As you’re well aware, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced schools and teachers to rethink how they deliver meaningful learning experiences to their students. Some schools have gone completely virtual, while others have adopted some form of hybrid model. Others still have partnered with locally broadcast television networks and radio stations. One of the many things that this extraordinary time has highlighted is the need for effective professional development courses that help educators develop a better understanding of how to manage teaching and learning in this new reality. Thankfully the good folks over at All Digital Schools have curated a collection of FREE online courses to help educators enhance their digital skills. I have chosen the top 10 to include below. Enjoy!
FutureLearn is a digital education platform that offers a wide range of short online courses from top universities and specialist organizations.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are now offering their “How to Teach Online: Providing Continuity for Students” for free. This is an intensive 3-week program with 2 hours of weekly study, and the goal is to help educators find practical ways “to teach and support students online.”
The course will cover topics, such as
- Getting started with remote teaching
- Preparing students for effective and successful online learning
- Tools for creating, sharing, and mixing plans for learning
- Bringing lessons learned into everyday practice
- Collecting and responding to student feedback
- Understanding the impact of online learning and teaching
This course is open to teachers, lecturers, and trainers who have to immediately move their teaching online in response to the current pandemic but want to do so in a way that minimizes disruptions and sets students up for success.
Coursera has become synonymous with free online courses. This online learning platform offers a massive list of courses from places such as Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, Imperial College London, Google, IBM, and more than 190 other top institutions.
The “Learning to Teach Online” course is especially interesting to teachers and educators right now. It’s offered by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney, and it covers things like:
- Why online teaching is important and what technologies you can use to start your online teaching career.
- The different online learning activities to incorporate into your teaching.
- Online resources and strategies, and more!
The course takes about six weeks to complete, provided that you spend three to four hours for it each week. Deadlines are flexible and all the coursework is submitted online. Teachers taking this online distance learning course boast incredible results:
- 47% of the learners have started a new career after completing the courses.
- 14% got a promotion or pay increase.
- 31% got a tangible career benefit from the courses.
This UNSW course is for all educators who want to better understand how to design a class to make better use of educational resources.
3. British Council
If you want to learn how to use your coursebook with online classes and get more ideas for using breakout rooms, then this webinar from The British Council is made exactly for you.
Many teachers are unfamiliar with remote teaching due to little or the lack of experience.
The webinar Teaching Online – using your coursebook and ideas for breakout rooms will last approximately an hour, followed by an extended Q&A clinic.
Other webinars in the series also include:
- Teaching online – if the tech fails and structuring lessons
- Teaching online – tech tools and tutor’s role
The webinars will be presented by Lindsay Clandfield, an award-winning writer, teacher, and teacher trainer, together with Carol Rainbow, an experienced online tutor for The Consultants-E.
4. University of California
The University of California offers a free online course that’s packed full of information on remote teaching. It’s called “Teaching Online” and was developed by their Department of Distance Learning.
The course gives a straightforward and practical overview of the best practices for teaching online:
- Comparing online and classroom-based learning
- Curating your online course
- Understanding seat time
- Sketching sample course plan
- Best practices for online facilitation
- Tips for engaging online students
This course is entirely free for all educators.
The European Multiple MOOC Aggregator (EMMA) created a free self-paced course that will introduce you to 21st century learning. This course has six lessons and can be completed by spending two to three hours per week.
The lessons are divided into units, which you can study for approximately 30 minutes.
Throughout the course, you will learn how to:
- Describe current learning resources, technologies, and practicies.
- Analyze your own learning practices.
- Use new practices into your own teaching methods.
Professionals, teachers, and educators are all invited to take the course. The course is presented by Prof. Dr. Grainne Conole, the Chair in Education at the University of Bath Spa (United Kingdom).
6. University of Minnesota
Teaching online comes with its own difficulties and problems, one of them being that most teachers don’t know how to access and use the tools that they need to be good at this whole distance learning thing.
The University of Minnesota is offering a helping hand to such teachers by providing a free course that’s basically an overview of online teaching tools and how to use them. Developed by their Information Technology department, this online course will turn even the most technologically challenged teachers into tech-savvy IT folk.
Expect to learn about academia-focused technology, such as Canvas, Google, MS Excel, WorkflowGen, and Zoom. We especially recommend Zoom Courses as Zoom is currently the preferred tool for online teaching – if you’re struggling with it, these courses will help you master it quickly.
The Open University offers free online learning to everyone. They give access to course materials and expert opinion on serious issues ー and all of that are FREE! If you want to learn about how you can take your teaching online, then OpenLearn always has something in store for you.
Take the “Take Your Teaching Online” course for free and really take your distance learning skills to a new level. The course is available even without a sign-up, and here are just a few of the things that you will learn:
- How teaching online is different
- The theories and principles for understanding digital tools
- What tools to look for and how to choose
- The benefits of support networks and how to grow them
- Navigating, using, and sharing educational materials online
- Give proper support to online learners
- Making changes in your teaching
- Evaluating and enhancing practices, and so much more!
You may download the course for offline use or for other devices. The course is downloadable in Word, PDF, EPUB, Kindle, RSS, and HTML formats.
After completing the courses, you will get a free statement of participation and earn a free Open University digital badge to display and share your achievement.
8. The Modern Classrooms Projects
Modern Classrooms have all the resources you need to build your modern classroom, that is, your online class. This platform offers one-to-one virtual coaching. You will receive CEUs (Continuing Education Unit), in-depth feedback, and three hours of personalized coaching, support, and follow up.
Modern Classrooms is a program designed for all teachers and educators, and participants are often an eclectic mix of kindergarten teachers and law professors. The basic version, which includes all Modern Classrooms curriculum and best practices, is free.
9. Cornell University
If you’re stuck when it comes to strategies that can help you move your teaching online, Cornell University’s programs can help you move past the confusion stage and get you straight into the super-teacher mode!
Their free webinars include lessons on:
- Strategies for moving online
- How to get started with Canvas
- How to use Zoom for online teaching
- How to use Panopto for creating and sharing videos online
- Polling for online classes, and so much more!
The purpose of the webinars is to help you make the transition from face-to-face to online teaching as effectively and as smooth as possible. All sessions have been recorded, which everyone can access if they miss the scheduled meeting times.
AccessAlly is an education platform that sells online courses and memberships. To give people a taste of what they can offer, they have made some of their courses available on Youtube, which everyone can view for free.
In their video, How to Teach Online Classes, they shared the best-recommended tools out there. You will also find topics, such as:
- How to build an online course and membership site on WordPress
- Creating an online course using WordPress and AccessAlly
- How to track course progress in WordPress
- How to set up an opt-in quiz using AccessAlly Pro, and so much more!
AccessAlly has provided over 2.5 million training to end-users.
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