Professional development for teachers, in any form, is an important aspect of becoming a well-rounded and experienced educator. The practice of continually developing one’s skills as an educator is vital to creating a teaching workforce that is best suited to helping students from varying backgrounds.
Examples of ways for educators to develop their skills might include interactive trainings put on by their school or district, workshops on fields like technology in education, or certification programs and short courses designed to provide a comprehensive overview of specific aspects of education. These education-specific courses might be the best option for those who want in-depth training on a subject of their choosing.
As taking an in-person education course isn’t within the realm of reality for the majority of busy working teachers, the most efficient option for those interested might be to explore online teaching courses. One of the advantages of enrolling in an online education course is that it will help you become extremely well-versed in a topic or variety of topics, as opposed to a workshop that will only provide an overview.
Harvard Bok Center Higher Education Teaching Certificate
The 8-week Harvard Bok online short course aims to allow participants the opportunity to engage deeply with and reflect on their teaching practices, portfolio, and teaching journey in the higher education (HE) field.
The Witwatersrand Teaching with Technology online short course focuses on equipping you with the skills to use technology as a teaching and learning tool. During this 12-week online course, you will gain the practical skills needed to integrate technology into your lesson plan and curriculum planning strategy.
Free online teaching courses do exist, and these might be a great option for someone looking to gain introductory insight into various topics, some of which are discussed below. However, for those looking for a deep dive into a topic to gain mastery in their subject of choice, free online education courses may not offer as much as one that carries a price tag.
Topics in Online Education Courses
With teachers in the modern age being asked to master a wider range of skills than ever before, the options for topics in online education courses are endless. From mastering powerpoint for the classroom to a teacher’s guide to social and emotional learning, teaching courses online exist for almost every interest area. Here are just a few examples of the many topics for educators to explore when considering enrolling in a course online:
Wordpress for Education
Strategies for Blended Learning
Assessment in Higher Education
Powerpoint for Teachers: Creating Interactive Lessons
Using Social Media in the Classroom
Some of these topics are taught by online education course portals like Coursera and Lynda (from LinkedIn) while others are created by traditional universities like Harvard and taught by actual university faculty!
Benefits of Online Education Courses
There are many benefits to pursuing an education certificate online, enrolling in online teaching courses in general, or seeking out continued education in any form. From gaining new skills to become a better teacher to opening up the possibility for a higher income bracket, there are a variety of valid reasons to consider taking on online teaching course. Just a few of the many benefits are discussed below:
1.) Gain Valuable New Skills in Teaching:
The driving force behind one’s desire to pursue continued education in the form of online teaching coursework should be a desire to learn and expand one’s skill set. With this mindset, you will be able to maximize your experience with the course and reap all that it has to offer. Some skills you might pick up from an online education course may include: increased comfort with technology, insight on working with special needs students, or newfound collaboration skills with other teachers.
2.) Network and Collaborate with Other Education Professionals:
The concept of networking isn’t often emphasized for the teaching profession, but it is an important component to comprehensive growth within the field. Meeting fellow education professionals in a traditional learning setting or even through innovative online teaching courses can be extremely helpful in fostering a sense of community and in the development of new approaches to learning.
3.) Open the Door for a Higher Earning Potential:
Advancing your education can also be a huge factor in unlocking the door to salary increases over the course of your teacher career. One way is to become the leading expert in your school in a given area, such as education technology, thus becoming an indispensable member of the faculty. Another way to leverage continued learning into salary increases is largely dependent on your area. The United Federation of Teachers, for example, which largely services the New York City region, offers "salary differential" opportunities based on professional development participation and continued education.
The bottom line is that advancing one’s skills as an educator and exploring a variety of new methods to teaching is mutually beneficial to teachers, districts, and students alike. Explore all the opportunities available and decide what’s best for you!
Finding the Best Online Education Course for You
In deciding on which of the many online teaching courses is the best option for you, it is important to weigh a variety of factors. What are you hoping to gain from the course? What is a skill that you want to develop that you think will help open the door for future career success? How much time do you have to dedicate to an online teaching course? Do you want to gain a formal certificate from partaking in the online education course or program?
These are just a few of the most important questions to ask yourself when considering which type of course works for your career aspirations and professional schedule. The good news is that, thanks to the emergence of highly advanced online education platforms, innovative online teaching courses exist in almost every facet that one might be interested in!
10 Online Education Courses and Teaching Certificates to Consider in 2019
The following 10 online education courses are just a few of the many online teaching courses and certificate programs designed to give educators a chance to develop professionally. These online education programs range from one-off courses to full fledged certificate courses and cover a variety of topics from teaching with technology to classroom management.