Teacher Preparation MOOCs

The Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation has begun development of what are expected to be the institute’s first free MOOCs (massive open online courses).  The 10 online courses will prepare teachers to utilize best practices in the classroom including implementing the Common Core State Standards.  The project is funded through a $571,000 grant from the Governor’s Innovation Fund of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.  The courses will be designed to be incorporated easily into teacher preparation programs in universities across the state or for teachers to complete the non-facilitated versions on their own.

The first three courses (Introduction to the Common Core State Standards, Planning and Assessing for Learning and Pedagogical Shifts to Instructional Strategies) have strong ties to implementing the Common Core State Standards in K-12 classrooms. All three of the first courses are expected to be available by the end of September.  The first course, Introduction to the Common Core State Standards, will include topics such as Rationale, Research and Structure of the Standards, Instructional Shifts, Mathematical Practice and Content Standards, ELA and Literacy Standards, and Special Considerations. Planning and Assessing for Learning is the title for course 2 and is expected to include the PARCC assessment, Instructional Plans, Student Work, Assessment and Differentiating Instruction. The Pedagogical Shifts to Instructional Strategies course is planned to include instruction and application of the Math Instructional shifts, instruction and application of the ELA instructional shifts, and the role of writing with literacy in the content areas.

As a result of the grant from THEC and the MOOC project, the Ayers Institute has hired two new staff members. Christine Holda comes to us from Illinois and is working on the project as a Common Core Content Specialist while Forrest Doddington, who is coming to us from Freed Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee, is working on the project as a Content Technology Specialist. Together with Program Director, Julia Osteen, Christine and Forrest make up the MOOC development team.

Call for Pilot Participants

We are currently seeking out teacher preparation undergraduate or graduate students who would be interested in participating in a pilot for each of the first three courses. These individuals would provide to the Ayers Institute feedback regarding the usability, relevance and effectiveness of the overall course design. Each pilot course will run for eight weeks, although participants can move faster through the material if desired. For their time and feedback, pilot participants would receive $200 compensation. The first pilot is expected to run from May 5 – June 29, 2014. Higher Ed faculty members from across Tennessee are encouraged to nominate individuals for the pilots by sending an email with the name and contact information of the person being nominated to ayersinstitute@lipscomb.edu. Be sure to include “MOOC pilot nomination” in the subject line of the email. The deadline for nominations is April 7th.