Panel Examines MOOCs as Teacher PD

LEVERAGING AND SCALING MOOCS AS ASSETS IN BLENDED/ONLINE
TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

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Accepted for the Research on Professional Development for Online/Blended Teaching panel at the 2015 Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) conference in Las Vegas, NV, March 2-6, 2015.

Abstract

Killeen, Monk, and Plecki (2002) reported that school districts spend the equivalent of $200 per pupil on professional development (PD). Unfortunately, teachers often view professional development as ineffectual. Worse, most PDs do not provide ongoing support for implementing new strategies or tools (Barnett, 2002). MOOCs offer a scalable way to train staff anytime, anywhere and in very large groups. This cost-effective approach produces robust data sets that illustrate which learning activities are effective. This data can be analyzed to fine-tune the myriad of trainings essential for rolling out costly 1:1 implementations and blended learning initiatives.

Dede et al (2005) reviewed 400 articles about online, face-to-face, and hybrid teacher PD programs and found 40 represented high quality empirical research. They developed five areas for examining best practices (a) Design, (b) Effectiveness, (c) Technology, (d) Communication, and (e) Methods. These focus areas may provide a framework for evaluating MOOCs as Blended/Online Teacher Professional Development assets.

This panel discussion will present data and lessons learned from two Teacher Professional Development MOOCs (Improving Teacher-Student Relationships and Helping History Teachers Become Writing Teachers) conducted on the Canvas Network. The purpose will be to develop a subsequent study, modeled on Dede’s framework, which will measure the satisfaction and efficacy of teachers participating in MOOCs as professional development.

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