Has anyone else heard about Coursera?? I just lucked up on it when I realized that I totally missed EdmodoCon this morning (thankfully I can watch the videos later and still get CEU credit). So, I haven't felt good all day and was tired of laying down on the couch so I decided to look for a free professional development online. In the past I have gotten a decent amount of hours from Teacher Created Materials. They send out or you can check their website at the beginning of each school year for a list of the free online PDs they offer each year. They are really good and I highly recommend them. However, just doing a little Google search lead me to a website that had 5 free courses related to educational technology and one of those was through Coursera. So, I perused the site a bit and found a free course (yes, all of their courses are FREE!!!) on Copyright Laws for Educators and Librarians that is presented through Duke University. It is a 5 week long course (you can pick it up and start it anytime). At the end of the course you can purchase a certificate of completion for $49 if you so desire. I don't know if I will need this at the end of the course or not. I did not have to have a certificate in my county to prove that I had taken the online courses with Teacher Created Materials, but I don't know if it is the same in all districts. Although I am not 100% for online education, I do like the concept and convenience of online professional developments. I like having the option of sitting in my jammies in my living room to learn more about my craft way better than having to drag my worn out tail to the media center EVERY Wednesday for 2 hours of sheer torture as we hear yet another presentation that does not either pertain to me or interests me one bit. Yes, I know that they are necessary (some of the time). Yes, I know you have to bring your faculty together occassionally to perpetuate the "team" atmosphere (having food there helps!). But I love the idea of "Choose your own Adventure" style professional development. Why not have your teachers bring their laptops to the library on Wednesday along with headphones and have them locate a course they are interested in taking to better themselves. And then instead of hearing yet another boring presentation, do something that will actually impact them. Just a thought. Check out Coursera!
Hi! My name is Allison Barton, a former elementary school teacher turned Technology Integration Specialist at Greenville High School in Greenville, South Carolina. I have been teaching for 11 years and have relied on technology during that time to excite, engage, and educate my students (both young and old). I also enjoy very much sharing my knowledge about technology with other teachers.