Professional Development for Teachers

Online professional development helps teachers understand what it's like to be an online learner

Facilitated Courses

IDEAL 101 - Foundations of Distance Education and Blended Learning
This course is set up to help practitioners develop a site plan for offering distance or blended learning to adult learners. It is also a prerequisite for IDEAL 102: Instructional Issues or IDEAL Program Administration. Over the course of six weeks all participants will work with colleagues within their agency (teams generally consist of one admin/manager and at least one teacher per agency) to develop a plan that addresses:

  1. Recruitment: where will your agency look for students who will study online?
  2. Screening: how will you screen to be sure you have online-ready learners?
  3. Orientation: how will you clearly communicate the requirements of being a distance or blended learning student and orient students to the online materials and curriculum?
  4. Instruction: what curriculum will you offer students? How will you support and communicate with students who are studying on their own?
  5. Assessment: how will you keep track of distance and blended learning students, monitor their progress, and collect data?

In the months following the course, each team will work to implement their site plan - supported by monthly webinars with all participants to share progress and ask questions.

IDEAL 102 - Instructional Issues
Distance or blended learning teachers who have some experience teaching online will spend four weeks focusing on how to best support learners. Each participant develops a case study describing an instructional challenge. Together the cohort discusses each of the case studies, building a "community of practice" that remains available as a resource after the course is done. Through the discussion, each participant arrives at a few ideas to pilot. After a month of piloting, each teacher reports on their success in a webinar.

IDEAL 102 - Program Administration
This course is for program managers who have had some experienced with distance or blended learning. The class is built around relevant articles and developing a case study, which the class discusses. It is an opportunity for program managers to share insight and information with each other. Through interaction with assigned literature and discussion of their case studies, each participant arrives at a few ideas to pilot to solve the issue described in the case study. After a month of piloting, they report back on their success in a webinar. Participants will also have the opportunity to gather information and develop narrative text that they can use in grant applications and state reporting.

IDEAL 102 - Resource Evaluation
Blended learning and distance teachers with some prior experience will spend four weeks learning about how to evaluate online resources for using in distance and blended learning. Through several readings and discussion, the cohort will create a rubric for future resource evaluation and then pilot its use with one new learning resource they hope to integrate into their online instruction.

Special Topics Courses

Special Topics courses are self-paced, multimedia introductory courses that take approximately three hours to complete. To extend learning, Special Topics courses can also be offered with facilitation as an IDEAL 102. Download a printable flyer about our Special Topics courses.

Introduction to Blended Learning
This course presents foundational information about blended learning, including definitions, strategies, examples, and reflective activities presented in multimedia format. The goal of the course is for participants to have a basic understanding of the different forms of blended learning and how they might integrate them into coursework.

Click here to view an excerpt from Introduction to Blended Learning.

Introduction to Open Educational Resources
This course introduces participants to essential information about Open Educational Resources (OERs), including key definitions, examples and reflective activities presented in multimedia format. The goal of the course is for teachers understand the benefits of using OERs, know where to find them, and how to evaluate them.This course introduces participants to essential information about Open Educational Resources (OERs), including key definitions, examples and reflective activities presented in multimedia format. The goal of the course is for teachers understand the benefits of using OERs, know where to find them, and how to evaluate them.

Click here to view an excerpt from Introduction to Open Educational Resources.

Introduction to Mobile Learning
Participants in this course learn about integrating mobile devices into their classroom, distance, or blended instruction. It includes definitions, suggested strategies, examples, and reflective activities. The goal of the course is for teachers to have an understanding of the different ways adult learners and their teachers can use flip-phones, smartphones and tablets for learning both in and out of the classroom.

Click here to view an excerpt from Introduction to Mobile Learning.