Not only are more and more new students choosing universities and institutions that offer online education programs, many career veterans, including teachers, are taking advantage of these programs as well. For those who wish to advance in their given fields but have few local education options and simply can’t travel to universities that do offer continuing education, online programs are an extremely convenient choice.
As the long-term security of teaching positions across the country becomes more uncertain, and local budget cuts threaten existing jobs, continuing education is an excellent way for teachers to remain well-equipped for a shaky job market. A variety of universities and academic institutions offer programs that are available exclusively online, which makes them an affordable and convenient means of professional development.
While LearnPort is available only to Michigan certified teachers, the program is one of the most extensive and impressive in the country. Operated by the non-profit group, Michigan Virtual University, LearnPort has granted more than 3,700 free State Board Continuing Education Units since it was created in 2003. With LearnPort’s services offered at little to no cost, teachers who live and work in Michigan should definitely check it out.
A service of PBS, TeacherLine offers a comprehensive course catalog which allows teachers to earn continuing education units, graduate credit, and professional development planning credit. In addition to online workshops and peer interaction through discussion groups, TeacherLine offers licensed courses and a large, diverse catalog which covers a variety of areas. In addition to national service throughout the US, local support is also offered through regional PBS member stations.
With a focus on integrating global competency and standards into classrooms throughout the world, iEarn is a choice for teachers who must keep up with the accelerating pace of change in the shrinking world community. Modern classrooms utilizing international networking and communication tools stand to benefit most with teachers who are familiar and experienced with internet-based learning. iEarn provides teachers with international support networks and collaboration so that those seeking professional development can do so with skills learned from the global community.
PAEC (Panhandle Area Educational Consortium)
Part of the FloridaLearns Academy, PAEC hosts a series of video workshops created by the US Department of Education intended to enhance and improve teaching throughout the country. Each two hour video has been converted into an interactive workshop which is divided into 15-minute segments, and includes related assignments and questions. Though the video series is hosted in Florida, it is available for professional development credit to teachers nationwide.
An online education provider designed exclusively for educators, OnlineLearning offers an extensive course catalog designed for professional development and meeting changing local standards. Boasting a large instructor community and opportunities for dialog and feedback, OnlineLearning offers courses available through the University of San Diego Division of Continuing Education, though anyone can enroll, including international students.