Coursera plans to expand their MOOC offerings beyond traditional university courses into continuing education courses for teachers, according to articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Huffington Post. These courses will be developed in partnership with universities and other organizations experienced in professional development of teachers.
According to these sources, Coursera will offer both free courses and "Signature Track" options. Coursera's Signature Track uses identify verification (photo id and biometric profiling based on typing habits) to enable students to earn a verified course certificate upon completion of a Signature Track MOOC. Since the vast majority of students who enroll in MOOCs don't actually complete them, this provides a means of validating completion of such courses. The hope is that school districts will evaluate the Coursera options and determine that they could be used by current teachers to meet professional development requirements.
Courses being offered in this new teacher professional development category include:
- “Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classroom,” from Relay Graduate School of Education taught by Dave Levin, the co-founder of KIPP
- “The Brain-Targeted Teaching Model for 21st Century Schools” taught by Mariale Hardiman of John Hopkins School of Education
- “Tinkering Fundamentals: Integrating Making Activities into Your STEM Classroom,” from the Exploratorium
- “Student Thinking at the Core,” taught by Barbara Stengel and Marcy Singer-Gabella of Vanderbilt University
More information about the program, including university and organizational partners, can be found at the Coursera Blog.