Free Online Courses For Teachers And Educators - Using MOOC's By Robert Bacal
So much to keep up with. So much for teachers and educators to learn. And professional development and in-service options, not to mention university attendance can be expensive.
Thankfully, the online world has available a lot of resources for teachers. In particular are MOOC's (Massively Online Open Course), free online seminars, often offered in conjunction with universities or university staff. In this section we'll list some of the available offerings, but before you start browsing, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Content Quality Varies: Unfortunately, the only way to assess whether a particular online course will meet your professional development needs is to register and get involved. Obviously there's always an issue of quality content, but there's also finding the right "fit" for your needs. Since these courses are free, at least you aren't putting your money at risk, but these days, time, for teachers, is probably more valuable. Still, if it doesn't work for you, you don't have to complete the course.
Delivery Methods Vary: You'll find some online courses are excellent in that they incorporate a wide variety of teaching methods, from reading, looking at lecture videos, interacting online with fellow "students" etc. But some "courses" aren't really interactive, and can be really dull. But much depends on your needs and preferences. Again, if a course isn't working for you, then exit stage left.
Course Are Not All Available Continuously: While some online courses are completely self-contained online, and so you can register and start when it suits you, others are scheduled, just like regular courses. In some cases you can sign up to be notified of the next offering. Obviously, the more human involvement (i.e. lecturers, facilitators) used to deliver the course, the more complicated it is to schedule, but then again, I suspect that those course that do NOT run continuously are probably more interactive, and provoke more learning.
Courses Seem To Come And Go: In the course of compiling this page, I noticed that there are far fewer courses for teachers available, than I though. I hit some dead links. Sometimes courses have been discontinued, or have just been announced as coming. Seems to be the nature of the beast.
Don't Dismiss The More Theoretical Courses: I know many teachers feel they have less time for learning theory compared to practical applications, but you may find that the more theory you learn, the more you'll see how to apply it to the classroom. For that reason, we've included courses here that connect with Psychology, and Learning, because, after all, those disciplines underpin much of educational practice.
MOOC's are free online courses, often offered in conjunction with universities, and provide free learning and professional development opportunities. In this section, we'll look at what they are, and cover free courses available for teachers and school administrators.
Directory of Free Online Courses Of Interest To Teachers: Professional Development And Inservice : MOOCCommonwealth Education Trust - Basics For Teachers - by Commonwealth Education Trust
Eight different modules for teachers are here, ranging from courses on Being A Teacher, Basics of Student Assessment, Developing Relationships, and Teacher Professionalism. Probably best suited for new teachers, or those interested in becoming teachers who want to get a head start. (Views So Far 363 )
PSYCH303: Educational Psychology - Free Online Course - Self-Paced - by Saylor
If you missed out on learning educational psychology during your teacher training, you might benefit from this self-paced, register anytime online course. Sounds comprehensive: "This course should take you a total of approximately 110 hours to complete. Each unti includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. These advisories should help you plan your time accordingly. It might be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself." (Views So Far 338 )
STEM Readiness - Free Online Course For Teachers From Carnegie-Mellon - by Carnegie-Mellon
The STEM Readiness course provides a refresher of core skills related to STEM careers. The core skills covered are Mathematics from arithmetic to beginning algebra, Workplace Communications and Professionalism. The topics of the course are presented through workplace scenarios to show learners how these skills apply to their potential careers. In reviewing these core skills students will be better prepared to be successful in post-secondary STEM related technical programs and ultimately in STEM related careers. (Views So Far 300 )
Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms Free Online Course For Teachers - by Relay
Positive psychology meets K-12 pedagogy. This course explores key ideas of positive psychology and shows how great teachers apply those lessons to maximize student engagement and accomplishment. Through lectures, discussions, interviews and footage of great educators in action, you'll learn how to integrate character-based objectives into your own teaching. (Views So Far 374 )
The Psychology of Learning and Behavior - Free Online Self-Paced Course - by Saylor
The more you understand how people learn, the better you will be able to facilitate it, and while some teachers aren't that keen of theory, you may find that eventually, learning theory can have very practical implications. This self-paced course will provide some great background: "This course introduces learners to the principles of learning and behavior by surveying relevant theoretical and empirical approaches within psychology. The overall emphasis is on the theoretical foundations of psychology as they relate to human learning and behavior. The following topics will be reviewed: historical perspectives of early learning theories, prevailing theories of human development, classical and operant conditioning, effects stimuli have on learning and behavior, social learning, motivation, cognitive developmental theory in the context of learning stages and processes, memory and human information processing models, and problem-solving methods. Understanding these human processes is an integral part of psychology and other domains of human behavior, such as marketing, sports, health, education and relationships." (Views So Far 336 )