News

Nov 19, 2014

DOE Endorses Duke MOOCs for Teacher Professional Development

lockemer@duke.edu

American public school teachers will have free access to 15 online Duke courses as part of a new federal program aimed at improving professional development for educators. Duke is one of four American universities and a handful of other educational organizations offering massive free open online courses – MOOCs – through a partnership with the […]


American public school teachers will have free access to 15 online Duke courses as part of a new federal program aimed at improving professional development for educators.

Duke is one of four American universities and a handful of other educational organizations offering massive free open online courses – MOOCs – through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Education announced by President Barack Obama today. Teachers will receive continuing education credits through the courses, which will be offered through Coursera, the online platform Duke partnered with in 2012 to provide courses free on the Internet.

“Free access to MOOCs gives teachers the opportunity to take quality courses that can really develop their command of content topics and update their knowledge in fields in which the state of knowledge is changing rapidly,” said Duke physics professor Ronen Plesser, who teaches Introduction to Astronomy on Coursera.

Duke will provide free Verified Certificates to U.S. teachers for two years for courses designated as appropriate for teacher professional development. Duke’s courses span the academic spectrum, from an English composition course to several classes in chemistry, neuroscience and data analysis

NoorCoursera
Mohamed Noor’s “Introduction to Genetics and Evolution” course is part of a new federal program to provide free online teacher professional development.

Mohamed Noor is the chair of Duke’s Biology Department and teaches Introduction to Genetics and Evolution on Coursera. Some of Noor’s MOOC students have been teachers, and he says that while a MOOC doesn’t substitute for a full, in-person college experience, they allow K-12 teachers and other educators to update or broaden their skill set and knowledge base in a convenient, low-cost, and user-friendly manner.

“It also gives them resources and examples that they can then apply for their in-person classes,” he said.

Other institutions participating in the program including the American Museum of Natural History, the Commonwealth Education Trust, Emory University, the Exploratorium, High Tech High, Match Teacher Residency, the National Geographic Society, New Teacher Center, the Relay Graduate School of Education, the Museum of Modern Art, the University of California-San Diego, the University of London and the University of New South Wales.

The DOE/Coursera partnership is designed to encourage U.S. school districts to give CEUs for the online courses. For teachers to access their free Coursera Verified Certificates, district superintendents—or equivalent administrators with the authority to approve courses for CEUs—must complete this approval form. When approved, teachers in the applying district will receive access to free Coursera credentials starting January 1st, 2015.

The Duke courses that are part of the Coursera/DOE program include:



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