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Education technology professor offers free online teaching course to local K-12 educators

A student works on a laptop

At a time when online learning is more vital than ever, local kindergarten through 12th grade teachers can get help creating online classes that work effectively for their students via a new Boise State course: Intro to Online Teaching.

The eight-week course is being offered by the College of Education’s educational technology department. It is free to all K-12 community educators. And it filled up – twice – in a single day.

“The response to the course has been overwhelming,” said education technology professor Brett Shelton, who is leading the course. “We sent out a small blurb to just Boise School District yesterday morning (May 19). Within a couple hours, we filled up with 50 teachers. So I hurriedly contacted Extended Studies so they could increase the class size to 100. Then within a couple more hours, that filled up, too.”

Shelton has expanded the course once again, with help from Extended Studies, and is “committed to offering it to anyone who registers.” Educators can register here.

In Intro to Online Teaching, educators will learn, via a module-based completion system, how to teach their classes using online resources and interactions. All modules will be accessible to complete at any point within the course. Educators will create projects that align with the current International Society for Technology in Education Standards for Educators, select and share their work through a professional My Teaching Portfolio, and complete the Google for Education Fundamentals Training, which will provide them with the skills and strategies to become a Google Certified Educator through the use of Google’s Learning Management System (LMS).

In addition, teachers have the option of earning professional development credit for completed learning modules (one credit for tier 1 courses, two credits for tier 2, etc.).

Shelton said the idea for the class first sparked with the COVID-19 pandemic and his department’s desire to help fellow educators transition to an online teaching format.

“This idea extends beyond just Boise State, of course, and we were trying to find ideas to help the local teachers in our community as well,” explained Shelton. “Being a father of two, who attend school in the Boise School District, I was aware that we could also help our teachers who were using Google Classroom as their primary learning management system.”

Shelton spoke with Jeff Roberts, the principal of North Junior High School, who expressed an interest in making online teaching courses available to his staff. From there, Boise State Provost Tony Roark, Associate Dean of Education Jennifer Snow, and Extended Studies Dean Mark Wheeler all lent their support, ensuring the class could be set up and maintained at no cost to local educators.

“So through the collaboration of many campus personnel, we were able to offer this class at no charge to teachers, to help prepare them for the next time they will need online classes for their curriculum,” Shelton said.

Shelton said the course was adapted from the curriculum taught to pre-service teachers, which made it easier to get up-and-running on a swift timeline.