What is a MOOC, you ask? Well, essentially, it's an open, and often free, university course available online to virtually anyone. And some of the largest and most respected universities in the country have gotten on the "Massive Open Online Course" bandwagon.
For teachers, MOOCs can be a fun and engaging way to expand expertise and gain new skills. And the summer is a great time to enroll in one of these courses. We've collected some interesting upcoming classes for the summer, as well as some sources for finding other classes that meet your needs.
In the meantime, if you aren't familiar with MOOCs, check out The New York Times video below, which explains the ins and outs of this relatively new educational concept.
Upcoming MOOCs to Consider
FLOW Education: Facilitating Learning Through Outdoor Watershed Education: From the National Geographic Society, this course is designed for educators in grades 4-9, and it will help them learn about how to develop and incorporate watershed and outdoor education in the classroom. Presenters will use the Chesapeake Bay as an example of how a watershed can create a fun, interdisciplinary outdoor learning experience for students. Teachers will also learn about planning and implementing outdoor learning experiences.
Starts: June 17
Improving Historical Reading and Writing: This hands-on course is designed specifically for social studies teachers, and it will provide an in-depth look at using writing effectively in the social studies classroom. Educators will conduct exercises and look at examples of how to improve a variety of writing styles with students, as well as discover strategies for conducting peer review sessions and developing rubrics.
Starts: June 22
Foundations of Teaching for Learning: Introduction to Student Assessment: This course from the Commonwealth Education Trust is the perfect introduction to student assessment. Throughout the course, educators will gain first-hand knowledge about "using assessment as part of the teaching and learning process," including strategies and techniques for conducting student assessment, as well as developing in-class assessment procedures.
Starts: June 22
Teaching With Technology and Inquiry: From the University of Toronto, this course is designed for elementary and secondary educators, and in it, educators will "explore STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) learning and discuss some of the major themes and challenges of integrating inquiry and technology" in the classroom. In addition, educators will look at teaching with mobile devices, designing STEAM lessons and assessments, and "inquiry and student-centered pedagogy."
Starts: July 1
Tinkering Fundamentals: A Constructionist Approach to STEM Learning: This should be a fun one from The Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum in San Francisco. Participants will look at the "key design elements of high-quality, science-rich tinkering activities, effective facilitation strategies, and environmental organization." And the class is designed for anyone wanting to add tinkering to an educational program.
Starts: July 22
Where to Find MOOCs
Coursera: This portal, which was started by two former Stanford University professors, has a lot of potential for educators. Most courses are free to all participants. Check out the Teachers' Professional Development and Education collections for the best teacher-specific courses.
Udemy Courses for Educators: Udemy courses are designed and taught by experts in their respective fields. Currently, Udemy’s Teacher Training section has some fun and useful courses for educators, many of which are free or low-cost. Additionally, there are courses for Educational Development, Teaching Tools, and Instruction Design. Also check out Udacity, another source for expert-taught courses.
edX MOOCs: A joint project of Harvard and MIT, edX offers courses from a number of top universities, including UC Berkeley and University of Texas. In addition to education-specific courses, edX features tons of interesting math, science, and IT courses as well, along with many other topics.
Class Central: Launched in 2011, Class Central is a MOOC aggregator, and it's the perfect search engine for finding the online course that's right for you. See also Canvas Network and NovoED from Stanford University.