10 Coursera Classes to Boost Your Teaching Skills

It’s back to school for your students, but have you considered a few courses for yourself? If you want to acquire tools for helping kids with special needs, get acquainted with helpful ed tech and learn some leadership skills to get closer to that school principal position. With online education site Coursera, you can take free classes to advance your skills and career.

Keep learning! Click on the course title to learn more about these classes, which take place fall through winter:


1. Surviving Your Rookie Year of Teaching: 3 Key Ideas & High Leverage Techniques

  • School: UNSW Australia
  • Designed for: Pre-service or rookie teachers, coaches, or people considering moving into the profession. Experienced teachers are welcome too.
  • Synopsis: “Ideas and techniques to thrive in your first (or fifteenth) year of teaching,” according to Coursera.
  • Timeline: 4 weeks of study, 3-4 hours of work / week.

2. Student Thinking at the Core

  • School: Vanderbilt University
  • Designed for: K-12 teachers, any area.
  • Synopsis: “This course explores how teachers can capitalize on what students bring to the classroom — their ideas, perceptions, and misunderstandings — to advance the learning of all students in the class, a practice we call ‘leveraging student thinking,’” according to Coursera.
  • Timeline: 6 weeks of study, 3-4 hours of work / week.

3. Powerful Tools for Teaching and Learning: Digital Storytelling

  • School: University of Houston System
  • Designed for: K-12, continuing education (community college to graduate school) teachers, as well as in-service facilitators supporting teachers/faculty who have an interest in educational tech/online instruction/digital storytelling.
  • Synopsis: “Learn the digital storytelling process and use the skills learned from the course to create a digital story for use in a K-12 classroom, composed of still images, audio narration, music and text,” according to Coursera.
  • Timeline: 5 weeks of study, 3-4 hours of work / week. Starts September 8, 2014.

4. What Future for Education?

  • School: University of London
  • Designed for: Teachers, educators, parents, or people interested in education.
  • Synopsis: “The course aims to get you to critically examine your own ideas about education, teaching and learning. The critique will be developed through engagement with theories and ideas developed through educational research. You will be encouraged to use these ideas to challenge or support your own ideas about education,” according to Coursera.
  • Timeline: 6 weeks of study, 6-8 hours of work / week. Starts September 2014.

5. Advanced Instructional Strategies in the Virtual Classroom

  • School: UCI Extension Continuing Education
  • Designed for: K-12 and continuing education teachers familiar with the basics of virtual education, as well as in-service facilitators supporting teachers/faculty.
  • Synopsis: “We will investigate what teaching strategies make the biggest impact in virtual education, connect with innovative and experienced teachers, and apply core strategies to the key areas of K-12 virtual instruction,” according to Coursera.
  • Timeline: 5 weeks of study, 2-4 hours of work / week. Starts September 29, 2014.

6. Supporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing

  • School: University of London
  • Designed for: Teachers in training or in post-training for any level or subject.
  • Synopsis: “This course is for teachers to learn why some children have so much difficulty with reading and writing and to learn more about best practice in teaching literacy to all, in light of recent scientific discoveries,” according to Coursera.
  • Timeline: 6 weeks of study, 4-6 hours of work / week. Starts October 1, 2014.

7. Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects

  • School: UC San Diego
  • Designed for: College, high school students, advanced professors who want to improve the learning environment for students.
  • Synopsis: Whether you are an outstanding or a struggling student, "Learning How to Learn" will give you powerful mental tools that will help you learn more effectively in tough-to-master subjects. You will discover practical, immediately useful insights that will help you to master your studies.
  • Timeline: 4 weeks of study, 3-4 hours of work / week.

8. K-12 Blended & Online Learning

  • School: Kennesaw State University
  • Designed for: K-12 teachers who want an introduction to blended and online learning.
  • Synopsis: “This course introduces teachers and interested adults to K-12 blended and online learning.
  • Participants will design a blended or online unit and develop one module to use with K-12 students,” according to Coursera.
  • Timeline: 8 weeks of study, 2-10 hours of work / week.

9. Emerging Trends & Technologies in the Virtual K-12 Classroom

  • School: UCI Extension Continuing Education
  • Designed for: K-12 teachers, continuing education teachers, in-service facilitators supporting teachers/faculty with an interest in educational technology and/or online instruction.
  • Synopsis: “Learn about emerging trends and technologies in K-12 virtual instruction. Join us as we explore this dynamic landscape and investigate how we can more deeply engage students in the virtual classroom through the use of innovative practices and technologies,” according to Coursera.
  • Timeline: 5 weeks of study, 2-4 hours of work / week.

10. Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence

  • School: Case Western Reserve University
  • Designed for: Everyone. However, the course is more specifically tailored toward advanced undergraduate students, graduate students or professionals and executives.
  • Synopsis: “Based on decades of research into emotional intelligence competencies and longitudinal studies of their development, the course will examine resonance and developing "resonant leadership" capability, emotional intelligence, and the experiences of mindfulness, hope, and compassion,” according to Coursera.
  • Timeline: 8 weeks of study, 3-4 hours of work / week.