Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Learn to Teach Online

Rio Salado College launches eLearning Design course
By David Staudacher, Rio Salado College PR Manager, 480.517.8472

Online learning is on the rise in schools throughout the Valley and across the country. According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Education, “Online learning — for students and for teachers — is one of the fastest growing trends in educational uses of technology.”

It is estimated that more than a million K–12 students took online courses in the 2007-2008 school year.

The demand for instructors to teach online is on the rise, too.

To keep up with the demand of students seeking online classrooms, Rio Salado College recently started rolling out its new K-12 eLearning Design classes for teachers.

“We’ve had a lot of people inquiring about the classes before they were available,” said Jennifer Freed, faculty chairperson of eLearning Design at Rio Salado College. “Students started enrolling in classes the day they were available. As more schools add online classes we expect our enrollment to increase dramatically.”

Using 21st century skills, K-12 eLearning Design classes teach everything from designing curricula and multimedia presentations to instructing participants with wikis, blogs, video-sharing and social networking.

“The students will learn the ins and outs of teaching an online class,” said Freed. “The classes cover such topics as eLearning design and delivery, classroom management, discipline, and behavior in online learning, parent communication and involvement in eLearning, legal issues with K-12 eLearning, engaging K-12 eLearners, and writing online assessments.”

“Additionally, they will experience an online environment so they understand both the instructor as well as the student perspective of online learning,” she said.

There are many advantages to learning online and those same perks, and more, apply to teaching online. Teachers can work from home and prepare a class at any time or from any place.

“Students often open up to instructors more online,” said Freed. “I find that I get to know my online students better than I do my in-person students. When students don’t see you they aren’t as intimidated. Even the shy students will participate more in an environment where they feel more comfortable.”

The program features general elective courses for those who want a general introduction to the eLearning Design field, and it allows teachers to earn an endorsement, too.

“If a teacher takes 30 credits of eLearning Design courses they can add a computer science endorsement to their Arizona teaching certificate,” said Freed. “New courses will be rolling out with each of our major start dates for the next year, and more course opportunities will become available throughout the year.”

To learn more about Rio Salado o K-12 eLearning Design, visit www.riosalado.edu/programs/elearning/Pages/default.aspx.