MOOC’s, or massive open online courses from places like Coursera, offer opportunities for educators at any level to acquire new skills, or learn more about the teaching profession.
For New Teachers
Coursera offers a TON of great opportunities for new teachers to hone their craft, learn about educational foundations, and expand their thinking. Here are a couple great options for new teachers.
The National Commonwealth Trust’s Foundation Series – This nine part series is geared towards new teachers who missed out on traditional route classes. It has courses that cover professional knowledge, practice, relationship-building and other topics.
The specialization covers a lot of different aspects of teaching from a novice perspective, so pick and choose the topics you think will be beneficial.
Get Organized: How to be a Together Teacher – Great book. Also a great MOOC. I listed this under the new teacher section, but really this will help anyone. Getting organized – and staying organized – is one of the chief struggles of a new teacher. This course will help. We promise.
This course is based on a great book, and brings organizational tips from other leading productivity gurus to the world of teaching, which we all know is quite different than the rest of the world.
For Intermediate Teachers
Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms – This course from KIPP co-founder Dave Levin shows how great teachers integrate character education and objectives into their teaching, and how you can too!
KIPP’s character strengths have been infusing their way into lessons for several years in KIPP schools. This course gives you the tools to bring that into your classroom and infuse it in your teaching.
Digital Storytelling for Teachers – Are you looking to up your content game? This course teaches teachers how to use digital storytelling tools to create content for students. Using free software, you’ll learn how to craft stories for students. You’ll also see other teachers’ examples, and learn to storytelling process.
Even if you don’t have a huge need for this, taking this course would give you ideas about using this as some project-based learning for your kids. The software is free, so students could work on a storytelling project themselves – giving them an engaging way to learn and tell others about something.
For Seasoned Veterans
If you feel like you’ve mastered the finer points of teaching, but want to learn about new areas of instruction, check out these courses. They all cover different topics that either will help you understand pedagogy better, or will give you tools to expand your teaching to something new.
The Brain-Targeted Teaching Model for 21st Century Schools – This course uses new research in neuro- and cognitive sciences to help you reach all learners. Unlike basic courses, this one is less pedagogy focused. Instead, it focuses on brain research, so you can use that knowledge to influence your planning and teaching.
Giving Helpful Feedback – If you’re a manager, coach or supervisor of another teacher, or you work on a tight-knit team, this course is for you! Feedback is crucial to managing an effective team. This course will teach you to give and receive feedback that is action-oriented and helpful for your coworkers and direct reports.
Gamification – Kids like some healthy competition. Gamification is the art and science of turning non-game things into games to motivate people. Think of fitness apps that let you collect badges. This course, while not focused at teachers, has a lot of tips for using gamification to motivate people.
This list is just a start. There are hundreds of MOOCs out there that you might find helpful. What MOOCs have you enjoyed before? Tell us in the comments section below!