Online Alternative Teacher Certification Courses
Submitted to the Virginia Tech Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning (IDDL)
by John Burton
on behalf of
the School of Education,
College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences,
The Virginia Tech School of Education respectfully submits this proposal for a suite of five, online alternative secondary teacher certification courses. We are applying for the funding opportunity outlined by the Virginia Tech Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning (IDDL) in their Request for Proposal dated April 6, 2006.
Project Background and Need
Due to a nation-wide shortage of K-12 teachers, alternative routes to teacher certification are currently a major focus in new teacher preparation programs. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, as elsewhere, the shortage of teachers is exacerbated by the fact that a large portion of the current teacher population is reaching retirement age. To meet the resulting need, many States are providing alternatives to the traditional four- or five-year teacher preparation programs. The National Center for Alternative Certification (NCAC) estimates that about one-third of new teacher hires are entering the profession through some type of alternative route (http://www.teach-now.org/). The requirements for earning a teaching certificate through alternative certification programs vary from state to state and are typically determined by a state's department of education. In Virginia, prospective teachers must meet various requirements, including completion of coursework in a content area, related work experience, and professional studies courses. Often, candidates enroll in alternative licensure programs while teaching full-time on a provisional license. Therefore, online professional studies courses provide candidates with a flexible option for fulfilling licensure requirements, tailored to their personal schedule and needs. Virginia Tech’s School of Education does not offer an alternative licensure program for teacher certification, and while there are no plans to offer a complete program, a set of professional studies courses would fill a valid need for those individuals who lack only that requirement for licensure. Licensure candidates would be expected to obtain approval for other licensure requirements, such as successful completion of the Praxis exams and content area knowledge, through the VDOE and their district employer. Therefore, the vision for Professional Studies Licensure Courses (PSLC) at Virginia Tech is to provide secondary licensure candidates with a flexible, effective online option for meeting the professional studies requirements of the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). Design and development of the courses will be carried out by faculty and course designers in the VT School of Education. As funding permits, we would like to develop an additional course in reading instruction so that the suite of courses will also fulfill professional studies requirements for individuals teaching at the elementary level. The PSLC project vision aligns with the School of Education’s mission to “prepare educational professionals to enrich the lives of PK-12 children and youth, families, and communities through inquiry, leadership, and advocacy.” The PSLC offering will further strengthen the School’s reputation as an educational leader, and will enhance the offerings of the Virginia Tech Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning (IDDL).
Project Assumptions & Theoretical Foundations
The design of the PSLC instruction is based on certain assumptions about learning and on research-based evidence for what works in both K-12 instruction and professional teacher development. The designers will take a pragmatic approach, employing design elements that reflect a variety of theoretical foundations based on the learner needs and...
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Dabbagh, N. (2007). The online learner: Characteristics and pedagogical implications. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 7(3), 217-226.
Driscoll, M. P. (2000). Psychology of learning for instruction (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Guskey, T.R. (2000). Evaluating professional development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.
Marzano, R.J., Pickering, D.J., & Pollock, J.E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
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U.S. Department of Education, Planning and Evaluation Service. (USDE) (2000). Does professional development change teaching practice? Results from a three-year study. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Under Secretary.
Wenglinsky, H. (2002, February 13). How schools matter: The link between teacher classroom practices and student academic performance. Educational Policy Analysis Archives, 10(12). Retrieved from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v10n12/
What Works in Instruction
(taken from Larson, 2005)
The following characteristics and skills were reported by Dabbagh (2007, p. 220) as being critical to success for online learners:
• Having a strong academic self-concept.
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