Newswise — K-12 teachers throughout Florida and elsewhere continue to face formidable challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, including teaching their students virtually. This shift to e-learning has created pitfalls that can be frustrating and discouraging for teachers and students alike. To address these challenges, Florida Atlantic University's Department of Teaching and Learning, within the College of Education, is offering a free eight-hour online certificate course for K-12 teachers to assist them with teaching online. This continuing education certificate course provides school districts timely assistance to enhance teachers’ e-learning skills and provides time-saving tips in lesson planning and effective student assessments for online teaching.
“We developed this quick and user-friendly course as a service to the more than 50,000 K-12 teachers in our service area to ensure that they have the tools they need to successfully teach their students online now as well as in the future,” said Stephen Silverman, Ed.D., dean of FAU’s College of Education. “During this very difficult economic time, we have waived the certificate fee. We are extremely proud to provide this opportunity to these very deserving teachers who continue to play an increasingly important role during the pandemic.”
The curriculum was designed to assist teachers to create a personal classroom schedule and select the instructional and assessment tools that they require. The course provides instructions on how to teach with video conferencing; how to create a virtual teaching space with select communication tools; as well as how to develop a digital classroom space. Course participants also will receive important tips to engage parents as well as students who are not participating.
The curriculum is based upon a listening session between FAU and teachers about their needs and concerns during the school year. Phase 1 focuses on a personal teaching schedule for online class, different online tools for K-12 assessments, and exploring ways to effectively communicate with parents and students.
“Structure is very important for teaching online, especially for K-12,” said Victoria Brown, Ph.D., an associate professor in FAU’s Department of Teaching and Learning, who is spearheading the program. "Online teaching is not like managing a webinar or teaching college students. It's about how to bond with students who are children and keep their attention and their interest. With continued concerns about further spread of COVID-19 following the upcoming holidays, taking advantage of this complimentary course will help teachers reimagine online teaching to ensure their students’ success in 2021.”
The first eight-hour course, which is free as part of phase 1, helps K-12 teachers through their online teaching day, demonstrates how to set up their personal schedules and how to handle teaching with grading. Other phases will focus on specific issues such as managing project-based units online.
“We have already had teachers from four countries participate in this course and they have told us that the information they received was invaluable,” said Silverman. "We have done the research and we have the expertise to help teachers to teach online, especially during this COVID-19 public health crisis.”
To participate in this free course, individuals must be a teacher or in a teacher educator program and be willing to spend between eight to 15 hours on the program. For more information, visit fau.edu/education/academicdepartments/tl/digital-classroom-certificate/ or email [email protected].
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About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit fau.edu.