that you are not able to fully delete the original email that you registered with.

How secure is the STEAM Hub platform?

STEAM Hub as a platform is built on top of Canvas, a secure web application/LMS.  
 
Canvas by default authenticates through OAuth2 which is an industry standard framework to ensure only validated users can access course content.  
 
Canvas stores all data on AWS and utilizes thier encryption policies to secure data. Beyond the platform, as an organization, we use standardized unspecified names to ensure that no student account or its data is immediately identifiable and is anonymized whenever possible.  
 
We also offer additional security recommendations for the tools students would be using, to promote a healthier online environment for students.

Logistics

How do I sign my child up for the STEAM Hub courses?

We have a three-tier subscription model available for STEAM Hub that allows you to choose the right starting place for your child to begin based on their skill-level. To register, please go to https://stemminds.com/parents/#online  

How much does using STEAM Hub cost?

The cost of a STEAM Hub subscription is based on the tier you register for. Each tier provides you access for 1 year from the date of purchase.  

Tier 1 is free and provides access to foundational courses to get started (including computer skills, language and math foundations) as well as trial versions of all of our tier 2 courses.   

Tier 2 offers complete access to 25+ of our most popular introductory courses with over 500 hours of learning content. The Tier 2 subscription costs $150 + applicable taxes. 

Tier 3 is currently in development, with an expected launch of Spring 2021. This level will include 5 brand new advanced-level courses for students 12+, with more courses to be launched on an ongoing basis over the next year. The Tier 2 subscription will start at $50 + applicable taxes. 

How can I pay for the courses?

You can pay for our courses through the STEM Minds website. Methods of payment accepted include Visa and Master Card. 

What is the return policy?

If you are still deciding, we invite you to register for a Tier 1 subscription in order to gain trial access to all of our courses.  

Upon purchase of a Tier 2 or Tier 3 subscription, there is a 7-day money back guarantee. After 7 days, the subscription is non-refundable.  

Who can I contact if I have any other questions or issues?

If you have any questions about STEAM Hub, we are always here to help. Send us an email at [email protected] and a representative will get back to you as soon as possible.