Coursera, one of the larger MOOC’s (massive open online courses), will begin offering free online teacher development courses this summer. And for a set of courses that are just beginning, a rather impressive list of traditional universities including the College of Education at University of Washington and John Hopkins University School of Education as well as non-traditional educational institutes such as the American Museum of History, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Exploratorium have all agreed to take part.
Here is a description of the new set of courses from edSurge:
[I]n addition to covering the 101 basics of teaching, classes will allow teachers to explore more niche topics like “Tinkering Fundamentals: Integrating Making Activities into Your STEM Classroom.”
The cost to run these PD MOOCs are expected to be lower than what Coursera’s “mainstream” college partners pay, which typically range from $10K-$50K for each 10-week course. One reason may be that the duration of these PD courses will likely be shorter, lasting only three to four weeks. The company also plans to issue statements of accomplishment for teachers who finish the classes.
“We are particularly excited about the opportunity to offer professional development for teachers that are more targeted and differentiated, based on their skills and experience,” says Julia Stiglitz, who oversees business development and partnerships at Coursera, and who was previously a teacher and Program Director at Teach for America.
This “first foray into early childhood and K-12-level education” raises an obvious question: will Coursera move deeper and, say, partner with prestigious high schools to offer MOOCs for K-12 students?
The company says there are currently no plans, but adds that it has already seen many high school students take MOOCs as part of their college prep work. Still, we wouldn’t be surprised if Coursera changes its mind somewhere down the line.
Following is a link to the list of professional development courses being offered: